Robert Siegel

Robert Siegel is senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel is still at it hosting the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reporting on stories and happenings all over the globe. As a host, Siegel has reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

In 2010, Siegel was recognized by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism with the John Chancellor Award. Siegel has been honored with three Silver Batons from Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University, first in 1984 for All Things Considered's coverage of peace movements in East and West Germany. He shared in NPR's 1996 Silver Baton Award for "The Changing of the Guard: The Republican Revolution," for coverage of the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. He was part of the NPR team that won a Silver Baton for the network's coverage of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China.

Other awards Siegel has earned include a 1997 American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award for the two-part documentary, "Murder, Punishment, and Parole in Alabama" and the National Mental Health Association's 1991 Mental Health Award for his interviews conducted on the streets of New York in an All Things Considered story, "The Mentally Ill Homeless."

Siegel joined NPR in December 1976 as a newscaster and became an editor the following year. In 1979, Siegel became NPR's first staffer based overseas when he was chosen to open NPR's London bureau, where he worked as senior editor until 1983. After London, Siegel served for four years as director of the News and Information Department, overseeing production of NPR's newsmagazines All Things Considered and Morning Edition, as well as special events and other news programming. During his tenure, NPR launched its popular Saturday and Sunday newsmagazine Weekend Edition.

Before coming to NPR, Siegel worked for WRVR Radio in New York City as a reporter, host and news director. He was part of the WRVR team honored with an Armstrong Award for the series, "Rockefeller's Drug Law." Prior to WRVR, he was morning news reporter and telephone talk show host for WGLI Radio in Babylon, New York.

A graduate of New York's Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University, Siegel began his career in radio at Columbia's radio station, WKCR-FM. As a student he anchored coverage of the 1968 Columbia demonstrations and contributed to the work that earned the station an award from the Writers Guild of America East.

Siegel is the editor of The NPR Interviews 1994, The NPR Interviews 1995 and The NPR Interviews 1996, compilations of NPR's most popular radio conversations from each year.

Israel stepped up its air assault on the Gaza Strip, following the killings of Israeli and Palestinian teens. Unlike air strikes in the past, Israel has tempered its initial show of force for several reasons, but the situation appears to be steadily intensifying.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. Filmmaker Paul Mazursky has died. The writer and director captured the spirit of his times in such comedies as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" and "An Unmarried Woman." Mazursky died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 84. And joining us now to talk about him is our film critic, Bob Mondello. Hi, Bob.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Hi.

SIEGEL: Mazursky had a very extensive career. Tell us about it.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama came out to the White House Rose Garden today to plead, once again, for Congress to act on the bipartisan immigration bill the Senate passed a year ago. Since then, it's been stalled in the House.

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House Republicans voted Thursday on leadership positions in the party's caucus. While House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy stepped up to the role of majority leader, Rep. Steve Scalise overcame a more crowded competition to replace McCarthy.

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At an unveiling in Seattle, online retail giant Amazon announced its entry into the smartphone market with a new device called "Fire." NPR's Martin Kaste was at the unveiling in Seattle, and he offers his take on the event.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

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There's a new queen of Broadway. Audra McDonald won her sixth Tony award last night for her betrayal of Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill."

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AUDRA MCDONALD: (As Billie Holiday, singing) Crazy he calls me. Sure I'm crazy. Crazy in love, I'd say.

CORNISH: When she got to the stage to accept her Tony, the audience at Radio City Music Hall was on its feet. The standing ovation that initially drowning her out.

MCDONALD: Thank you so much. Thank you.

In a recent Nippon Professional Baseball game in Japan, Kazuhito Tadano threw a slow, arcing pitch that caught the batter by surprise. Video of the play quickly went viral on the Internet, but the pitch has a history — and a name: the eephus pitch. Paul Dickson, author of the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, offers more details.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. The State Department has confirmed that a U.S. citizen was involved in the suicide bombing in Syria earlier this week. Today, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the man's identity in response to a reporter's question.

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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you confirm, at least, the name that he went by - as was published - Abu Huraya al-Amriki?

Robert Siegel speaks with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is in Kiev leading a team of international election observers set to monitor voting in Ukraine on Sunday.

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Now, a prize that's making a return: the Longitude Prize.

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It was set up in 1714 by the British government to solve the greatest challenge of that time: Pinpoint a ship's location at sea by knowing its longitude.

CORNISH: Three hundred years later, there's a video announcing its return.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We're at the dawn of a new world.

SIEGEL: Its committee is led by Lord Martin Rees, a professor at Cambridge University.

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It's not all politics here in Washington. On Pennsylvania Avenue, there used to be a hotel called the Roger Smith. The top of the hotel's stationery proclaimed it was just one block from the White House. And it's under that heading that one of rock 'n roll's most important figures scribbled out the lyrics to one of his biggest songs.

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BOB DYLAN: (Singing) Once upon a time you dressed so fine, you threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?

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There was a time when cell phones were used to make calls and many of the calls were defined by this.

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SIEGEL: The Nokia ringtone, it was introduced in 1994. Last Friday, Nokia - once the world's cell phone leader - sold its dwindling phone business to Microsoft for a lot of money, seven and a half billion dollars.

Until today, no one had said what becomes of that ringtone, a tune Nokia says is played about 20,000 times a second worldwide.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. We're continuing to follow developments in yesterday's deadly shooting at Fort Hood that left four people dead and 16 wounded. This afternoon, the commander of Fort Hood, Lieutenant General Mark Milley, confirmed the identity of the shooter.

LIEUTENTANT GENERAL MARK MILLEY: We are able to release, his next kin have been notified. The alleged shooter is Specialist Ivan A. Lopez. He is 34 years old, originally from Puerto Rico.

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Time now for your letters. First, two corrections. On Monday, we took you to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin to tell you about something called Oculus Rift. It is a virtual reality headset. And in our story, we mistakenly said that it would be available to consumers in 18 to 20 months. In fact, there is no release date yet for a consumer model. Only the development kit is currently available.

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Long-time fans of the comedy website, "Funny or Die," know this already. But for the rest of you, this is the theme song of "Between Two Ferns." The Web series mimics a low-budget, cable-access interview program.

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It's the brainchild of actor and comedian Zach Galifinakis. He plays an unprepared host who fumbles through awkward conversations with celebrities. But the guest of his latest episode, released today, was a little different.

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Now, health and electrical lighting. Last month, Mariana Figueiro showed me something she has developed to help seniors avoid falls in the night. Figueiro researches health applications at the Lighting Research Center at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Her project is a nightlight. But it's not just a single bulb. It's a string of yellow lights that border the darkened entrance to, say, a bathroom.

It's a doorway and around the frame of the doorway are the yellow LEDs?

MARIANA FIGUEIRO: That's correct.

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely - if indirectly - celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. E.T.A. Hoffman, who lived from 1776 to 1822 in the Kingdom of Prussia, was responsible for a work that is a staple the holiday season, the original author of The Nutcracker. You can read more about the story, which aired last Christmas, here.

In Qatar's rapid race to modernity, the emirate has created a distinctive approach to educating its young: It has effectively imported a host of American universities.

Dr. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, a member of Qatar's ruling family, sits on the Supreme Education Council and owns a few independent schools. For her own children, she wanted a top-flight college education. Her sons were educated in Britain.

Over the past decade, Qatar's population has soared from 660,000 to more than 2 million. Here's the catch: Qataris themselves number only around 260,000.

The rest, more than 85 percent of the population, are not citizens. As Professor Mehran Kamrava, an American scholar at Georgetown University's campus in Qatar, says, they are all migrant workers of varying types.

Qatar is a tiny place that insists on being heard.

The Arab nation just off the coast of Saudi Arabia has made itself a major diplomatic player, a generous donor of foreign aid, and a leader in modernizing education in the region. The ultra-modern capital Doha is full of skyscrapers, museums and history, much of it dating as far back as ... the 1990s.

Qatar is also a commercial capital that aims to become a cultural, sports and tourist center for the Gulf region despite having just 260,000 citizens.

Scandal star Kerry Washington's turn hosting NBC's Saturday Night Live this Saturday has revived criticism of the show's lack of black female cast members. The issue was raised earlier this year when SNL announced five new cast members — four male, all white. The show's lack of black women — only three have ever been cast in 38 years — forces the show's black males to dress as black women, which echoes historic, demeaning issues for black male comics.

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I'm Robert Siegel, and it's time now for All Tech Considered.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. One criticism of baseball is that it's too prone to long stretches of inaction, players sitting around not doing much. Well, if that's what baseball is, then Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been Mr. Baseball this season. He's been on the disabled list, but he claims he's healthy enough to play. His team begs to differ. Here to talk about the confusion is NPR's Mike Pesca, who joins us from New York. Hi, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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My colleague, Robert Siegel, is off today for the holiday. But, we're going to return with him now to a thrilling day of yesteryear. Yesteryear being five years ago. That's right it's a shameless re-run. And our excuse is the new "Lone Ranger" movie, which has opened to mixed reviews. The old TV show, which aired in the 1950s, was a favorite of Robert's when he was a boy. So, for our 2008 series, In Character, Robert marked "The Lone Ranger's" 75th anniversary.

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NPR has learned that the U.S. Department of Justice has prepared the documents to formally charge Edward Snowden with espionage. Snowden is the former contractor who has publicized details of two U.S. surveillance programs through the British newspaper The Guardian. NPR's Carrie Johnson joins us now with the latest, and Carrie, everyone's been waiting for this shoe to drop. What do we know about the government's plans to proceed?

Google's "Project Loon" just launched in New Zealand — it uses balloons floating in the stratosphere to bring high-speed Internet access to remote areas.

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