Russell Lewis

Russell Lewis is the Southern Bureau Chief for NPR News, a post he has held since 2006. Lewis focuses on the issues and news central to the Southeast — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. In addition to developing and expanding NPR's coverage of the region, Lewis assigns and edits stories from station-based reporters and freelancers alike, working closely with local correspondents and public radio stations. He also spent a year in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, coordinating NPR's coverage of the rebuilding effort. He's currently based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Lewis began his public radio career in 1992 at NPR member station WUFT in Gainesville, Florida, where he was an executive news producer. He spent time at WSVH in Savannah, Georgia. Lewis also worked for Kansas Public Radio and reported on the state legislature. He spent six years on the West Coast, working at one of public radio's flagship stations: KPBS in San Diego where he was senior editor and a reporter. He most recently was assistant news director and talk-show host at WGCU in Fort Myers, Florida. He was a frequent contributor to NPR, specializing in military and business issues.

In his spare time, Lewis loves to cook, read, and ride his bicycle.

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U.S.
4:24 am
Thu July 23, 2015

Investigators Seek The Gunman's Motivation In The Chattanooga Shooting

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 12:16 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Law
2:57 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

FBI Still Searching For Motive In Chattanooga, Tenn., Shootings

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 4:21 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Major League Dreams
2:43 am
Mon July 20, 2015

A Diamond Dream Realized: Minor Leaguer Makes It To The Majors

Tyler Saladino throws out Chicago Cubs catcher Taylor Teagarden during a game between the crosstown rivals at Chicago's Wrigley Field on July 10.
Tannen Maury EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 20, 2015 12:55 pm

There's something special about going to a major league ballpark. Seeing smiling kids with their parents, the sizzle of bratwursts, the smell of fresh popcorn and the taste of overpriced beer — and yelling at the umpires, of course. It's what America's pastime is all about.

Nearly half a million people play baseball in high school every year. Just a small fraction, about 7 percent, play in college. Of those, an even tinier number get to the minor leagues. And making it to the majors — that's really rare.

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Sun July 5, 2015

U.S. Women Head Into World Cup Final With Dominant Defense

Japan fans are wildly outnumbered by red, white and blue ahead of the game on Sunday, but these three are decked out and ready to go. From left, Asuka Tsujimoto Keiko Tsujii and Yuri Nakayama came to Vancouver to cheer their country on.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 3:22 pm

It's here. It's today. It's the game the United States Women's National Soccer Team has dreamed about for four years. A return to the final of the World Cup.

And, oh by the way, the team that beat the U.S. in the last World Cup is the same one they'll face today: Japan.

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The Two-Way
6:03 am
Tue June 30, 2015

U.S. Topples Top-Ranked Germany 2-0 To Reach World Cup Final

Carli Lloyd of the U.S. (in white) celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick Tuesday night in the Americans' 2-0 World Cup semifinal victory against Germany.
Elsa Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 8:20 am

Updated, 9 p.m. ET:

In a battle between a fantastic attack and a fantastic defense, the latter prevailed, as two penalty kicks — one made, one whiffed — and a late insurance goal gave the U.S. a 2-0 win over Germany and a berth in the Women's World Cup soccer final.

After American forward Alex Morgan tumbled over a German defender — a foul that appeared to occur outside of the box — forward Carli Lloyd got a penalty shot past Germany's Nadine Angerer, whom the U.S. had kept busy all night.

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The Two-Way
6:03 am
Fri June 26, 2015

U.S. Women Take Out China, Advance To World Cup Semifinals

Goalie Hope Solo of the United States celebrates with midfielder Carli Lloyd on Friday after defeating China 1-0 in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals in Ottawa, Canada.
Jana Chytilova Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 8:26 pm

Update, 9:30 p.m. ET:

The United States pulled out a victory against China on Friday night in the Women's World Cup, winning only 1-0 despite dominating the match.

Midfielder Carli Lloyd's header in the 51st minute made the difference, but the U.S. kept pressure on China all night long and had 17 shots to China's 7.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Mon June 22, 2015

U.S. Beats Colombia 2-0, But Will Be Shorthanded Vs. China

Lauren Holiday of the United States is given a yellow card Monday in the first half against Colombia in a Women's World Cup match in Edmonton, Canada. She also received one in an earlier match against Australia, so Holiday will be suspended for the Americans' next match.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 22, 2015 8:42 pm

Update, 10:05 p.m. ET:

The Americans won and advanced to the quarterfinals at the Women's World Cup, but lost midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday for its next match, as each received her second yellow card of the tournament.

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The Two-Way
3:12 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

U.S. Women Beat Nigeria 1-0, Win Group And Advance To Elimination Rounds

Abby Wambach of the U.S. (from right) celebrates with teammates Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath after scoring against Nigeria at the end of the first half Tuesday during the FIFA Women's World Cup in Vancouver, Canada.
Ben Nelms EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 18, 2015 10:07 am

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET On June 17:

U.S. veteran Abby Wambach, making her second start of the World Cup, scored her first goal of the tournament and the 183rd of her storied international career to push the Americans past Nigeria on Tuesday in Vancouver, Canada.

The 1-0 victory allowed the U.S. to win Group D and advance into the elimination rounds, where they'll face another group's third-place team on Monday, followed by a possible matchup against Cameroon or China later next week.

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Goats and Soda
2:30 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Nigerian Soccer Fans Really Know How To Have A Ball

Nigerian fans stand and deliver cheers at a match against Australia, played during the Women's World Cup in Winnipeg, Canada.
Russell Lewis NPR

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 6:06 pm

If you watch the United States play Nigeria at the Women's World Cup tonight — kickoff is at 8 p.m. — you'll keep your eyes on the field. After all, it's an important match. A win or a tie, and the U.S. is guaranteed to advance to the knockout round. Even with a loss, the U.S. could still move on. Nigeria is the best team from Africa.

But maybe you should look at the stands instead.

Nigerian fans are an attraction in their own right. Decked out in bright green T-shirts and waving flags, they stand, cheer, party, play trumpets and drums, dance and sing.

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The Two-Way
11:03 am
Fri June 12, 2015

U.S. And Sweden Struggle To 0-0 Tie In Women's World Cup

U.S. forward Sydney Leroux controls the ball during a Group D match with Australia on Monday during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. The U.S. won, 3-1.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 12, 2015 8:35 pm

Update, 10:10 p.m. ET:

The U.S. and Sweden fought to a 0-0 tie in Winnipeg on Friday night — a disappointing result against the Americans' trash-talking former coach, but enough to keep them in control of their group at the Women's World Cup.

The U.S. struggled to maintain control in the Swedish half for much of the game, and had a hard time connecting on their longer passes forward. Two header attempts off corners around the 72nd minute were tipped over the crossbar and went wide right, and a frenzy in the final minute of extra time came up empty.

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The Two-Way
8:37 am
Mon June 8, 2015

U.S. Women Beat Australia 3-1 In Teams' Opening Match Of World Cup

Christen Press of the United States celebrates Monday after scoring a second-half goal against Australia during the FIFA Women's World Cup in Winnipeg, Canada.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 7:52 pm

Update, 9:45 p.m. ET:

Forward Christen Press scored in the 61st minute and Megan Rapinoe scored her second goal of the match in the 78th minute for the Americans, who beat Australia 3-1. Combined with the 1-1 tie between Sweden and Nigeria earlier on Monday, the U.S. has a strong lead in its World Cup group.

Rapinoe also was issued a yellow card in the second half, as was U.S. midfielder Lauren Holiday. Goalie Hope Solo had five saves.

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Sports
5:40 am
Sun June 7, 2015

FIFA Scandal Set Aside As Women's World Cup Opens

Originally published on Sun June 7, 2015 10:35 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
6:03 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

U.S. Women's Soccer Team Finishes Second In Brazilian Tournament

United States' Abby Wambach fights for the ball with Brazil's Bruna Benites during a final match of the International Women's Football Tournament in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday. The game ended in a draw, giving Brazil the tournament victory.
Eraldo Peres AP

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:57 am

The U.S. Women's National Soccer team finished its 2014 season with a second-place finish Sunday in the rainy final of the International Tournament of Brasilia. Brazil and the U.S. played to a 0-0 draw.

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Sports
2:35 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Proposal Would End Football At University Of Alabama-Birmingham

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 4:28 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
8:20 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Cements Its Dominance

The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team left its CONCACAF tournament competition in the dust. The team didn't give up a single goal all tournament. Abby Wambach, shown controlling the ball in the second half of the U.S. 6-0 win over Costa Rica in the finals, scored seven of the U.S. team's 21 goals.
Mitchell Leff Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 11:56 am

The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team showed why it's the top-ranked squad in the world. It won the CONCACAF tournament Sunday with a near-perfect 6-0 final game against Costa Rica.

The U.S. has had an easy run during this World Cup qualifying tournament for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Region. The United States had already qualified for next year's World Cup with a victory in the semifinals against Haiti. Sunday's win over Costa Rica further cemented the U.S. dominance.

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Tue July 8, 2014

The One American On The Field At Today's World Cup Semifinal

Referee Mark Geiger will be the U.S. presence at the World Cup semifinal on Tuesday.
Clive Rose Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 7:35 am

The United States will have a presence at today's semifinal World Cup match between Brazil and Germany. It won't be the U.S. National Team on the field, but American referee Mark Geiger. FIFA selected Geiger to be on the officiating crew of the high-stakes match. It's the first time a U.S. referee has been used this late in a World Cup.

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The Salt
10:49 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Want To Eat Brazilian Food At The World Cup? Please Step Outside

Acaraje are a regional food in Brazil made from fried balls of mashed-up beans, onions and salt. The balls are sliced in half, slathered with a spicy pepper sauce and cashew paste, and then topped with shrimp.
Russell Lewis NPR

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 8:53 am

The stadiums of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are all different, constructed to reflect the region. Natal's arena has a wavy beach-dune style, while the stadium in Manaus looks like a woven basket.

Inside those stadiums, however, you'd never know you're in Brazil. Budweiser is an official beer seller, and Coke has the soda market cornered. Other menu items include hot dogs, cheeseburgers and turkey sandwiches. It's almost impossible to find any Brazilian fare on the menu.

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Weather, History Muddy The Field For U.S.-Germany Showdown

Jermaine Jones and other members of the U.S. men's national team train in Manaus, Brazil. Fitness may be a crucial factor in the U.S.-Germany game on Thursday in Recife .
Raphael Alves AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 8:36 am

It's do or die (or tie) time for the United States today in the World Cup.

The U.S. team plays its final game in group play against world No. 2-ranked Germany at noon EDT in the Brazilian seaside city of Recife. The stakes couldn't be higher, and the intrigue is all here, folks.

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Latin America
2:15 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

A World Cup Surprise: Arias In The Heart Of The Amazon

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 7:30 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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The Two-Way
5:27 am
Sun June 22, 2014

U.S. Vs. Portugal: 'Now Is The Moment' To Show American Mettle

United States' goalkeeper Tim Howard works out during a training session. "We're going to do our best to bottle him up," Howard said of Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 8:17 am

The World Cup round of 16 in Brazil is taking shape.

Already in: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Netherlands. The big question: Will the United States join that distinguished list today?

The U.S. soccer team has a tough matchup against Portugal. Win, and the Americans are in. Lose or tie, and the road gets a lot tougher with next Thursday's game against Germany.

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Sports
2:22 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

In Brazil, Predictions Of Doom And Gloom Give Way To Minor Annoyances

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 2:32 pm

Brazil's World Cup preparation endured some heavy criticism leading up to the games. Stadiums were still under construction, Internet connections were sketchy and transportation faced major challenges. A week into the tournament, NPR's Russell Lewis has traveled to three airports and three cities so far. He talks to Melissa Block about what has worked and what remains a challenge.

Sports
6:20 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

With Win Over Ghana, U.S. Is Off On The Right Foot In Brazil

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 9:09 pm

On Monday night, the U.S. soccer team accomplished a feat it failed to achieve in the past two World Cups: beat Ghana. With a 2-1 victory, the Americans position themselves well for the games to come.

The Two-Way
10:08 am
Mon June 16, 2014

U.S. To Face Ghana As 'Group Of Death' Play Begins

In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, members of the U.S. soccer team warm up during a training session the day before their Group G World Cup match with Ghana in Natal, Brazil.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 11:47 am

It's day five of the World Cup in Brazil. But it's the most important day for the U.S. men's soccer team — it's game day.

Tonight at 6 p.m. ET, the U.S. opens World Cup play squaring off against Ghana in the seaside city of Natal. The tiny African country is not particularly a soccer powerhouse. But Ghana has vexed the U.S. — eliminating the team from the past two World Cups.

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Remembrances
3:45 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Scott Carpenter, Second US Astronaut To Orbit Earth, Dies

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 6:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

One of America's first astronauts has died. Scott Carpenter was part of the original Project Mercury team and he was the second American to orbit the Earth. Carpenter died this morning in Denver after complications from a stroke. He was 88 years old. As NPR's Russell Lewis reports, Scott Carpenter made it into space just that one time back in 1962, but he continued his pioneering ways.

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Sports
1:27 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Minor Leaguer Takes Mature Strides To Become Better

Tyler Saladino plays for the Birmingham Barons, the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.
Russell Lewis NPR

Originally published on Sun July 19, 2015 5:25 pm

Tyler Saladino is one of thousands of minor league baseball players hoping to make it to the major leagues. He plays in Alabama for the Birmingham Barons, the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Last year, NPR profiled Saladino. But since then, maybe things have changed for the 23-year-old infielder.

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History
3:39 am
Sun March 31, 2013

Old Newspapers Shed New Light On Emmett Till Murder

Officers stand by in 1955 as religious leaders from Chicago demonstrate outside the White House in Washington over the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till.
AP

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 4:21 pm

New details about one of Mississippi's most infamous murders are coming to light — more than a half-century later. The death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who allegedly whistled at a white woman, helped spark the civil rights movement.

Till lived in Chicago, and was visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta when he was murdered. His body was mutilated and dumped into a river. The accused were the woman's husband and her half-brother, and their trial drew reporters from both the white and black press.

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Business
3:28 am
Wed March 13, 2013

More Airports Renovating, Adding New Terminals

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 3:36 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's come back to the United States for this next story, because over the past few years, more than a dozen American airports - big and small - have renovated or added new terminals. The latest in Birmingham, Alabama opens today.

NPR's Russell Lewis reports on why so many airports are sprucing up.

RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: With just hours before the new $200 million terminal was to open, it was a mad dash...

(SOUNDBITE OF DRILLING)

LEWIS: ...as workers drilled signs above the restaurants,

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Sports
4:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

In Alaska's Iditarod Sled Race, Vets Are A Dog's Best Friend

Mushers can bring up to 20 dogs to the Iditarod but can start the race with only 16. In the days before the competition, the animals are taken to the Iditarod headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska, for pre-race exams.
Russell Lewis NPR

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 10:15 pm

In Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, the "Last Great Race on Earth" begins.

Sixty-seven sled dog teams will start the 998-mile Iditarod race across the barren, frigid and unforgiving land. In this year's competition, there are a handful of first-time racers — but those aren't the only rookies.

One is veterinarian Greg Reppas, whose job is to ensure the dogs are healthy throughout the race.

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Remembrances
6:11 am
Sun December 16, 2012

A Father Humbled By The Too-Short Life Of His Daughter

Emilie Parker, 6, was killed Dec. 14 in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Courtesy of the family

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:07 pm

Her name was Emilie Parker. Six years old. Long, flowing blond hair, piercing blue eyes and a sweet smile. Emilie was one of the 20 children killed on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we learn the names of the victims, we're also learning their stories.

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Around the Nation
4:19 am
Sat May 12, 2012

Wearing Helmets In Tornadoes Gains Momentum

Tornado survivor Jonathan Ford saves what he can from his home April 29, 2011, after it was destroyed by a powerful tornado in Pleasant Grove, Ala.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Sat May 12, 2012 11:18 am

Months after safety advocates embraced wearing helmets during tornadoes — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines on the practice. The CDC says there's not yet enough scientific evidence to fully endorse the idea. But the agency is warming up to people donning helmets when severe weather threatens.

Since a horrific outbreak of tornadoes killed more than 250 people last year in Alabama, safety advocates have been on a crusade.

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