Ari Shapiro | WYPR

Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning newsmagazine.

He has reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One. He has covered wars in Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel, and he has filed stories from five continents. (Sorry, Australia.)

Shapiro was previously NPR's International Correspondent based in London, from where he traveled the world covering a wide range of topics for NPR's national news programs.

He joined NPR's international desk in 2014 after four years as White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama's first and second terms. In 2012, Shapiro embedded with the presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney. He was NPR Justice Correspondent for five years during the George W. Bush Administration, covering one of the most tumultuous periods in the Department's history.

Shapiro is a frequent guest analyst on television news programs, and his reporting has been consistently recognized by his peers. The Columbia Journalism Review honored him with a laurel for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans. The American Bar Association awarded him the Silver Gavel for exposing the failures of Louisiana's detention system after Hurricane Katrina. He was the first recipient of the American Judges' Association American Gavel Award for his work on U.S. courts and the American justice system. And at age 25, Shapiro won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission.

An occasional singer, Shapiro makes guest appearances with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini, whose recent albums feature several of his contributions. Since his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, Shapiro has performed live at many of the world's most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, L'Olympia in Paris, and Mount Lycabettus in Athens.

Shapiro was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale. He began his journalism career as an intern for NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, who has also occasionally been known to sing in public.

Unlabeled stimulants in soft drinks. Formaldehyde in meat and milk. Borax — the stuff used to kill ants! — used as a common food preservative. The American food industry was once a wild and dangerous place for the consumer.

Deborah Blum's new book, The Poison Squad, is a true story about how Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, named chief chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1883, conducted a rather grisly experiment on human volunteers to help make food safer for consumers — and his work still echoes on today.

The NBC sitcom The Good Place is back for its third season, and fans will be happy to know Tahani al Jamil is as "conceited, but deeply kind, insecure, [and] vainglorious" as ever — in the words of Jameela Jamil, the actress who plays her.

But Jamil's personal story couldn't be more different from her character's. While Tahani is a selfish socialite who does massive charity events largely so she can name-drop celebrities, Jamil is a disability rights advocate and strong voice against body-shaming and impossible beauty standards for women.

About 20 years ago, to mark her 60th birthday, Jane Fonda asked for her daughter's help in creating a very short video about her life. Her daughter suggested, "Why don't you just get a chameleon to crawl across the screen?"

"Ouch," Fonda says, recalling the conversation. "She knew what buttons to push and she wasn't wrong."

Fonda has lived many lives. From starlet, to fitness guru, to Vietnam protester — now 80, she's a comedic actress, securing roles at an age when many in Hollywood would have left the screen.

Ling Ma was in the last months of a tedious office job when she began writing her first novel. The company was downsizing, and as her coworkers got laid off, the office became "silent and desolate," Ma recalls.

Eventually Ma lost her job, too. The first few weeks were liberating — she called her unemployment check her "arts fellowship" — and she turned her attention to her debut novel.

Parker Posey is not the kind of movie star who seems distant and unapproachable. Instead, people shout her most famous lines at her when they pass her on the street. "I've gotten 'Air raid!' for, you know, 25 years," she says, referencing 1993's Dazed and Confused. "And Busy Bee, you know — 'Where's my Busy Bee?' From Best in Show," one of five semi-improvised documentary spoof films she's made with the director Christopher Guest.

Michael Scott Moore is a journalist who traveled to Somalia to write a book about the history of piracy in the Horn of Africa. It did not go as planned.

The title of his new book tells you what happened. It's called The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast.

Moore's ordeal began just after he dropped off a colleague at a small airport in Somalia. As he was heading back into town, his car came upon a truck full of armed men.

Music and politics have always been intertwined, from "Yankee Doodle" to "A Change is Gonna Come." And that's true in Zimbabwe, too — a country that is now facing a historic political transition.

Savanna Madamombe's life is very different than it was a year ago.

Originally from just outside Zimbabwe's capital Harare, Madamombe moved to Manhattan in 2000, where she worked in hotels and restaurants — and watched from afar as her country slowly crumbled under the authoritarian rule of President Robert Mugabe. She felt helpless, like she didn't even recognize Zimbabwe anymore.

"Florida in the summer is a slow hot drowning." That's one way Lauren Groff describes the state in her new collection of short stories. In another part of the book, she calls Florida "a damp, dense tangle. An Eden of dangerous things." Why Florida? "I've lived here for 12 years and it's still so alien and fecund and steamy and strange to me," she says. "Reptilian, dangerous, teeming — I mean, there are so many things that you could call Florida."


Interview Highlights

On the dangers of Florida

It's nightfall in Washington, D.C., at the end of the evening shift, when the throngs of students on school field trips have slowed to a trickle at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

With a flashlight in one hand and a clear plastic bag in the other, Bob Herendeen walks the length of the austere, black granite wall. The National Park Service ranger surveys the things visitors have left at the memorial: American flags, wreaths, flowers.

More than a decade ago, author Neil Gaiman wrote a short story that captures some of the strangeness of being a teenager discovering the world. It's called "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," and it's really only one scene: Two boys stumble upon a party where the girls seem rather alien. As it turns out, the girls are actual aliens.

For decades, Americans have seen celebrities through photographer Mark Seliger's lens. His work has appeared in magazines such as Vanity Fair, GQ and Rolling Stone.

"Having a sense of humor" is important to the work, he says. "Whether it's a big concept or whether it's a wink."

The title of Maxim Loskutoff's debut book is an invitation. Or is it a command?

In the short story collection Come West and See, he writes about a region that is wild and aggressive, standing in stark opposition to the society that exists in, say, Washington, D.C., or New York City.

Loskutoff grew up in the American West, in Missoula, Mont., but back then, that fierce, rugged individualism didn't quite appeal to him.

Last week, teachers-to-be WinnieHope Mamboleo and Cristina Chase Lane marched across the graduation stage at North Carolina State University.

This week, they'll be marching with future colleagues at the state capitol in Raleigh, asking for better pay and better school funding.

North Carolina is the sixth state to see teacher walkouts in the past four months. The others are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona. The Tar Heel state ranks 39th both in per-student spending and in average teacher pay as of 2017.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The new movie "Beast" is a psychological thriller set on a quaint island in the English Channel called Jersey. Twenty-seven-year-old Moll lives a quiet, stifling life with her controlling mother.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BEAST")

Allan Monga, a junior at Deering High School in Portland, Maine, traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Poetry Out Loud contest on Monday. It's a national competition in which students recite great works of poetry, and it's run by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

But Monga, who says he fled violence in his home country of Zambia, was initially barred from the national final because of his immigration status: He's an asylum seeker and does not yet have U.S. citizenship.

In the last few years, some European countries have refused to take in refugees, prejudiced views have entered the mainstream, and leaders demonize religious minorities and attack the free press.

Nils Muiznieks has raised alarms about many of these issues. He's just finished his six-year term as the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, the continent's main human rights watchdog.

Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods wanted to start a podcast about life in prison. It would be for inmates, by inmates, to be played on the closed-circuit station in San Quentin State Prison in California — "for the inside," as Woods says.

Woods is serving a 31-years-to-life sentence for attempted second-degree robbery. Poor is a visual artist who volunteers at San Quentin.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Award-winning composer Dan Romer is best known for scoring TV shows and films like Beasts Of The Southern Wild and Beasts Of No Nation. Recently, his career took a turn from movies to video games. He's written the music for the latest installment in the popular series Far Cry.

Dystopian thriller, The Walk, is a tale of mistaken identity, terrorism, and a life-or-death mission to walk across Scotland. But the format of this story is — unusual.

The Walk is an immersive fiction podcast, and the creators want you to listen to it while walking. It begins with a terrorist attack at a train station; you are the protagonist, known only as Walker, and the police think you're a member of a shadowy terror group called The Burn.

Alan Hollinghurst is an English novelist who likes to explore private, secret lives. His characters are often gay men — sometimes living in an earlier era, when they wouldn't use the word "gay" to describe themselves.

Millions of Americans use opioids to relieve pain. But many also struggle with addiction.

This week, a report in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, found that nonopioid painkillers — like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — were as effective as opioids at treating chronic back, hip and knee pain, and with fewer side effects.

The new film A Wrinkle In Time has some of Hollywood's biggest stars: Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, and more. But their stories all revolve around the central character, Meg Murry, who sets out on a journey through the universe to find her missing father — and Meg is played by 14-year-old actress Storm Reid.

A Wrinkle In Time is based on the acclaimed book of the same name by Madeleine L'Engle, which Reid first read in the 6th grade for a book report. She says she never thought that Meg could look like her.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Botanist David Fairchild grew up in Kansas at the end of the 19th century. He loved plants, and he loved travel, and he found a way to combine both into a job for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This year, Bill and Melinda Gates are doing something a little different with their annual letter. They are answering what they call some of the "toughest questions" from their foundation's critics.

On the list: Is it fair that you have the influence you do? Why don't you give more to the United States? Why do you give your money away?

Since its inception, the Gates Foundation has given $41.3 billion in grants, including a grant to NPR.

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Se suponía que iba a ser un día perfecto.

Alex pensaba levantarse a las 6:30 a.m., alistar a sus hermanos para ir a la escuela y tomar el autobús a las 7:00 a.m. Después de clases, el muchacho de 14 años iba a jugar su primer partido de futbol americano, un evento que había esperado durante semanas.

The stock market swung dramatically up and down on Wednesday, ending about where it started the day — after record losses earlier in the week. President Trump's top economic adviser says it's important to keep the volatility in context.

"The fact is that the fundamentals for the economy are very sound," Kevin Hassett says in an interview with NPR. "Wages are going up a lot. Even in the employment report that came out last week, we saw the highest rate of wage growth in about a decade."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Stop me if you've heard this one before.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GROUNDHOG DAY")

BILL MURRAY: (As Phil) It's February 2, Groundhog Day.

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