David Greene | WYPR

David Greene

David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.

Prior to taking on his current role in 2012, Greene was an NPR foreign correspondent based in Moscow covering the region from Ukraine and the Baltics east to Siberia. During that time he brought listeners stories as wide-ranging as Chernobyl 25 years later and Beatles-singing Russian Babushkas. He wrote the best-selling book Midnight in Siberia, capturing Russian life on a journey across the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Greene later won an Edward R. Murrow Award for his interview with two young men badly beaten by authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya as part of a campaign to target gay men. Greene also spent a month in Libya reporting riveting stories in the most difficult of circumstances as NATO bombs fell on Tripoli. He was honored with the 2011 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize from WBUR and Boston University for that coverage of the Arab Spring.

Greene's voice became familiar to NPR listeners from his four years covering the White House. To report on former President George W. Bush's second term, he spent hours in NPR's spacious booth in the basement of the West Wing (it's about the size of your average broom closet). He also spent time trekking across five continents, reporting on White House visits to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Rwanda, Uruguay – and, of course, Crawford, Texas.

During the days following Hurricane Katrina, Greene was aboard Air Force One when President Bush flew low over the Gulf Coast and caught his first glimpse of the storm's destruction. On the ground in New Orleans, Greene brought listeners a moving interview with the late Ethel Williams, a then-74-year-old flood victim who got an unexpected visit from the president.

Greene was an integral part of NPR's coverage of the historic 2008 election, reporting on Hillary Clinton's campaign from start to finish, and also focusing on how racial attitudes were playing into voters' decisions. The White House Correspondents' Association took special note of Greene's report on a speech by then-candidate Barack Obama addressing the nation's racial divide. Greene was given the Association's 2008 Merriman Smith Award for deadline coverage of the presidency.

After President Obama took office, Greene kept one eye trained on the White House and the other eye on the road. He spent three months driving across America – with a recorder, camera, and lots of caffeine – to learn how the recession was touching Americans during President Obama's first 100 days in office. The series was called "100 Days: On the Road in Troubled Times."

Before joining NPR in 2005, Greene spent nearly seven years as a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Sun. He covered the White House during the Bush administration's first term and wrote about an array of other topics for the paper, including why Oklahomans love the sport of cockfighting, why two Amish men in Pennsylvania were caught trafficking methamphetamine, and how one woman brought Christmas back to a small town in Maryland.

Before graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1998 with a degree in government, Greene worked as the senior editor on the Harvard Crimson. In 2004, he was named co-volunteer of the year for Coaching for College, a Washington, DC, program offering tutoring to inner-city youth. He lives in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, with his wife, Rose Previte, a restauranteur.

How about this movie plot for Valentine's Day: A family are on vacation atop picturesque slopes in the Alps. Pete and Billie — played by Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus — grab a hot lunch at the ski resort with their kids, when suddenly, a wall of snow pummels down a mountain. An avalanche is heading straight for their family.

The book we're talking about right now almost didn't exist.

Little Legends celebrates exceptional men in black history; it's by the author-illustrator Vashti Harrison. She says she thought long and hard about taking on this subject matter, because she relates more to women's stories.

Glenn Hurst didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a doctor. But eventually, he made his way into health care, taking a job placing doctors in small towns. Traveling farm country, he says, the work moved him in ways he didn't expect.

"To see the physicians in those communities helping those people stay in their fields, helping those people's families be safe ... I decided that I wanted to be part of something rural and I wanted to be part of health care," he says.

The ninth episode of Star Wars blasts into theaters this weekend, more than 40 years since the release of George Lucas' original hit movie. Back then, NPR got in on Star Wars saga action, creating a radio drama of that original episode.

The humorist Mo Rocca loves obituaries.

He loves that for one last time, the public gets to dig deep into a person's life, however consequential he or she may have been. So he's coined the term "Mobituary": a second remembrance for someone who didn't get a fair treatment the first go-round.

If there were ever a person stuck in a place he never wanted to be, it's Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Zelenskiy had been in his post for only two months when he had that infamous July 25 phone call with President Trump — during which Trump asked the Ukrainian president to help investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. For Zelenskiy, the call made what was already a delicate diplomatic situation even more complicated.

Bill Bryson is beloved for his travel writing, but his new book takes us not to Australia or to Europe or to Iowa, but on a journey inside our own bodies. And it's called — naturally — The Body. Bryson says he's genuinely fascinated by the ways our bodies work. "I mean, once you start delving into the body and how it's put together, and what a miracle life is when you think about it," he says, "each of us is made up of 37 trillion cells, and there's nothing in charge.

The U.S. women's soccer team is still savoring its victory after capturing the World Cup championship this summer. But off the field, the players continue to battle a gender discrimination case against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The women are demanding pay equal to that of their counterparts on the men's national soccer team. U.S. Soccer says it pays women more than men in salaries and game bonuses.

To some, Republican Sen. John McCain embodied principles of a bygone Washington: He sought common ground; he reached across the political divide; he had close friendships with Democrats.

His wife, Cindy McCain, would like to try to get back to those days. So to mark a year since her husband died of brain cancer, she is encouraging Americans to be more civil.

"We're missing John's voice of reason right now in so many ways," McCain tells NPR's David Greene.

Andre and Jordan Anchondo were expecting houseguests for a barbecue last Saturday. It was supposed to be a triple celebration. Andre had just finished building their new home, the couple was celebrating their first wedding anniversary and their daughter was turning 6.

Before the barbecue, they dropped by Walmart to grab school supplies and food for the party. But all of their plans and celebrations shattered in an instant of violence.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Mark Hamill remembers the first time he learned about voice acting — he was watching a Walt Disney special about animation and he saw Clarence Nash "this guy in a suit and a microphone" doing the voice of Donald Duck. "I must have been five or six and a light bulb went off in my head ..." Hamill says. "Suddenly it occurred to me that somebody gets up in the morning, goes to work, and does Donald Duck for his job. I want that job!"

Super Bowl III, 1969: The New York Jets were playing the mighty Baltimore Colts. Nobody predicted the Jets would win. Well, except for Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who did more than predict a victory. "I guarantee it," he said before the game.

Fifty years later, his legacy is still tied up in those three words.

Carly Rae Jepsen has evolved into one of pop's most endearing and indelible voices; her relatable lyrics hit home but her dance-pop arrangements soar above the everyday. She's a long way off from the bubblegum pop days of "Call Me Maybe." Over the course of her first three records, Jepsen went from a relatively unknown Canadian Idol contestant to a viral phenomenon to a lowkey critical darling. Still, Jepsen had yet to really let fans in until now.

The Netflix anthology show Easy deals with topics that are anything but: searching for love, navigating relationships, seeking knowledge of ourselves — and sometimes looking for it in other people. The show's third and final season is out now on Netflix.

Its creator, writer and director, Joe Swanberg, has a naturalistic filmmaking style with a lot of improvisation — it's often categorized as part of a movement called "mumblecore." In an interview, he says he had to translate that style into something authentic for TV.

In the Broadway musical The Prom, a high school PTA decides to cancel the dance rather than allow two girls to attend together. The show's creators, Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, started writing a musical eight years ago, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S. They worried that the show might feel irrelevant by now — but they were wrong. The Prom just received seven Tony nominations, including Best Musical.

Boris Fishman was nine years old in 1988 when his family left Belarus for New York. As Jews in what was then the Soviet Union, their prospects were limited, and they lived under the constant threat of discrimination and violence. But his grandfather was resourceful, so, unlike other families, Fishman's did not lack for good food.

His new memoir, Savage Feast, layers family recipes into the stories; Fishman says his grandparents' attitudes toward food were shaped by the hunger and loss of World War II.


There's this one scene in The Hangover. A man jumps out of the trunk of a car — completely naked — and attacks Bradley Cooper with a crowbar.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "SPRING AWAKENING")

SAWYER GARRITY: (As Wendla, singing) Mama who bore me, Mama who gave me no way to...

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For one Native American tribe whose land straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump's proposed border wall would, literally, divide its people.

The Tohono O'odham Nation stretches through the desert from just south of Casa Grande in southern Arizona to the U.S. border — and then beyond, into the Mexican state of Sonora. This means that if Trump gets his $5.7 billion border wall, it would cut right through the tribe's land.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When he's not busy on a movie set, Jeff Goldblum owns Wednesday nights in Los Angeles.

The actor, known for roles in Hollywood blockbusters and a singular, chin-stroking comic persona, plays piano in a jazz band with a standing weekly gig, which he calls The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. The performances are casual and unstructured, with the man of the hour playing keys one moment, holding court and posing for photos with attendees the next, just generally being ... well, Jeff Goldblum.

In his new movie Boy Erased, the Australian actor and director Joel Edgerton takes us inside a Christian program that is supposed to "cure" people of homosexuality. Edgerton himself plays the practitioner of a discredited treatment known as conversion therapy.

The film is based on the true story of someone who entered such a program at age 19. Garrard Conley wrote about his experience in Boy Erased: A Memoir, and was a close consultant for the movie.

In an interview, Edgerton says that Conley is still coming to terms with the experience.

Viola Davis is known for her roles in movies like Fences and The Help. She's won an Oscar, an Emmy, a couple of Tony Awards — the list goes on and on.

But as we sit in her trailer on the set of the TV show in which she stars, How to Get Away with Murder, she tells me about a time before all of this — when she grew up in a condemned building in Rhode Island, sleeping on the top bunk with her sister to be safe from rats on the floor.

She had a way to get away from all that.

In Charlotte, N.C., back in May, fans at Willie Nelson's Outlaw Music Festival only saw a few moments of the country legend. He walked stiffly across the stage, struggled to put on his guitar, then, clearly frustrated, he tossed his hat into the crowd and walked off stage. Nelson had already canceled a string of performances in February, citing a bad case of the flu. Some fans were wondering whether this was it.

Grab the tissues — the Fab Five are back with a second season of Netflix's Queer Eye.

For the uninitiated, Queer Eye is a makeover show where five gay men with different areas of expertise (fashion, food, grooming, interior design) have a week to help change the life of one person, who they refer to as a "hero."

Comedian Louie Anderson would like to introduce you to his mom, Ora Zella Anderson. She died years ago, but he's been thinking about her a lot lately.

In his new book, Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too, he's written a series of letters to fill her in on all that she's missed — like the breakthrough TV role that she inspired on the FX show Baskets.

Anderson plays the sweet, sometimes flustered mom, whose son Chip is played by Zach Galifianakis.

Judd Apatow was just a kid when he first saw the comedian who would change his life. He was watching The Tonight Show.

"Like a lot of people in America, I just thought: what a fascinating, hilarious, odd man," Apatow says. "And I tracked his career. Some kids would track baseball players and their averages. I would watch comedians and watch them develop."

As a kid in Oakland, Calif., Ryan Coogler hung out at a comic book shop near his school, reading about superheroes who looked nothing like him.

"As I got older, I wanted to find a comic book character that looked like me and not just one that was on the sidelines," Coogler says. "And I walk in and ask the guy at the desk that day, and say, 'Hey man, you got any comic books here about black people, you know, like with a black superhero?' And he was like, 'Oh, yeah, as a matter of fact, we got this one.'"

Vanna White has been turning letters on Wheel of Fortune for 35 years. That's 6,500 shows — and I've seen a lot of them. It's amazing to think about how much the world has changed, even as White has been doing the exact same job.

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