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 hosts the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reports 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. He became host of All Things Considered in 1987.

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.

In 1995, NPR's All Things Considered invited tech writer Walt Mossberg on to the show to report on an increasingly popular phenomenon: the World Wide Web.

Mossberg shared a tool that helped to make sense of a disorganized and chaotic Internet, a website called Yahoo. At the time, Yahoo was a directory service for searching online, he explained.

North Korea now has its own version of Spam in grocery stores. In the capital, Pyongyang, at least, everyone has a smartphone — or two.

These are some of the things journalist Jean Lee didn't see five years ago when she opened the Associated Press bureau in the capital of the impoverished and isolated country.

Now a global fellow at the Wilson Center, Lee was invited to travel to North Korea this week to attend a medical conference in Pyongyang and follow a team of Korean-American surgeons.

In 1995, 22-year-old Steven Mallory imagined a life completely unlike his own — one without gangs, drugs and welfare dependency. He imagined having a solid family and savings.

But in Dayton, Ohio, he had a job literally doing the city's dirty work: cleaning up after the garbage trucks dumped their load at the county incinerator.

He had been a fast-living teenage drug dealer, making about $500 or $600 a day. Given to fancy cars and expensive suits, he had been known on the streets of West Dayton as Monte Carlos.

This week marks the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I, a conflict that shattered empires and cost millions of lives. On the American home front, it made this country less culturally German.

Today, when the question of loyalty of immigrants has again become contentious, what happened a century ago has special relevance. World War I inspired an outbreak of nativism and xenophobia that targeted German immigrants, Americans of German descent and even the German language.

Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee marked Abraham Lincoln's birthday by sharing a charming, if banal, aphorism attributed to Lincoln: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

An estimated 11 million immigrants live and work in the United States illegally. Their fate is one of the big policy questions facing the country. The story of how that population grew so large is a long one that's mostly about Mexico, and full of unintended consequences.

Prior to the 1920s, the U.S. had few restrictions on immigration, save for a few notable exclusions.

"Basically, people could show up," says Jeffrey Passel, of the Pew Research Center.

For workers in Mexico, crossing into the U.S. made a lot of economic sense, then and now.

In the world of electric cars, there's a chicken-and-egg problem: More people might buy electric vehicles, or EVs, if they were confident there would always be a charger nearby. And businesses might install more chargers if there were more EVs on the road.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, which is now hitting the market, could be the first of a new wave of game-changing electric vehicles.

Its longer range and lower price could attract new buyers to the electric car market, but there's uncertainty over whether federal tax incentives will continue and whether California will be allowed to keep tougher emissions rules under President Trump.

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Next month, there's a world chess championship match in New York City, and the two competitors, the assembled grandmasters, the budding chess prodigies, the older chess fans — everyone paying attention — will know this indisputable fact: A computer could win the match hands down.

They've known as much for almost 20 years — ever since May 11, 1997. On that day, IBM's Deep Blue defeated the great Garry Kasparov who, after an early blunder, resigned in defeat.

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Recently, two new jazz recordings came my way. One, titled Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest, is an album of never-before-released studio recordings from Germany in 1968.

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Now a story about justice and the passage of time. It's about a mass release of people sentenced to life in prison in the state of Maryland decades ago.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Our co-host, Robert Siegel, has been in New Hampshire all week with the other journalists, pundits and campaign staffers who descend on the state every four years, and he's been captivated by some of the other visitors.

Throughout this academic year, we're following a group of students who graduated from high school a few years ago in Montgomery County, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. We're asking about the choices they've made and about the cost and value of higher education.

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

Transcript

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Imagine you had the option of going to a top state university on a full ride or a prestigious Ivy League for about $20,000 a year. Would it be a hard decision? What would you choose?

Four years ago, Becca Arbacher had to make that decision. She chose Columbia in New York City over the University of Michigan.

And she's glad she did.

"Being at Columbia has offered me some really incredible opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise," says Arbacher. "It's kind of impossible for me to guess what my experience would have been like at Michigan."

Going to college today is a very different experience than it once was. The cost has soared, and the great recession cut into many of the assets that were supposed to pay for it. This week, All Things Considered is talking with young people — and in some cases their parents — about the value of school and about their choice of what kind of college to attend.

In New York City, some 65,000 children have enrolled in Mayor Bill de Blasio's new, universal preschool program. To put that number in context, that's more than all the public school students — in all grades — in either Washington, D.C., or Boston. Free pre-K for all 4-year-olds was a key de Blasio campaign promise.

Going to college today is a very different experience than it once was. The cost has soared, and the great recession cut into many of the assets that were supposed to pay for it. This week All Things Considered is talking with young people — and in some cases their parents — about the value of school and about their choice of what kind of college to attend.

The most talked-about novel written in French recently is not by a Frenchman, but by an Algerian, newspaper editor Kamel Daoud. It's called The Meursault Investigation, and it's a response to the most famous novel ever written by a French Algerian, a mainstay of the 20th century canon: The Stranger, by Albert Camus.

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A moment now of reality colliding with politics.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At an event called Good Living in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with some schoolchildren.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

In Havana, Cuba, the old cars that crowd the streets used to symbolize a stagnant nation. Now enterprising Cubans have begun renting cars out to tourists who are hungry for the cars of their youth.

During my reporting trip to Havana, I spoke with Julio Alvarez, the owner of Nostalgicar in Havana.

He joked that one thing Cubans should thank Fidel Castro for is all the old, majestic American cars that are now making him money.

You can listen to the story using the player above.

Miguel Coyula points at an open door in the middle of Old Havana. The mahogany door looks worn, but still handsome. The concrete facade has lost most of its paint, and time has ripped parts of it open.

"That's marble," Coyula says, pointing to the treads of the staircase. "They are the remnants of something that was very glorious."

Coyula is an architect and an economist, and as he walks through the streets of Havana, he doesn't just see breathtaking decay. He sees how economic policies and social circumstances have shaped this city.

It was still dark when Tania Bruguera hopped into a cab with us on her way to Revolution Square.

"All of a sudden it looks quite subversive what we're doing," she said. Her voice revealed a little nervousness, but it translated into a giddy laughter.

It has already been a messy game at Havana's Latin American Stadium, the premier baseball stadium in Cuba. The home team, the Industriales, has given up five runs in the first inning; a shortstop fumbled a ball, an outfielder failed to hustle and an easy out became an extra-base hit.

The home crowd isn't deterred. The vuvuzelas, those ear-splitting plastic horns, still swell when an opposing batter reaches two strikes.

After the sun sets on Havana on weekends, G Street turns into a kind of runway.

Blocks of the promenade — which is very colonial with its big, beautiful statues and impeccable topiaries — swell with crowds of young Cubans. For the most part, they just walk up and down, greeting each other with kisses.

It's a spectacle: Everyone, it seems, is here to impress. They're perfectly coiffed, perfectly matched; they're splayed on benches, arms wrapped around each other.

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