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.

The Morning Edition Song Project, in which musicians compose an original song about the COVID-19 era, returns this week with folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens.

Giddens is American, but has spent the pandemic at her home in Limerick, Ireland. When we spoke to her on Monday, Ireland was just a few days into a new six-week lockdown to address the country's growing infection rate. The restrictions are among the toughest in Europe.

It took Wisconsin more than seven months to reach 100,000 coronavirus cases. On Monday, just five weeks later, it reached 200,000.

The Morning Edition Song Project, in which musicians compose an original song about the COVID-19 era, returns this week with country singer-songwriter Lori McKenna. A Nashville writer for hire and solo artist in her own right, McKenna has been spending the year doing songwriting sessions over Zoom from the basement of her family's Boston home.

"When I first started writing as a teenager, people said, 'You got to write what you know,' and I figured well this is what I know," McKenna says. "I know how to be in a family."

Hungarian architect Ernő Rubik takes play very seriously — and suggests we could all lighten up. "Most people are taking most of the things too seriously," he says. "They really can't enjoy life because of that."

If Rubik's name sounds familiar that's because he's the inventor of the Rubik's Cube — that fun (and frustrating) colorful cube puzzle.

"If you don't really mind if you are winning or losing, you enjoy the play ..." he says. "I learn most from my failures — that is the way to learn, that is the way to be successful."

Combine vibrating urbano bass that conjures classic Daddy Yankee, a silky R&B voice that could make Prince blush and textures reminiscent of John Carpenter's Halloween score, and you've got the latest album from Gabriel Garzón-Montano.

The Morning Edition Song Project, in which musicians compose an original song about the COVID-19 era, returns this week with New Orleans group Tank and the Bangas. When NPR first approached the band over the summer, the pandemic and the George Floyd protests were dominating the news. Asked to compose some music that put her feelings about the words into words, singer Tarriona "Tank" Ball responded with a song simply called "Feelings."

Morning Edition has been reaching out to musicians in recent months to get their take on the COVID-19 era, and asking them to write an original song inspired by this tumultuous time. This week's contributors, veteran folk-rock duo Indigo Girls, have lots of experience writing about social issues in their music. But according to member Amy Ray, they had some serious misgivings at first.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Rachel, here in Los Angeles, the air was just nasty all weekend from some wildfires that are not very far from here. But it is so much worse as you go up the coast.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For the Morning Edition Song Project, we've asked musicians to capture life in the era of COVID-19 by writing an original song that describes this turbulent moment. When we contacted Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, he had an idea ready to go. He says "Slint, Spiderland" was something he had been jotting down as a sort of musical journal entry.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's been a brutal year for Americans.

The relentless spread of COVID-19, the ensuing economic crisis and the reckoning around social injustice has made this a year like none other.

NPR wanted to know how these cataclysmic, consequential events have affected American families and how those experiences might shape their political choices in the upcoming presidential election.

For the Morning Edition Song Project, we've asked musicians to capture life in the era of COVID-19 by writing an original song that describes this turbulent moment. For our next entry, Nashville-based soul singer Devon Gilfillian examines how the pandemic created space for a national dialogue on race with his new song, "Cracks in the Ceiling," which he wrote after a difficult conversation with a close friend.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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It was during a recent interview on NPR that a postal worker reported a mysterious development. The Postal Service was removing sorting machines from Waterloo, Iowa.

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YouTube

For the Morning Edition Song Project, the show has been reaching out to musicians in recent weeks for their take on the era of COVID-19, asking them to put their thoughts to music in a

Makaya McCraven calls himself a beat scientist, so it's no surprise when you ask about his childhood, you hear he was pretty much surrounded by rhythm.

"Rehearsals at our house, banging on drums since I was able to hold a drumstick, sleeping in my dad's bass drum," he recalls. "There was no front head, and a little pillow in there. And you could just kinda go in and lay down if you're small enough."

Alex Trebek usually asks all the questions, so we turned the tables and asked him one for a change. What would the Jeopardy! clue be for the question, "Who is Alex Trebek?"

"He's the avuncular host of a popular quiz show who has been around, it seems, forever," Trebek replies.

Trebek, who turns 80 on Wednesday, has been hosting Jeopardy! since 1984. When he was offered the position back then, he had no idea he'd stay with the show for the rest of his career. "It was a job," he says.

The pandemic, a bad economy, police killings and a fight for racial equality: It's a lot of take in. For some, music has been a way to cope and try to make sense of it all and that is the premise behind the Morning Edition Song Project, in which we asked musicians to write and perform an original song about this moment.

First, a pandemic, then economic collapse and now there are mass demonstrations over police brutality and racism.

In times of upheaval like this, music can be an escape. Maybe a way to reflect or try to make sense of things. This is what led to a new series we're launching today. For the Morning Edition Song Project, we've been asking musicians to write and perform an original song for us.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

George Floyd was buried in his hometown of Houston, Texas, this week. Floyd left his mark on the city through his friends and family, but also through the music he made under the name Big Floyd.

George Floyd grew up in Houston's Third Ward — the home of the city's hip-hop and rap scene. Floyd used to spend hours in producer DjD's home studio, making the kind of slow-the-music-down form of rap made famous by the late DJ Screw, who also knew and worked with Floyd.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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More than 100,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Andrew Watt is one of pop music's hottest hired guns. The 29-year-old has written and produced for megastars including Post Malone, Cardi B, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. His calling card is blending of-the-moment pop with a rock aesthetic. Last month, shortly after recovering from COVID-19, he played guitar while Miley Cyrus covered Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" on Saturday Night Live.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Is it time for states to reopen their economies? President Trump really wants it to happen. But the question is whether or not it's safe.

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People around the world are reporting that birds are much louder these days.

But Sue Anne Zollinger, an ornithologist from Manchester Metropolitan University, cautions: Don't believe everything you hear.

With the decrease in traffic, there's less noise pollution. That means birds have less noise to compete with, she says. (Scroll down to the end of this story to listen for yourself.)

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