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 is still at it hosting the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reporting 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.

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.

When Karriem Saleem El-Amin went to prison in 1971 for the murder of Baltimore grocer David Lermer during a robbery, he was an 18-year-old killer named William Collins.

In 2013, El-Amin left prison after serving 42 years, 3 months and 3 days. Today, he is 60 years old, back in the city of his youth, converted to Islam, subdued by age and often baffled by the experience of freedom.

Little things, like dining in a restaurant, can be disorienting.

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

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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.

With New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary less than a week away, the publisher of the state's largest paper, the Union Leader, told NPR's Robert Siegel his assessment of how the Republican presidential race has played out thus far in a single word: "Extraordinary."

And the reason he describes the GOP campaign that way boils down to Donald Trump, who, despite coming in second in the Iowa caucuses this week, enjoys a double-digit advantage in most New Hampshire polls.

What do you get from a college education? And, given today's eye-popping costs, is it worth it? Through this academic year, we're following a group of college seniors from Montgomery County, Md., and asking them those questions. Among those students are three women on the verge of real life.

Alejandra Gonzalez is an in-state student at the University of Maryland, in College Park. She's one of 27,000 undergraduates. To help pay for college, she works at the admissions office.

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.

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 about the value of school and about their choice of college.

What do you get from a college education? And, given today's eye-popping costs, is it worth it? We're following a group of college seniors through this academic year and asking them those questions.

Over the weekend, I watched as crowds in the hundreds gathered in Paris' 10th arrondissement at the killing sites: a few neighborhood bistros like Le Carillon, and a Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge — Little Cambodia.

The crowds moved quietly, like museumgoers, as they observed the memorial bouquets and candles or added to them with a hushed reverence.

There are bullet holes in the windows and walls, and the scenes of disorder inside were evidence of the chaos Friday night: beer glasses, still full, on the bar. A single shoe on the floor. Shards of glass.

Twenty years ago, an Israeli extremist shot dead the country's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and left the country, and people all over the world to wonder: What if?

What if Rabin, the general turned cautious peacemaker, had lived?

Rabin signed the Oslo Accords with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the White House in September 1993, launching the first full-fledged peace effort after decades of conflict between the two sides.

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.

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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.

Bill Deputy was All Things Considered's guardian of sound. An engineer and the show's technical director for many years, Deputy died Sunday of lung cancer in New Orleans at the age of 58.

Sound was a serious business for Bill. When he wasn't combining words and sound with music in the All Things Considered control room, he was traveling with us on assignments. We worked together everywhere from Baltimore to Gaza City, and his assignments with my colleagues were equally far-flung.

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.

There's a election law implemented in 2010 in Jordan known as "one person, one vote" that advocates of reform and democratization there regard, surprisingly, as a big step backward.

That's because of the strong ties Jordanians feel to family, clan and tribe, says Omar Razzaz, an economist and banker in Amman, the Jordanian capital.

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