Uri Berliner

As Senior Editor at NPR, Uri Berliner oversees coverage of business and the economy. He has supervised and edited much of NPR's work on the financial crisis, the auto industry, energy and the workplace. Berliner has helped to build Planet Money, a prize-winnng multimedia team that covers the global economy.

Until recently, Berliner also edited NPR's sports coverage and was part of a team that won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Berliner came to NPR in 1999 from California, where he worked as a reporter for 12 years at daily newspapers in San Diego and Santa Barbara. At the San Diego Union-Tribune, he covered wildfires, street gangs, the border and military issues before becoming the paper's economics correspondent. His feature writing and investigative reporting earned several awards.

In 1998, Berliner was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where he studied business, history and economics. The following year he moved to Washington, D.C.

Originally from New York City, Berliner received his undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College, and went on to receive his Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Many things made with paper have become relics because of computers and the Internet: the Rolodex, multivolume encyclopedias, even physical maps.

Now take a look in your mailbox or somewhere around your house. There's a good chance you'll see a shopping catalog, maybe a few of them now that it's the holiday season.

"I ignore them," says Rick Narad, a professor at California State University, Chico. "I get them in the mail sometimes, and they don't make it into the house. I walk past the recycling bin, and they go right in."

Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina.

"We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.

There's a long, unfolding story about work in America that often gets overlooked. It's the story of men opting out of work altogether. These are men who have vanished from the labor force — men who don't have a job and aren't looking for one.

A year ago, NPR's Uri Berliner decided to take his money out of a savings account that was losing value to inflation and turn it loose in an investing adventure. A series of stories in 2013 described his newly acquired assets and sought to shed light on how the markets for them worked.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

The Los Angeles Clippers are back to the business of basketball. They'll play the Golden State Warriors tonight in a deciding game 7 playoff game. It will cap a jaw-dropping week for the franchise, bound together by race, the Internet and the economics of sports. Here's NPR's Uri Berliner.

The men's NCAA college basketball tournament starts next week.

In a twist on the familiar March Madness bracket, a mortgage company and a world-famous investor are offering a billion dollars to anyone who picks the winner of all 63 games in the NCAA college basketball tournament.

It's a contest, and it may also be the perfect publicity stunt.

Being a news consumer means you're constantly on the receiving end of bad news. War, unemployment, crime, political dysfunction — it can be enough to make you think we humans aren't doing anything right. But good news: We are. As the year draws to an end, here's a look at a few areas of real progress in the U.S. and around the world.

Air Safety

Let's start with flying. It's not a lot of fun: baggage fees, pat-downs, cramped seating, disappointing snacks.

Some of the sanctions against Iran will be eased under an agreement reached between Iran and six world powers over the weekend. In return, Iran promises to temporarily curb part of its nuclear program.

There's widespread agreement that sanctions have worked, squeezing Iran financially and bringing its leaders to the negotiating table. Iran's economy is, by any measure, in terrible shape.

We have been reporting for several weeks now on small businesses in America. Today, we explore a business system where entrepreneurs and corporations come together: franchising. Franchising is a bit like marriage. It takes a good long-term relationship to succeed.

NPR's Uri Berliner is taking $5,000 of his own savings and putting it to work. Though he's no financial whiz or guru, he's exploring different types of investments — alternatives that may fare better than staying in a savings account that's not keeping up with inflation.

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