Joel Rose

Joel Rose covers the northeast for the National Desk out of NPR's New York bureau.

Rose's reporting often focuses on criminal justice, technology and culture. He's interviewed grieving parents after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, resettled refugees in Buffalo, and a lineup of musicians that includes Solomon Burke, Tom Waits and Arcade Fire.

Rose collaborated with NPR's Planet Money podcast for a story on smart guns. He was part of NPR's award-winning coverage of Pope Francis's visit to the US. He's also contributed to breakings news coverage of the mass shooting at Mother Bethel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, and major protests after the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Eric Garner in New York.

Before coming to NPR, Rose held a number of jobs in public radio. He spent a decade in Philadelphia, including six years as a reporter at member station WHYY. He was also a producer at KQED in San Francisco and American Routes in New Orleans.

Rose has a bachelor's degree in history and music from Brown University, where he got his start in broadcasting as an overnight DJ at the college radio station. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

With the New Year comes a long list of new laws taking effect across the country.

In some cases, those laws show states moving in starkly different directions on polarizing issues — especially voting and gun rights. Here are four examples of controversial laws taking effect now that 2016 has arrived:

Tightening Voting Rules In N.C. ...

Starting this week, North Carolinians are required to show photo ID at the polls. It's the most controversial part of a set of changes to the state's voter registration laws that were passed more than two years ago.

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How much does $1 billion buy these days? The city of Buffalo is about to find out.

New York state is funneling $1 billion in cash and tax incentives into the region. Fully half of the "Buffalo Billion," as it's known, is going to one place: a massive solar panel factory, rising on the site of a demolished steel factory in South Buffalo. With an additional $250 million from other state sources, the solar project is getting a total of $750 million from New York.

At least once a week, federal defender Deirdre von Dornum travels across Brooklyn to meet with her incarcerated clients. The round trip takes three hours, on a good day.

First von Dornum rides the subway. Then she walks half a mile to the Metropolitan Detention Center, a pair of nondescript high-rise buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront. At this point, she still has to wait — sometimes for hours — for guards to bring her client down from his cell.

The phrase "papal encyclical" isn't one you'll commonly find in headlines in the secular world. But that's exactly where news of Pope Francis' 192-page letter on climate change landed in June.

The pope wrote that humans are responsible for climate change, urging all people to do a better job of caring for the environment — and his words resonated far beyond the church.

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The numbers on Wall Street today spelled panic, but if you could get a glimpse at the financial district in Manhattan today, you wouldn't know there was a historic thousand-point drop of the Dow this morning. NPR's Joel Rose takes us there.

From the outside, the AeroFarms headquarters looks like any other rundown building in downtown Newark, N.J. It used to be a store, and more recently a nightclub. Now it's a test farm.

"My favorite is the mustard green that's called a Ruby Streak, which is this leaf right here," says AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg, sampling some of the company's greens. "And my second favorite is cress, watercress, which is this guy right here."

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Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman is one of the most anticipated books of the year.

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One ton of ivory - that's how much federal officials crushed today in New York's Times Square. The goal is to raise awareness about the illegal ivory trade and the elephant poaching that feeds it. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

Say the name "Les Paul" to anybody born after 1960, and they'll probably think you're talking about an electric guitar. But the musician and inventor, who was born 100 years ago Tuesday, was also an accomplished jazz guitarist. Paul was never happier than when playing for a live audience.

The Triple Crown is one of the most difficult tests in sports: Three horse races over the course of just five weeks, culminating with the Belmont Stakes Saturday in Elmont, N.Y.

American Pharoah is favored to win, which would make him the first horse to capture the Triple Crown in 37 years. But his rivals have a key advantage: They've had extra time to rest, and that's led to some grumbling inside the sport.

Police departments across the country are facing tough questions after a series of high-profile confrontations with civilians in Ferguson, South Carolina and Baltimore.

Now similar tensions are playing out inside some of the biggest police unions. In New York, one high-profile union president faces an electoral challenge for the first time in a decade.

Try to order "pork roll" in most of the country and you'll probably get a blank stare. But in New Jersey, pork roll is a staple at diners, restaurants and food trucks from Cape May to the Meadowlands. And this unsung meat product is now the star of not one, but two competing festivals on Saturday in Trenton.

To the untrained eye, pork roll looks like Canadian bacon. But New Jersey residents know better.

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The Whitney Museum of American Art has never stayed in one place for long. It has had four different homes in its 84-year history — the latest a $422 million glass-and-steel construction that recently opened in Manhattan's Meatpacking District — and each of those homes speaks to a particular moment in the evolution of American art and museum culture.

Police departments across the country are under pressure to rethink their most aggressive tactics — and it's not just flashpoints like Ferguson and Baltimore. The New York Police Department is on the defensive about its long-standing approach known as "broken windows" policing.

Simply put, broken windows is the idea that police should aggressively crack down on low-level offenses to stop bigger crimes from happening. It's been copied all over the country, but now critics in New York say broken windows needs fixing.

State officials released the details of New Jersey's proposed $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil on Monday, giving us a closer look at one of the largest environmental settlements in the state's history.

Environmentalists complain the company is getting off easy after polluting wetlands for many decades. The settlement focuses on two of Exxon's former refineries, Bayonne and Linden, in northern New Jersey.

There's a new bar in New York City devoted to the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage in America. But don't expect a list heavy on craft beer or bourbon.

Wassail is a cider bar.

"You can see the color, very deep," says Ben Sandler, co-owner of the bar and restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He's filling my glass with a delicious amber liquid from E.Z. Orchards in Salem, Ore. "You can see it's kind of cloudy, so it's not filtered. Really dry."

Lawmakers in New Jersey heard testimony today about one of the biggest environmental cases in that state's history.

ExxonMobil recently agreed to pay $225 million in damages for contamination at two oil refineries. Gov. Chris Christie called it a "good deal." But environmentalists complain the state is getting pennies on the dollar compared to the billions it was seeking in court.

The proposed settlement still requires approval by a state judge, and the public will have a chance to comment once the details are released — probably in the next few weeks.

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The Federal Communications Commission voted today to regulate Internet access more like a public utility, the vote split 3-2 along party lines. As NPR's Joel Rose reports, the vote reflects deep divisions over the future of the Internet.

After a decade of debate, the federal government is poised to change how it regulates Internet access, to make it more like telephone service and other public utilities.

James Comey's speech on race and policing last week was a big departure for a sitting FBI director. For one thing, Comey quoted a lyric from the Broadway musical Avenue Q: "Maybe it's a fact we all should face: Everyone makes judgments based on race."

The restaurant economy of New York City may be nearing a tipping point.

State officials are recommending a big hike in the minimum hourly wage for people who work for tips. But that idea is giving many restaurateurs indigestion in New York City, home to more than 20,000 restaurants. Some say a tipped-wage hike could upend the whole system of tipping.

And many servers say tips are the No. 1 reason they started waiting tables.

A dozen states are considering something that was rarely discussed a few years ago: raising gas taxes. Low prices at the pump have emboldened state officials to think about raising new revenue to repair crumbling roads and bridges.

It's a scene that's all too familiar in much of the country — construction workers performing emergency repairs on a bridge. In Franklin Township, N.J., one bridge closed abruptly last month when it was deemed unsafe.

In Tuesday night's State of the Union address, President Obama offered a number of ideas for improving the economy. Among them was a nod to the role the Internet plays in economic development.

"I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks," Obama said.

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The federal agency that oversees many American healthcare workers volunteering in Ebola-stricken regions of West Africa says there's been a significant decline in the number of people who are willing to go. International aid groups attribute that drop to the mandatory quarantine rules implemented by New York and New Jersey last month.

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