Michel Martin

Michel Martin is curious about many things. "I wonder what it's like to leave everything and everyone you know for the promise of a better life, to run for President, to be a professional athlete, to parent children of a different race," she notes. "I am fascinated by people who live lives different from my own. And at the same time, I feel connected to all of these lives being a journalist, a woman of color, a wife and mother."

As weekend host of All Things Considered, Martin draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she is hosting "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.

Martin came to NPR in 2006 and launched Tell Me More, a one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that aired on NPR stations nationwide from 2007-2014 and dipped into thousands of important conversations taking place in the corridors of power, but also in houses of worship, and barber shops and beauty shops, at PTA meetings, town halls, and at the kitchen table.

She has spent more than 25 years as a journalist — first in print with major newspapers and then in television. Tell Me More marked her debut as a full-time public radio show host. "What makes public radio special is that it's got both intimacy and reach all at once. For the cost of a phone call, I can take you around the world. But I'm right there with you in your car, in your living room or kitchen or office, in your iPod. Radio itself is an incredible tool and when you combine that with the global resources of NPR plus the commitment to quality, responsibility and civility, it's an unbeatable combination."

Martin has also served as contributor and substitute host for NPR newsmagazines and talk shows, including Talk of the Nation and News & Notes.

Martin joined NPR from ABC News, where she worked since 1992. She served as correspondent for Nightline from 1996 to 2006, reporting on such subjects as the congressional budget battles, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, racial profiling and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At ABC, she also contributed to numerous programs and specials, including the network's award-winning coverage of September 11, a documentary on the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, a critically acclaimed AIDS special and reports for the ongoing series "America in Black and White." Martin reported for the ABC newsmagazine Day One, winning an Emmy for her coverage of the international campaign to ban the use of landmines, and was a regular panelist on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. She also hosted the 13-episode series Life 360, an innovative program partnership between Oregon Public Broadcasting and Nightline incorporating documentary film, performance and personal narrative; it aired on public television stations across the country.

Before joining ABC, Martin covered state and local politics for the Washington Post and national politics and policy at the Wall Street Journal, where she was White House correspondent. She has also been a regular panelist on the PBS series Washington Week and a contributor to NOW with Bill Moyers.

Martin has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Candace Award for Communications from The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Joan Barone Award for Excellence in Washington-based National Affairs/Public Policy Broadcasting from the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association and a 2002 Silver Gavel Award, given by the American Bar Association. Along with her Emmy award, she received three additional Emmy nominations, including one with WNYC's Robert Krulwich, at the time an ABC contributor as well, for an ABC News program examining children's racial attitudes.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Martin graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1980 and earned a Master of Arts from the Wesley Theological Seminary in 2016.

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Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I was thinking about a friend of mine from back in the day. Or, more accurately, I was thinking about his parents, who were — how should I put this? — special.

Don't get me wrong: They were the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. They were warm and welcoming, they were travelers, they were interesting.

But they had a very, let's say, distinct perspective about a lot of social issues. They really felt that just about any problem you could think of was easily solved with a comfortable pair of walking shoes and an in-ground swimming pool.

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Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We just heard about John's Stauffer's happy surprise, finding these four new photographs of Frederick Douglass after publishing his book. Now here is another one, this time for fans of Prince. Yesterday, he dropped a new album seemingly out of nowhere.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Today I was thinking about something one of the Freedom Riders told me a few years ago, when I had the opportunity — the privilege — to interview a group of them. Remember, these were the courageous men and women, both black and white, who rode the Southern bus routes for seven months in 1961 — facing vicious beatings, fire bombs, arrests and jail — all to draw attention to the fact that public facilities were still segregated despite the passage of laws saying it should be otherwise.

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MICHEL MARTIN: One of the casualties of the drought that may not come to mind immediately - the California soundscape. Bernie Krause is one person who appreciates these sounds. He's a soundscape ecologist.

Today I was thinking about a friend of mine — a teacher, a neighbor — who passed away earlier this week. Out of respect for her family's privacy, I won't call her by her name. But believe me when I say she will be missed — by her family, of course, but also by me and other neighbors, by my children and the many, many other children (and adults) she taught over the years. There was so much to cherish: her generous spirit, her quiet, consistent encouragement, her appreciation of all the different personalities that came into her life.

On November 1, many Christians observe All Saints' Day. It's a time to honor martyrs and saints, especially those without specific feast days set aside for them; some churches mark this day by remembering their own local congregants and loved ones who have died over the course of the past year.

Have we finally turned a corner?

Has it finally happened that when a man says he is making job decisions around his family we can finally believe him, as opposed to wondering when the email exchanges with his outside honey are going to come out?

This past week, two of this country's most powerful men — who work in a city where power is everything and work is king — both made career decisions with personal and family needs at the center.

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I was thinking about the word "comfortable" today.

Comfortable — or just as likely, its good friend uncomfortable — has become the preferred way for many people to talk about something they don't like. Instead of saying, "I don't like something," "I don't want to do something" or even, heaven forbid, "I don't like you," they say, "I am not comfortable with that."

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with professors Phillip Atiba Goff of UCLA and Harry Holzer of Georgetown University about how fears of African-American men are manifested in the criminal justice system and the labor market, and what that means for the broader African-American community.

A very smart person I know, a long time civil rights activist, told me once that "gratitude is overrated."

Now, I know that sounds harsh, but what I think she meant was that some people, especially, in her view, women, are too often too quick to settle for less than they deserve. She was talking about people who are so conditioned to have nothing, that they are just too happy when they get even a little.

For generations, education has been key to the American dream of advancement and opportunity. Today, NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin (@TellMeMoreNPR) is broadcasting from member station WLRN and hosting a Twitter education forum on where the nation's schools now stand.