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.

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World
3:44 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Nostalgic Cars: Sour Automotive Fruit Of Cuban Embargo Gets New Life

Daily traffic in Havana resembles a vintage car rally, even if it does share the city streets these days Hyundais and Peugeots and rattletrap Russian Ladas.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:30 pm

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.

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Parallels
2:02 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

A Fraying Promise: Exploring Race And Inequality In Havana

A view of one of the oldest parts of Havana. The buildings in the city tell a story of inequality.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 3:39 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

In Havana, A Journey Into The Forbidden With A Provocative Artist

Cuban artist Tania Bruguera poses for a photograph near the statue of JosΓ© MartΓ­ in Havana's Revolution Plaza. She was arrested in December for planning a political performance there.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 6:00 pm

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.

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Parallels
12:50 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

With Improved Relations, Are The U.S. And Cuba Ready To Play Ball?

Yoan Francisco, a rookie for the Havana Industriales, warms up before a game at Havana's Latin American Stadium. Cuban baseball has been facing hard times, but improved diplomatic relations with the U.S. have raised the possibility of increased cooperation and new opportunities.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 3:57 pm

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.

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Parallels
10:07 am
Mon March 23, 2015

An Object Of Desire: Hope And Yearning For The Internet In Cuba

The Havana studio of prominent artist Kcho is ringed by Cubans with their heads buried in screens. Users say the only other free Internet connection in Havana is at the U.S. Interests Section.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 4:05 pm

After the sun sets on Havana on weekends, G Street turns into a kind of runway.

Blocks of the promenade β€” which is very colonial with its big, beautiful statues and impeccable topiaries β€” 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.

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Parallels
4:11 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

For One Parliamentarian, A Stronger Jordan Is Key To Fighting ISIS

Jordan's election laws make it impossible for any one political party to build a strong bloc in Parliament. Observers say that's one reason for the country's weakness β€” and for the growing appeal of the messages used by militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Khalil Mazraawi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm

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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Parallels
2:33 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Jordan's Fuzzy Definition Of Free Speech

Lina Ejeilat helped found the Jordanian online magazine 7iber (pronounced 'Hebber'). While the government encourages free expression in principle, many strict regulations remain, as noted by the satirical chart next to her.
Art Silverman NPR

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 6:46 pm

Earlier this month, Jordan's Information Minister Mohammad Al-Momani told a conference that freedom of expression can contribute to stopping radicalization.

On the very same day, a military court in the capital Amman sentenced a man to 18 months in prison for a Facebook post that was seen as insulting a friendly country, the United Arab Emirates.

Momani spent years studying at Rice University in Houston, so he knows what Americans think of as free expression. But he sees it a little differently.

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Parallels
2:27 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Jordan's King Balances Threats Abroad And Critics At Home

Jordanians marched in the streets of the capital Amman on Feb. 6 to show solidarity with the family of a pilot killed by the Islamic State in Syria. Jordanians also expressed support for the king's decision to take part in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.
Muhammad Hamed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 6:27 am

Jordan's King Abdullah has faced a delicate balancing act ever since he ascended the throne in 1999 following his father's death. His country shares borders with Iraq, Syria and Israel among others, and there always seems to be trouble in the neighborhood.

His latest challenge has been to convince Jordanians that it's in the country's interest to play a prominent role in the U.S.-led coalition against the self-declared Islamic State.

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Parallels
3:53 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Jordan's Army Preps For A Bigger Role Against ISIS

Jordanian soldiers stand guard at the Iraq-Jordan border last year. Jordan also shares a border with Syria and has had to deal with a flood of refugees from both its neighbors over the past decade.
Jamal Nasrallah EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 2:55 pm

Jordan's King Abdullah was way out ahead of the people in his support of the war against the self-declared Islamic State, or ISIS. Many Jordanians used to say it was someone else's war even though it's only a 90-minute drive from the capital, Amman, north to the Syrian border.

But Jordanian opinions changed dramatically after the horrific video in which ISIS immolated a Jordanian pilot, Moaz Kassasbeh, who was captured back in December.

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History
2:38 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Cold Casing: The Mystery Of The Long-Lost Winchester Rifle

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 5:32 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's a lost and found story. What we assume was lost more than a hundred years ago was a rifle. Archaeologist Eva Jensen found it during a survey in Nevada's Great Basin National Park. She was looking for Native American artifacts.

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Environment
3:06 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Calderon: End Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Create Carbon Tax

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 11:38 am

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon leads a group to encourage heads of state to propel climate change. He discusses the obstacles that block aggressive efforts to curb climate change.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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National Security
7:25 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Court Documents Show How NSA Leaned On Yahoo, How Yahoo Fought Back

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 7:00 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Politics
2:57 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

A New Brand Of Paul Gains Support In Iowa

Sen. Rand Paul meets with local Republicans in Hiawatha, Iowa. He's made three trips to the state this year.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 11:43 am

It's still more than 15 months until the Iowa caucuses, and no one in the crowded field of Republicans with presidential ambitions has announced. But things are already happening in Iowa, especially for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Paul has reached out to Iowans who never considered voting for his father, Ron Paul, who made a respectable third-place showing there in 2012.

He's still popular with his father's old supporters. Many of them are in the so-called liberty faction of the Iowa GOP.

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Politics
2:33 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

President Obama To Outline Strategy For Confronting ISIS

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 4:29 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
2:45 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Long-Term Cease-Fire Brings Halt To Fighting In Gaza

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 6:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Law
6:02 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Grand Jury Indicts Texas Gov. Rick Perry On Charges Of Abusing Power

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 6:12 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Research News
3:20 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

In 'Um' Or 'Uh,' A Few Clues To What We're Saying β€” And Who's Saying It

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 9:11 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

When we're searching for the right word to say, or we don't know what to say or how to say something, this happens.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Um - uh...

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Iraq
2:09 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

U.S. Response In Iraq: From Emergency Solution To Slate Of Paths Forward

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 7:45 pm

The U.S. has begun airlifting humanitarian aid and conducting limited airstrikes in the attempt to protect Iraq's refugee populations of religious minorities. NPR's Tom Bowman talks with Robert Siegel about the possible policy options for the U.S. in Iraq.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Remembrances
6:51 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, A Stand-up Act β€” On Stage, On Set And In Life

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 7:18 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Remembrances
6:51 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, Comedic Master And Oscar Winner, Dies At 63

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 8:07 pm

Robin Williams has died at the age of 63. Williams is remembered for his roles in TV and film β€” including a radio DJ in Good Morning Vietnam, an inspiring teacher in Dead Poet's Society and his Oscar-winning turn as a therapist in Good Will Hunting. Entertainment reporter Steve Zeitchik discusses Williams' legacy.

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From Our Listeners
2:23 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Confusion With A Chance Of Clarity: Your Weather Questions, Answered

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Many listeners and readers felt a concise explanation of "a 20 percent chance of rain" was missing from this story about weather forecasts and probability, so we followed up with two meteorologists.

From meterologist Eli Jacks, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service:

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Shots - Health News
3:05 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

What The Odds Fail To Capture When A Health Crisis Hits

Brian Zikmund-Fisher with his wife, Naomi, and daughter, Eve, in 1999, after he had a bone marrow transplant. He says he made the decision to have the treatment based on factors he couldn't quantify.
Courtesy of Brian Zikmund-Fisher

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 12:44 pm

How well do we understand and act on probabilities that something will happen? A 30 percent chance of this or an 80 percent chance of that?

As it turns out, making decisions based on the odds can be an extremely difficult thing to do, even for people who study the science of how we make decisions.

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News
2:23 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Tenuous Progress At Jet's Crash Site, As Clashes Flare Close By

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:35 pm

The first Dutch investigators have reached the crash site of the Malaysian airliner shot down in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, fighting broke out in the outskirts of Donetsk between separatists and armed groups supporting the government in Kiev.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

News
3:47 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Wrap-up: The Day's Events In Eastern Ukraine And Gaza

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 5:54 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to recap the major stories of the day. The United States is pinning the blame for the crash of a passenger jet in Ukraine on pro-Russian separatists. President Obama said today that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by the separatists. Mr. Obama called for a cease-fire to allow for a full investigation.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Middle East
2:53 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Israel Launches A Ground Campaign Against Hamas In Gaza

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 6:40 pm

According to a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Defense Force has been instructed to begin a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. The move comes 10 days after violence renewed between Hamas and Israel.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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News
2:53 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Malaysian Airliner Crashes In Eastern Ukraine

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 6:40 pm

A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying nearly 300 people has crashed in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. In the immediate aftermath, it is not clear whether the plane was shot down, but Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is calling for a swift investigation.

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

Transcript

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Medical Treatments
2:18 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

HIV Returns In Infected Toddler, Dashing Hopes Of Imminent Cure

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:04 pm

Federal officials have announced that a young Mississippi girl, once thought to have been cured of HIV, now once again has detectable levels of the virus. This is a setback not just for the child, but also for hope of eradicating HIV in infants with a potent mix of drugs at birth.

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News
6:29 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Obama Turns To Gov. Perry In Seeking A Solution To Border Crisis

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:40 pm

After a meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President Obama addressed the influx of migrant children on the U.S.-Mexico border. He signaled his openness to Perry's solutions, saying he'd consider deploying the National Guard, but also called on Congress to offer solutions of its own.

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Sports
3:03 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Argentina Steps Past The Dutch In Penalty Kicks

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Brazil and the World Cup now and the final match up is set. Argentina will face Germany for the title on Sunday, having defeated the Netherlands today on penalty kicks 4-2. The Germans absolutely dismantled Brazil yesterday, and the reverberations of that game are still rattling around Brazil and the world. NPR's Tom Goldman is no doubt feeling them where he is in Rio de Janeiro. And, Tom, let's start with today's game. No goals after 120 minutes so penalty kicks, and Argentina came out on top. Describe the action for us.

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Sports
3:14 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

In One-Sided Semifinal, Germany Hands Brazil A Devastating Loss

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:46 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The images out of Brazil right now are of fans in tears, faces with looks of disbelief, hands covering mouths in shock. In the first of two semifinal World Cup matches, the home team is losing and it's losing big. Germany is leading 5-0. Let's go to NPR's Tom Goldman in Rio de Janeiro. Tom, what's the scene where you are in Rio?

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