Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

As the NPR Ethics Handbook states, the Standards & Practices editor is "charged with cultivating an ethical culture throughout our news operation. This means he or she coordinates regular training and discussion on how we apply our principles and monitors our decision-making practices to ensure we're living up to our standards."

Before becoming Standards & Practices editor, Memmott was one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog, which he helped to launch when he came to NPR in 2009. It focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Prior to joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He reported from places across the United States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

What will likely be a day-long drip of leaks about tonight's State of the Union address begins with this:

"President Barack Obama will announce in his State of the Union address that 34,000 U.S. troops will be home from Afghanistan within a year, two people familiar with his remarks said Tuesday." (From The Associated Press)

The wire service adds: "That's about half the U.S. forces currently serving there, and marks the next phase in the administration's plans to formally finish the war by the end of 2014."

On this morning after the surprise announcement that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning at the end of the month, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli looks at the numbers and concludes it's more than likely the next pope will be a European, just like nearly all the others.


As Sylvia told Morning Edition guest host Linda Wertheimer:

-- 117 cardinals are eligible to vote at the upcoming conclave (only those under the age of 80 can take part).

Not only might North Korea's third underground explosion of an atomic device be a sign that it is closer to having a weapon that's light enough to be put on a missile, it seems to be a not-so-subtle message aimed at the U.S.

Most Two-Way readers who answered our question weren't big fans of calling this past weekend's blizzard by the name "Nemo."

So, many may be relieved to know that Nemo is not among the 12 choices on the SETI Institute's list of nominated names for Pluto's two smallest moons.

The list:

  • Acheron
  • Alecto
  • Cerberus
  • Erebus

Commissary privileges, family center programs, dependent I.D. cards, joint duty assignments and space-available travel on military aircraft are among the military benefits the Pentagon will now extend to same-sex partners, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday.

A story of heroism and bravery will be told at the White House Monday afternoon when President Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha of Minot, N.D.

Update at 12:10 p.m. ET. Gunman Opened Fire In Lobby:

Many questions remain unanswered, but we're starting to get a clearer picture of what happened Monday around 8 a.m ET at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del., when a gunman opened fire.

According to WDDE, Delaware's NPR News station:

An explosion Monday rocked a border crossing between Turkey and Syria. NPR's Deborah Amos reports she was at the scene with many other people, when a car blew up.

It was "a huge explosion," she tells our Newscast desk. "People panicked. You can see from where I am ... billowing clouds of smoke over the Turkish border point. It was inside Turkey. We'd already come out of Syria and we were in Turkey when the explosion went off." It all happened near the Turkish town of Reyhanli.

Pope Benedict XVI's "declaration" announcing his resignation, as translated by the Vatican:

"Dear Brothers,

Good morning.

Today's top story broke just as our day began:

-- Pope Benedict XVI Is Resigning.

Other stories making headlines include:

-- Manhunt For Ex-L.A. Cop Continues; "Dorner's LAPD Firing Case Hinged On Credibility." (Los Angeles Times)

(Most recent update: 2:50 p.m ET.)

For the first time in nearly 600 years, a pope is resigning from his post as leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday morning that he is stepping down effective Feb. 28.

The snow is going to pile up in parts of the Northeast and New England this weekend.

Which means millions of people are going to be:

-- Cooped up with their loved ones for a day or two.

-- And/or having fun in the snow.

Here's what we'd like:

Tell us how things go in your home or what amazing things you see or do during what's expected to be quite a storm.

"Police and mourners clashed at the mass funeral on Friday of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid, whose assassination has plunged Tunisia deeper into political crisis," Reuters writes.

According to the wire service, "braving chilly rain, at least 50,000 people turned out to honor Belaid in his home district of Jebel al-Jaloud in the capital, chanting anti-Islamist and anti-government slogans."

The blizzard that's barreling toward the Northeast and New England has been dubbed Nemo by the folks at The Weather Channel, who as we've reported before are taking it upon themselves to name winter storms.

A Smoking Gun report about the hacking of several email accounts belonging to members of presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush's family and some family friends has prompted a criminal investigation.

The Houston Chronicle says that Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath confirmed an investigation is under way, but declined further comment.

(We'll be updating this post; most recently at 6:30 p.m. ET.)

Add up the populations in areas that the National Weather Service is warning will get at least 1 to 2 feet of snow starting Friday afternoon and you quickly see just how serious the situation will be.

About 50 million people are in the potentially historic storm's path.

(We'll be updating this post throughout the day; most recently at 12:30 p.m. ET.)

Police in Southern California were still searching Friday for former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, who they say is the lone suspect in a series of shootings over the past week that have left three people — including a cop — dead. It's feared he is intent on killing more police officers in revenge for his firing from the L.A. police force four years ago.

Rowan Atkinson, the British comedian who's probably best known to Americans as Mr. Bean, is in the record books for something that's not all that funny.

According to reports from The Scotsman and other news outlets in the U.K., Atkinson's insurers paid 910,000 British pounds (about $1.4 million) to repair the McLaren F1 supercar that he wrecked in 2011. That's a U.K. record, newspapers say.

The makeup artist who gave Star Wars' Yoda and Chewbacca their out-of-this-world looks, and helped bring to life other memorable characters such as the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died.

Stuart Freeborn was 98. According to The Associated Press, his granddaughter Michelle Freeborn "said he died Tuesday in London from a combination of ailments due to his age."

Speaking at his fifth National Prayer Breakfast since taking office, President Obama said Thursday morning that the annual gatherings are always "wonderful." But he worries, Obama told the lawmakers and clergy gathered in Washington, D.C., that "as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we've been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast is forgotten ... on the same day as the prayer breakfast."

"It's like we didn't pray," he added.

A former Los Angeles police officer is the focus of a "massive manhunt" under way in that city because he's a suspect in a double murder last weekend and the shooting of three police officers early Thursday.

One of those officers has died.

There were 366,000 first-time clams for unemployment insurance last week, down just 5,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

Of note: that number from the previous week — 371,000 — is an upward revision. A week ago, the agency estimated there had been 368,000 claims over that period.

In northeastern Minnesota, moose are dying at an alarming rate and state officials are having difficulty determining why.

And though hunters are not part of the problem, the state announced Wednesday that there will be no moose hunting season this coming fall.

4:30 p.m. ET — Latest from the National Weather Service:

"A major winter storm is expected to impact the Northeast and New England Friday into Saturday. As much as one to two feet of snow is forecast from the New York City metro area to Maine, with localized heavier amounts possible. This, in addition to wind gusts as high as 60-75 mph will create significant impacts to transportation and power. Coastal flooding is also possible from Boston northward."

What could go wrong?

"Researchers at the University of Tokyo have strapped a moth into a robotic exoskeleton, with the moth successfully controlling the robot to reach a specific location inside a wind tunnel," writes ExtremeTech.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Pete Leary is proud to announce that Wisdom the Laysan albatross, who at age 62 (or so) is the "oldest known wild bird" in the world, has hatched another chick.

Wisdom's latest offspring "was observed pecking its way into the world" on Sunday at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the North Pacific Ocean, the agency says.

Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. It's Official:

Praising Sally Jewell as an executive who turned outdoors equipment retailer REI into one of the nation's most successful and environmentally conscious companies, President Obama just said he is nominating her to be his next interior secretary.

Noting that Jewell, who in a previous job worked as an engineer for Mobil, has also climbed mountains in Antarctica, the president joked about that being "just not something I think of doing."

Our original post:

Scottie the dog is not going to like this news:

Monopoly fans have voted to add a cat to the classic game's cast of eight playing pieces. Getting the boot: Well, it wasn't the boot. It's the iron that got flattened.

The results of Hasbro's Facebook vote were revealed on NBC-TV's Today Show.