As Director of Vertical Initiatives (and Mischief) at NPR, Matt Thompson works with teams across the company to guide the development of topic-focused verticals covering race, ethnicity and culture; education; and global health and development.

Outside his work at NPR, Thompson teaches media and technology management as an adjunct professor at American University. He serves as the vice-chairman of the board of the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative journalism nonprofit. He's also the co-founder of an organization called Spark Camp, which convenes diverse groups of leaders from a variety of industries.

4:02pm

Tue April 9, 2013
The Two-Way

Spring Storm Brings Snow To Colo., High Winds To Wyo., Dust Storm In Ariz.

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 4:31 pm

A woman crosses the street as steam rises from a manhole cover in Denver's financial district on Tuesday.
Ed Andrieski AP

We almost feel guilty writing this post, because here in Washington, we're finally seeing some spring (the cherry blossoms have reached full bloom!): But in the Plains, a spring storm is bringing snow to Colorado and Wyoming and whipped up enough winds to cover parts of Arizona in dust.

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4:01pm

Tue April 9, 2013
Music Reviews

Brad Paisley Ventures Out Of Country's 'Wheelhouse'

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:34 pm

Brad Paisley's new album is titled Wheelhouse.
Courtesy of the artist

3:49pm

Tue April 9, 2013
Shots - Health News

How A Spring Birthday Could Pose A Risk For Multiple Sclerosis

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 10:42 am

Spring has brought the stork and a baby who just might have a higher risk for multiple sclerosis later in life.
Anna Bryukhanova iStockphoto.com

There's lots of science trying to connect a baby's birth date to health later in life. It's usually about serious diseases that have no clear cause, like schizoprenia, autism and multiple sclerosis.

And it's almost all junk science, the medical equivalent of astrology. That's because though studies have shown a correlation between season of birth and disease for MS and other disorders, they've never been able to show how seasonal differences in people's bodies or the environment could cause disease.

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3:46pm

Tue April 9, 2013
The Two-Way

Pacific Commander: U.S. Can Intercept North Korean Missiles

The launch of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket in December in a photo released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
AFP/Getty Images

The commander of the U.S. Pacific Command said Tuesday that American forces currently have the ability to intercept a North Korean ballistic missile.

Adm. Samuel Locklear, speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., if the U.S. had the ability to intercept a North Korean missile launched "within the next several days."

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3:42pm

Tue April 9, 2013
Code Switch

Brad Paisley's 'Accidental Racist' Sparks At Least One Dialogue

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 8:18 am

LL Cool J (left) and Brad Paisley backstage during the 48th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards Sunday in Las Vegas.
Jerod Harris/ACMA2013 Getty Images for ACM

"It can't be a coincidence that 'Accidental Racist' came out the same day Code Switch launched," @Melanism tweeted at us on Monday.

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3:22pm

Tue April 9, 2013
Middle East

'It's Not Normal': Syrian War Transforms Lives

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 8:59 pm

Razan Shalab Al-Sham, in bright blue, works for the Syrian Emergency Task Force. She helped provide uniforms for the new civil police force of Khirbet al-Joz in northern Syria.
Deborah Amos NPR

In November, Razan Shalab Al-Sham, the daughter of a wealthy Syrian family, led the way to the Syrian farming village of Khirbet al-Joz to deliver an unusual kind of aid: police uniforms. A cold winter rain turned the frontier forest between southern Turkey and Syria into a muddy march up a mountain ridge along a smugglers' trail. She climbed the mountain to make the delivery herself.

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3:09pm

Tue April 9, 2013
It's All Politics

Blacks' Election-Day Waits Nearly Double Those Of Whites, But Why?

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 3:11 pm

People stood in line to vote on Election Day 2012 at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center in Apex, N.C.
Gerry Broome AP

On Election Day 2012, black voters waited on average nearly twice as long to vote as did white voters, while the wait time for Hispanic voters fell in between those two groups.

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2:56pm

Tue April 9, 2013
It's All Politics

Immigration Overhaul 'Feels Unstoppable Now,' Backers Say

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 4:22 pm

Protesters march last week in Miami, in support of immigration overhaul legislation. The marchers were calling for a new immigration system with a path to citizenship for 11 million people currently in the country illegally.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Thousands of supporters will descend on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to call for legislation that creates a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.

Sound familiar?

But this time, unlike in 2007 and 2010 when immigration legislation died in Congress after similar demonstrations, proponents of an overhaul say politics has swung inexorably toward their side.

"I've been working on this issue for more than a decade, and it feels unstoppable now," says Ana Avendano, director of immigration and community action at the AFL-CIO.

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2:44pm

Tue April 9, 2013
The Two-Way

Giant-Killing Louisville Women Look To Keep Charmed Run Alive

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:34 pm

Head coach Jeff Walz of the Louisville Cardinals talks to his team during a timeout in the game against the Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
G. Flume Getty Images

Tonight, there's a chance for a rare double in NCAA Division I college basketball.

As we reported earlier, if the University of Louisville scores a victory in the women's championship game, it will be only the second school to capture both the men's and women's titles in the same year.

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