Russell Lewis

Russell Lewis is the Southern Bureau Chief for NPR News, a post he has held since 2006. Lewis focuses on the issues and news central to the Southeast — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. In addition to developing and expanding NPR's coverage of the region, Lewis assigns and edits stories from station-based reporters and freelancers alike, working closely with local correspondents and public radio stations. He also spent a year in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, coordinating NPR's coverage of the rebuilding effort. He's currently based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Lewis began his public radio career in 1992 at NPR member station WUFT in Gainesville, Florida, where he was an executive news producer. He spent time at WSVH in Savannah, Georgia. Lewis also worked for Kansas Public Radio and reported on the state legislature. He spent six years on the West Coast, working at one of public radio's flagship stations: KPBS in San Diego where he was senior editor and a reporter. He most recently was assistant news director and talk-show host at WGCU in Fort Myers, Florida. He was a frequent contributor to NPR, specializing in military and business issues.

In his spare time, Lewis loves to cook, read, and ride his bicycle.

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10:56am

Tue December 2, 2014
Sports

Proposal Would End Football At University Of Alabama-Birmingham

Alabama is a state known for its college football. But a move to scuttle the football program at the state university in Birmingham is drawing fire from fans, students and athletes alike.

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7:59am

Tue July 8, 2014
The Two-Way

The One American On The Field At Today's World Cup Semifinal

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:35 am

Referee Mark Geiger will be the U.S. presence at the World Cup semifinal on Tuesday.
Clive Rose Getty Images

The United States will have a presence at today's semifinal World Cup match between Brazil and Germany. It won't be the U.S. National Team on the field, but American referee Mark Geiger. FIFA selected Geiger to be on the officiating crew of the high-stakes match. It's the first time a U.S. referee has been used this late in a World Cup.

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1:08pm

Sat July 5, 2014
The Salt

Want To Eat Brazilian Food At The World Cup? Please Step Outside

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 10:53 am

Acaraje are a regional food in Brazil made from fried balls of mashed-up beans, onions and salt. The balls are sliced in half, slathered with a spicy pepper sauce and cashew paste, and then topped with shrimp.
Russell Lewis NPR

The stadiums of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are all different, constructed to reflect the region. Natal's arena has a wavy beach-dune style, while the stadium in Manaus looks like a woven basket.

Inside those stadiums, however, you'd never know you're in Brazil. Budweiser is an official beer seller, and Coke has the soda market cornered. Other menu items include hot dogs, cheeseburgers and turkey sandwiches. It's almost impossible to find any Brazilian fare on the menu.

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4:15pm

Wed June 25, 2014
Latin America

A World Cup Surprise: Arias In The Heart Of The Amazon

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 9:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Of all the Brazilian cities staging games at the World Cup, none is more exotic than Manaus. It's nestled in the heart of the Amazon jungle. You can only get there by plane or boat - an unlikely place to host soccer games. And there's something else in Manaus that's unexpected - a centuries-old theater and opera house. NPR's Russell Lewis took a break from soccer and paid a visit.

RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: The first thing you notice about the Teatro Amazonas is how lovely it is. Then the beauty melts away and it's what you hear.

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7:27am

Sun June 22, 2014
The Two-Way

U.S. Vs. Portugal: 'Now Is The Moment' To Show American Mettle

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 10:17 am

United States' goalkeeper Tim Howard works out during a training session. "We're going to do our best to bottle him up," Howard said of Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Julio Cortez AP

The World Cup round of 16 in Brazil is taking shape.

Already in: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Netherlands. The big question: Will the United States join that distinguished list today?

The U.S. soccer team has a tough matchup against Portugal. Win, and the Americans are in. Lose or tie, and the road gets a lot tougher with next Thursday's game against Germany.

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4:32pm

Wed June 18, 2014
Sports

In Brazil, Predictions Of Doom And Gloom Give Way To Minor Annoyances

Brazil's World Cup preparation endured some heavy criticism leading up to the games. Stadiums were still under construction, Internet connections were sketchy and transportation faced major challenges. A week into the tournament, NPR's Russell Lewis has traveled to three airports and three cities so far. He talks to Melissa Block about what has worked and what remains a challenge.

8:12pm

Mon June 16, 2014
Sports

With Win Over Ghana, U.S. Is Off On The Right Foot In Brazil

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 11:09 pm

On Monday night, the U.S. soccer team accomplished a feat it failed to achieve in the past two World Cups: beat Ghana. With a 2-1 victory, the Americans position themselves well for the games to come.

12:08pm

Mon June 16, 2014
The Two-Way

U.S. To Face Ghana As 'Group Of Death' Play Begins

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 1:47 pm

In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, members of the U.S. soccer team warm up during a training session the day before their Group G World Cup match with Ghana in Natal, Brazil.
Julio Cortez AP

It's day five of the World Cup in Brazil. But it's the most important day for the U.S. men's soccer team — it's game day.

Tonight at 6 p.m. ET, the U.S. opens World Cup play squaring off against Ghana in the seaside city of Natal. The tiny African country is not particularly a soccer powerhouse. But Ghana has vexed the U.S. — eliminating the team from the past two World Cups.

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5:45pm

Thu October 10, 2013
Remembrances

Scott Carpenter, Second US Astronaut To Orbit Earth, Dies

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

One of America's first astronauts has died. Scott Carpenter was part of the original Project Mercury team and he was the second American to orbit the Earth. Carpenter died this morning in Denver after complications from a stroke. He was 88 years old. As NPR's Russell Lewis reports, Scott Carpenter made it into space just that one time back in 1962, but he continued his pioneering ways.

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3:27am

Wed June 12, 2013
Sports

Minor Leaguer Takes Mature Strides To Become Better

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:53 am

Tyler Saladino plays for the Birmingham Barons, the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.
Russell Lewis NPR

Tyler Saladino is one of thousands of minor league baseball players hoping to make it to the major leagues. He plays in Alabama for the Birmingham Barons, the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Last year, NPR profiled Saladino. But since then, maybe things have changed for the 23-year-old infielder.

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5:39am

Sun March 31, 2013
History

Old Newspapers Shed New Light On Emmett Till Murder

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 6:21 pm

Officers stand by in 1955 as religious leaders from Chicago demonstrate outside the White House in Washington over the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till.
AP

New details about one of Mississippi's most infamous murders are coming to light — more than a half-century later. The death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who allegedly whistled at a white woman, helped spark the civil rights movement.

Till lived in Chicago, and was visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta when he was murdered. His body was mutilated and dumped into a river. The accused were the woman's husband and her half-brother, and their trial drew reporters from both the white and black press.

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6:05am

Sat March 2, 2013
Sports

In Alaska's Iditarod Sled Race, Vets Are A Dog's Best Friend

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 12:15 am

Mushers can bring up to 20 dogs to the Iditarod but can start the race with only 16. In the days before the competition, the animals are taken to the Iditarod headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska, for pre-race exams.
Russell Lewis NPR

In Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, the "Last Great Race on Earth" begins.

Sixty-seven sled dog teams will start the 998-mile Iditarod race across the barren, frigid and unforgiving land. In this year's competition, there are a handful of first-time racers — but those aren't the only rookies.

One is veterinarian Greg Reppas, whose job is to ensure the dogs are healthy throughout the race.

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8:11am

Sun December 16, 2012
Remembrances

A Father Humbled By The Too-Short Life Of His Daughter

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:07 pm

Emilie Parker, 6, was killed Dec. 14 in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Courtesy of the family

Her name was Emilie Parker. Six years old. Long, flowing blond hair, piercing blue eyes and a sweet smile. Emilie was one of the 20 children killed on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we learn the names of the victims, we're also learning their stories.

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6:19am

Sat May 12, 2012
Around the Nation

Wearing Helmets In Tornadoes Gains Momentum

Originally published on Sat May 12, 2012 1:18 pm

Tornado survivor Jonathan Ford saves what he can from his home April 29, 2011, after it was destroyed by a powerful tornado in Pleasant Grove, Ala.
John Bazemore AP

Months after safety advocates embraced wearing helmets during tornadoes — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines on the practice. The CDC says there's not yet enough scientific evidence to fully endorse the idea. But the agency is warming up to people donning helmets when severe weather threatens.

Since a horrific outbreak of tornadoes killed more than 250 people last year in Alabama, safety advocates have been on a crusade.

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2:48am

Fri April 27, 2012
Around the Nation

Can Helmets Cut Tornado Deaths? CDC Isn't So Sure

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 8:04 pm

Noah Stewart shelters in the closet just 15 minutes before an April 2011 tornado demolished his house. Wearing the helmet may have saved his life, one doctor says.
Courtesy of the Stewart family

Tornadoes killed more than 500 people in the U.S. last year — the highest number in decades. Already this year, 63 people have died, and the tornado season doesn't hit its peak until June.

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