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.

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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5:28am

Wed March 13, 2013
Business

More Airports Renovating, Adding New Terminals

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 5:36 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's come back to the United States for this next story, because over the past few years, more than a dozen American airports - big and small - have renovated or added new terminals. The latest in Birmingham, Alabama opens today.

NPR's Russell Lewis reports on why so many airports are sprucing up.

RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: With just hours before the new $200 million terminal was to open, it was a mad dash...

(SOUNDBITE OF DRILLING)

LEWIS: ...as workers drilled signs above the restaurants,

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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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4:53pm

Tue January 8, 2013
Sports

Tuscaloosa Talks Of Its Football 'Dynasty' After Latest Championship

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. The University of Alabama won another football championship last night, dominating Notre Dame 42-14. It's the third title in four years for Alabama, a university with a history of football superiority. In Tuscaloosa, the victory wowed the hometown crowd, as NPR's Russell Lewis reports.

RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: At Tuscaloosa's airport this afternoon, hundreds of fans gathered to welcome the team home.

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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

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

4:58pm

Tue March 13, 2012
Science

Tornado Tech: What If Dorothy Had A Smartphone?

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 1:44 pm

This May 3, 1999, funnel became the F-5 storm that damaged thousands of buildings in central Okahoma. University of Oklahoma storm chasers and observers are anticipating the annual tornado season as it approaches the central part of the country.
J. Pat Carter AP

For many, the only way they learn a tornado is approaching are sirens. In the spring and summer, tornado sirens go off a lot more when twisters roar across Alabama, which has been hit by 900 since 2000, accounting for a quarter of all U.S. tornado deaths.

"I am still surprised that so many people rely on just one source of getting warned, and that has to change," said Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge of the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service.

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