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Renee Montagne

Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.

Montagne's most recent assignment was a yearlong collaboration with ProPublica reporter Nina Martin, investigating the alarming rate of maternal mortality in the U.S., as compared to other developed countries. The series, called "Lost Mothers," was recognized with more than a dozen awards in American journalism, including a Peabody Award, a George Polk Award, and Harvard's Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Journalism. The series was also named a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

From 2004 to 2016, Montagne co-hosted NPR's Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the United States. Her first experience as host of an NPR newsmagazine came in 1987, when she, along with Robert Siegel, were named the new hosts of All Things Considered.

After leaving All Things Considered, Montagne traveled to South Africa in early 1990, arriving to report from there on the day Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in prison. In 1994, she and a small team of NPR reporters were awarded an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for their coverage of South Africa's historic elections that led to Mandela becoming that country's first black president.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Montagne has made 10 extended reporting trips to Afghanistan. She has traveled to every major city, from Kabul to Kandahar, to peaceful villages, and to places where conflict raged. She has profiled Afghanistan's presidents and power brokers, but focused on the stories of Afghans at the heart of that complex country: school girls, farmers, mullahs, poll workers, midwives, and warlords. Her coverage has been honored by the Overseas Press Club, and, for stories on Afghan women in particular, by the Gracie Awards.

One of her most cherished honors dates to her days as a freelance reporter in the 1980s, when Montagne and her collaborator, the writer Thulani Davis, were awarded "First Place in Radio" by the National Association of Black Journalists for their series "Fanfare for the Warriors." It told the story of African-American musicians in the military bands from WW1 to Vietnam.

Montagne began her career in radio pretty much by accident, when she joined a band of friends, mostly poets and musicians, who were creating their own shows at a new, scrappy little San Francisco community station called KPOO. Her show was called Women's Voices.

Montagne graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley. Her career includes teaching broadcast writing at New York University's Graduate Department of Journalism (now the Carter Institute).

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In the many months that Iran, the U.S., and five other world powers met to negotiate a nuclear deal, ministers and diplomats were filmed and photographed at the negotiating table, sightseeing, waving from hotel balconies.

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On the shores of California one recent morning, female Marines were heaving heavy chains to secure amphibious assault vehicles that soon would roll into the waves.

The exercise was one part of a yearlong experiment aimed at settling the question of whether women can handle the punishing world of ground combat.

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Herat is one of the most graceful cities in Afghanistan. Its traditions go back to the Persian empire, with its exquisite blue and green glass, and its thriving poetry scene.

Now Herat is struggling with a darker side: drug addiction at a higher rate than almost anywhere else in the country.

In a dusty ravine on the outskirts of the city, Ahmad, a scruffy 20-year-old, is striking a match to inhale heroin.

It's a simple act he repeats throughout his day — heating a dark slab of heroin paste smeared on a bit of foil so he can smoke it.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

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Let's talk more about changes to the National Security Agency that President Obama is announcing as we speak at the Justice Department. And we're joined in our studio by Tamara Keith and Tom Gjelten. And let's just begin.

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On a Friday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

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Roy Choi ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles, making street fare edgier, tastier. Five years ago, he and a partner launched Kogi — Korean for meat — with a small fleet of trucks offering up a Korean-Mexican fusion that inspired food entrepreneurs in cities across America where the trend caught fire. His signature creation? The short rib taco: warm tortillas, Korean barbecue beef, cilantro-onion-and lime, topped with a spicy-soy slaw.

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And with some perspective on why the two sides are so dug in, and what options Speaker Boehner and President Obama may be weighing, we turn as we do most Mondays to Cokie Roberts. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi. How are you, Renee?

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On a Wednesday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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