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Vanessa Romo

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.

Before her stint on the News Desk, Romo spent the early months of the Trump Administration on the Washington Desk covering stories about culture and politics – the voting habits of the post-millennial generation, the rise of Maxine Waters as a septuagenarian pop culture icon and DACA quinceañeras as Trump protests.

In 2016, she was at the core of the team that launched and produced The New York Times' first political podcast, The Run-Up with Michael Barbaro. Prior to that, Romo was a Spencer Education Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism where she began working on a radio documentary about a pilot program in Los Angeles teaching black and Latino students to code switch.

Romo has also traveled extensively through the Member station world in California and Washington. As the education reporter at Southern California Public Radio, she covered the region's K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and won the Education Writers Association first place award as well as a Regional Edward R. Murrow for Hard News Reporting.

Before that, she covered business and labor for Member station KNKX, keeping an eye on global companies including Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft.

A Los Angeles native, she is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she received a degree in history. She also earned a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. She loves all things camaron-based.

The search for victims in one of the deadliest building collapses in U.S. history has come to an end after four weeks. Firefighter crews have scoured the debris left on the site of the catastrophe without finding evidence of additional casualties.

Miami-Dade Police Detective Lee Cowart confirmed that fire department search crews have vacated the site.

It's been just days since the IRS began sending out child tax credit payments — meaning tens of millions of families have started to receive up to $300 per child — and already the agency is warning American families about scammers trying to steal their money.

Hundreds of Frito-Lay workers in Topeka, Kan., are in their third week of a strike, citing so-called "suicide shifts" and poor working conditions at the manufacturing and distribution plant at a time when the company's net revenue growth has exceeded all of its targets.

Updated July 17, 2021 at 11:46 AM ET

One day after a federal district judge in Texas ruled against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Biden said the Department of Justice intends to appeal the decision.

The gunman who admitted to a shooting attack on the newsroom of Maryland's Capital Gazette three years ago has been found criminally responsible for the massacre of five people.

Jarrod Ramos had maintained he was not responsible because of mental illness, but on Thursday the jury rejected that defense, saying the 41-year-old did understand the criminality of his actions when he attacked the newsroom in June 2018.

American renters are well aware of the dire housing market situation and a new report confirms that it's only likely to worsen unless hourly wages are drastically increased.

Workers simply don't earn enough money to keep up with skyrocketing rental rates across the country, the National Low Income Housing Coalition found in its latest Out of Reach report.

A popular Cuban YouTuber was detained by government security forces on live television Tuesday morning as she was discussing the sweeping arrests of activists, protesters and journalists.

Updated July 2, 2021 at 12:28 AM ET

The Boy Scouts of America has reached an $850 million settlement with more than 60,000 men who sued the iconic institution over alleged sexual abuse by adults in scouting over several decades.

Officials leading a rescue mission at the site of a collapsed 12-story residential building in Surfside, Fla., are asking the federal government to send a search team to relieve the Florida personnel with severe weather expected in the coming days.

Updated June 29, 2021 at 6:46 PM ET

The former top building official who assured residents of the Champlain Towers South condominium that it was in "very good shape," two years before the 12-story building collapsed, is on a leave of absence from his current job.

Rosendo Prieto examined the 40-year recertification inspection of the Surfside, Fla., condo as recently as November 2018.

After more than a decade, the terrorizing reign of the yellow crazy ant is over on the Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

The nonnative invasive insect had been threatening ground-nesting seabirds on the atoll since at least 2010, nearly wiping out the island's red-tailed tropicbird colony in just a few years and wreaking havoc on other seabirds. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that its campaign to eradicate the insects has been a success.

Updated June 23, 2021 at 9:48 AM ET

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced he will support changes to the military justice system that would take sexual assault cases away from the chain of command and let independent military lawyers handle them. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has long pushed for legislation on the issue, praised Austin's move but told NPR on Wednesday that it doesn't go far enough.

Just as hundreds of thousands of Americans return to the skies again this summer, many of the old inconveniences and aggravations of commercial airline travel are back, too. And experts say travelers should expect ongoing problems throughout the busy summer season.

Long lines at security checkpoints, disruptive passengers and lengthy flight delays and cancellations are greeting many air travelers who may not have boarded a plane in 15 months or more because of the pandemic.

Updated June 21, 2021 at 10:06 PM ET

Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out in a personal Instagram post on Monday, saying he has "agonized over this moment for the last 15 years."

"I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," Nassib said in an Instagram video he posted on his verified Instagram account. "I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest."

File under sorry not sorry.

The wealthy husband-and-wife team who were slapped with criminal charges for waving guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis, Mo., last year, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in court on Thursday and agreed to give up the guns seized during the investigation.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 4:23 PM ET

Opal Lee is 94, and she's doing a holy dance.

It's a dance she said she and her ancestors have been waiting 155 years, 11 months and 28 days to do.

Ever since Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to spread the news of the Emancipation Proclamation outlawing slavery in Confederate states. President Abraham Lincoln had signed it more than two years earlier.

Jennifer Rocha wanted to hear the rustle of her black graduation gown against the bell pepper bushes in the California farm fields. She wanted to see the hem float above the dirt paths that she and her parents have spent years walking as a family while plucking heavy gallons of perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables that end up in America's grocery stores.

That's why she decided to take her college graduation photos in the same hot vegetable fields in Coachella, Calif., where she has worked with her parents since she was in high school.

As temperatures rise in California and people in search of respite head for the beach, there's a new concern beyond damaging sun rays and strong undercurrents: disease-carrying ticks that appear to be spreading all along the Golden State's coast.

Updated June 10, 2021 at 1:31 PM ET

Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexico's most notorious drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, pleaded guilty Thursday to helping him run the powerful Sinaloa cartel.

Coronel was captured and arrested by U.S. officials as she arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in February.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department have issued new travel advisories lowering the threat of COVID-19 in more than 90 countries and territories, including Japan, which is in the grips of a new wave of infections ahead of the Olympics next month.

The Department of Justice on Monday touted the recovery of $2.3 million — about half — of the ransom that was collected by hackers in the Colonial Pipeline attack last month. Experts say it was a surprising outcome to an increasingly frequent and severe crime.

Updated June 7, 2021 at 4:27 PM ET

The government has recovered a "majority" of the millions of dollars paid in ransom to hackers behind the cyberattack that prompted last month's shutdown of Colonial Pipeline, officials announced Monday.

"The Department of Justice has found and recaptured the majority of the ransom Colonial paid to the DarkSide network in the wake of last month's ransomware attack," Lisa Monaco, U.S. deputy attorney general, said during a press conference.

A weekend cyberattack on the world's largest meat processor won't have an immediate effect on U.S. prices, analysts said on the heels of an announcement that the company plans to restart production on Wednesday. But if the suspension across JBS USA's five plants continues for more than a week, then consumers could expect to pay a little more for a T-bone steak.

A 17-year-old Southern California girl got in a shoving match with a bear to protect her dogs and walked away nearly unscathed.

Hailey Morinico and her mother were gardening in their backyard in Bradbury, Calif., on Monday afternoon when a bear and her cubs began walking atop a cinder block wall at one end of the garden.

South America's greatest soccer contest may be moved to Brazil in a last-minute maneuver to save the troubled tournament less than two weeks before kick-off, but Brazilian officials say there is more to consider.

Millions of Americans are grabbing a quick getaway this Memorial Day weekend, now that COVID-19 cases are down and vaccination rates are up.

And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those who are vaccinated can go ahead and embrace those #shotgirlsummer vibes, there are some things you should keep in mind as you hit the road — including the fact that the seven-day average of new U.S. COVID-19 cases is still hovering around 24,000 infections per day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and 50% of the population hasn't been vaccinated.

Workplace mass shootings are rare, but the killing of nine people by a fellow employee at a Northern California rail yard on Wednesday marks the third such rampage in under two months.

That could foreshadow a rise in this type of violence after the nationwide shutdown of businesses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, says Jaclyn Schildkraut, associate professor of criminal justice at the State University of New York at Oswego.

However, Schildkraut stresses that while such shootings "are increasing incrementally in frequency, they're still extremely statistically rare."

The brazen arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich by the Belarusian government, in which it forced the plane he was aboard to land in Minsk, has sent a chill down the spine of the international community.

Protasevich, the former editor and founder of Nexta, an anti-regime blog and social media channel, has been instrumental in leading protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

As a 10-year-old in the 1950s Thomas Newman did what other boys his age did: he collected baseball cards.

Over a couple of years Newman assembled a treasured collection that was not equally prized by his mother, who thought of the cards as garbage and tossed them out. The loss inspired a decades-long passion to recoup what he'd lost. And then some.

Prince William and Prince Harry on Thursday blamed the BBC for its role in the tragic death of their mother, Princess Diana, whose life they say was irrevocably damaged by a bombshell interview she gave in 1995 that was obtained through a scheme of forgery and deceit.

The broadcaster "made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on her fears and fueled paranoia," Prince William said in a video statement.

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