Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Fri March 7, 2014

The Elegant Secrets Of Flying Snakes

Paradise flying snake.
Courtesy of Jake Socha

Flying snakes are mysterious. How do they soar? Without wings or other helpful appendages, how do they glide from tree to tree?

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The Protojournalist
9:15 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Hemingway Doesn't Always Live Up To His Code

An undated portrait of Ernest Hemingway in Cuba.
COPYRIGHT Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 5:24 pm

The air was clear. Our prose was not.

We remembered what Scott had told us about a clean, well-designed place called Future of Storytelling. Scott said we could learn from it. He was right and it was good.

Through the website, we discovered the Hemingway App.

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The Protojournalist
9:17 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Climate Strange: 5 Monster March Snowstorms

Snow plows in Manhattan during the blizzard of 1993.
Bill Turnbull NY Daily News via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 1:56 pm

For much of the nation, March has come in with a leonine roar.

Are these late-season snow shows examples of climate change? "No," says weather historian Jim Fleming of Colby College. "The polar vortex is a natural and variable stratospheric event. One of its anomalies hit Russia and Central Europe in winters past. This year it is our turn."

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Wed February 26, 2014

50 Cliches Of Gray: In Defense Of Old Truisms

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:21 am

At the end of the day, it is tougher than a nickel steak to banish from American popular parlance certain phrases such as "at the end of the day."

The word police at Lake Superior State University in Michigan have been trying to strike the phrase from public discourse since 1999. Here are their Banished Words Lists from then and from 2014.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Sat February 22, 2014

A Life Story In 6 Songs — Part 1

Amy Bailey

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 3:41 pm

Tons of people responded — thoughtfully, wittily, smartly, poignantly — to NPR's recent request: Tell us the six songs of your life.

Sifting through the more than 1,000 annotated playlists, we came up with a few that seem exemplary of the original idea: People telling the stories of their lives — up to this point — through a half-dozen songs.

We were knocked out by the variety of the selections.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Rethinking The First Signs Of Spring

Chris Smith iStockphoto

For eons in New England, a First Sign of Spring has been sap oozing from a maple tree. In northwestern Montana, officials at Glacier National Park report that a long understood First Sign of Spring is the appearance of a bear — emerging from hibernation.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Sat February 15, 2014

What We Might Learn From Snoring Weather Cats

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 4:11 pm

Sometimes it feels like all the fancy meteorological machinery and prognostication equipment is actually working. And that the weather folks may finally be able to predict — albeit with constant updates and countless hedge words — what the weather is going to be.

At least for the next day or so.

But is that good enough?

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Tue February 11, 2014

We Are Just Not Here Anymore

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 2:56 pm

At weddings, guests tweet real-time photos of the festivities to friends far away. At sporting events, fans follow scores of games in other cities. In classrooms, students text with friends in other classes and parents out in the world. At funerals, mourners send out selfies to pals in other places.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Sonic Dictionary: An Aural History Project

Brooke Watson of Duke University gathers sound for the Sonic Dictionary.
Mary Caton Lingold

If you don't know the meaning of a word, says Mary Caton Lingold, you can look it up in the dictionary, but if you don't know what a particular sound sounds like, where do you go? (Besides NPR, of course.)

For instance: What does tobacco harvesting sound like? Or someone clogging? Or a shotgun?

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Mon February 3, 2014

6 Odd College Courses In America

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:21 am

About college courses, actor Tom Hanks recently told The Star-Ledger: "I had thought, oh, college, you have to take chemistry and stuff and sit there slogging through work in the library. And then it was like, wait, you can go to college and study theater? And act in plays? This is almost a racket."

Check the catalogs at colleges these days and you will see that you can study theater, act in plays and explore a whole lot more.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Fixing The NFL: Put Robots In The Super Bowl

Cleatus of Fox Sports
Kevin Lynch FOX Sports

Through one lens, the National Football League — on the threshold of Super Bowl XLVIII — looks to be at the top of its game. Revenues are ridiculously high: more than $9 billion a year, CNN reports. Television ratings are roof-piercing: 34 of the 35 most-watched TV shows of autumn 2013 were NFL games, according to the NFL.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Warning: In Bitter Cold, Beware The 'Umbles'

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:03 pm

Icy vortices, trains of snowstorms, treacherous temperatures — many people are having to learn some harsh lessons about harsh weather.

"When the weather is bitter cold," says Dr. Campbell McLaren, "we have to be vigilant — not just to protect ourselves, but those around us."

And we have to watch out for the "umbles."

As an emergency room doctor in northern New Hampshire, McLaren has specialized in hypothermia and other deleterious effects of extreme cold. He speaks in a Scottish brogue — and by telephone and email, he warns against the umbles.

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The Protojournalist
9:15 am
Wed January 22, 2014

As Time Goes By, What Makes A Movie Timeless?

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. It could become a classic.
Jaap Buitendijk Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:54 pm

Awards season is upon us. And on top of us. And all over us with red carpets, acceptance speeches and actor antics.

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The Protojournalist
9:19 am
Fri January 17, 2014

News Match Game: Leaders And Tweeters

President Barack Obama at a "Twitter Town Hall" on July 6, 2011 at the White House.
MANDEL NGAN AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:35 am

The votes are in, and President Obama — with 40 million followers on Twitter --is the Leader of the Tweet World, according to the Digital Policy Council's recent report on the use of social media by presidents, potentates and other pooh-bahs.

The Top 5 World Leaders With The Most Followers On Twitter:

1) President Barack Obama of the United States

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Quick Question: Time To Leave Smokers Alone?

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:48 pm

Fifty years ago this month, the landmark U.S. Surgeon General's report linking cigarette smoking and lung cancer was released.

Over the past half-century, America has become more and more inhospitable to people who smoke — and to tobacco companies. In a recent statement, the Department of Health and Human Services declares its desire "to make the next generation tobacco-free."

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Tell Us The 6 Songs Of Your Life

.sarahwynne. Flickr

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 11:09 am

Music. It's been there with us from the beginning — sometimes in the background, sometimes centerstage. We listen. We sing. We play along. We compose. We remember.

We are a species deep into music. And the music is deep into us — especially those of us at NPR, where music is an essential element of everyday existence.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Can Amazon's Jeff Bezos Save Planet Earth?

Jeff Bezos.
David Ryder Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:07 am

Look. Up in the sky — and in that little package with the A-to-Z logo. It's a bird. It's a plane.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Have Yourself A Tacky Little Christmas

Solid Color Neckties

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 8:55 am

Maybe it all started with ugly Christmas sweaters. Or with cheesy inflatable Santas. Or hideously inappropriate tree ornaments. But Christmastime – at least its visible trappings and accoutrements – seems to be getting tackier.

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The Protojournalist
9:45 am
Thu December 19, 2013

100 Years Of Solvitude: A Reported Crossword Puzzle

Word-Cross creator, 1938.
Bettmann/Corbis

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 1:17 pm

Created by a British-American wordsmith, the very first Word-Cross appeared in the New York World on Dec. 21, 1913.

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The Protojournalist
9:21 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Project Xpat: What The World Thinks Of America

Chantal Mpezo

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:35 am

"America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room," observed British historian Arnold J. Toynbee. "Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair."

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The Protojournalist
1:11 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Project Xpat: When Do You Become An 'Immigrant'?

iStockphoto

You are an American living in another country. Are you a tourist? An expatriate? An immigrant?

When does a visitor morph into something more? When does your home-away-from-home become your home?

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Thu December 12, 2013

The Future Of Blocks — Building On The Past

M&D

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:21 pm

Blocks grow with you — from basic alphabet blocks and geometric building blocks, to Tinker Toys and Legos and girder and panel sets, to bricks and

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Debate Club: Blocks Are The Best Toys Ever

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:16 am

Resolved: That blocks are the best toys ever.

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The Protojournalist
2:47 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

The Scent Of Pepper Spray Is In The Air

A police officer uses pepper spray on seated Occupy demonstrators at the University of California, Davis, on Nov. 18, 2011.
Thomas K. Fowler AP

Just in the past few days:

  • In Baton Rouge, La., joggers concerned about a recent attack on a runner are carrying pepper spray.
  • In Missoula, Mont., a woman files a complaint against a man for pepper-spraying her golden retriever.
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The Protojournalist
9:29 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Project Xpat: What It Means To Be An Expatriate

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:37 am

When American expatriate Charles Trueheart was young, he lived all over the world — in Ankara, London, Saigon and Paris. His father was an American diplomat.

When Charlie was older, he moved back to the U.S. He went to college at Amherst. Eventually, he and his wife, Anne Swardson, became international correspondents for The Washington Post.

I was Charlie's editor at the Post for several stories. He is a lovely writer and a good friend.

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The Protojournalist
9:39 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Quick Question: Is Cyber Monday Passe?

Marek Uliasz iStock

Cyber Monday. The phrase seems so quaint. Like floppy disk. Or information superhighway.

But the idea of making a big deal about everybody shopping online on a given day seems even more quaint.

So quick question: Is the notion of Cyber Monday passe?

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The Protojournalist
4:08 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Project Xpat: Thank You For Posting

Turkey of Thanksgiving in Kazakhstan.
Patricia Cullinane

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:36 am

Thanksgiving — like the universe — is expanding.

Traditionally a time for Americans to pause and give thanks to a Supreme Being — for health or harvest or happenstance, Thanksgiving is evolving before our very eyes into a holiday where we give thanks to each other as well.

Just this week we received Thanksgiving-themed thank-you notes from a doctor's office, a lawyers' association, a New Jersey congressman and others. Can Thanksgiving-themed gift cards be far behind?

It's not a bad idea. Saying thank you to more people.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Project Xpat: An Air Force Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 101: Young students from around the world get a taste of the American tradition.
Sarah Kinzer

Thanking members of the U.S. military for their service is an American tradition – throughout the year. But what do those who are on the receiving end of our thanks have to be thankful for at Thanksgiving?

From somewhere in Southwest Asia, American expat Sarah Kinzer writes: "We are U.S. Air Force overseas... Due to host nation sensitivities I can't tell you a city — or country — but you can say we are stationed with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing."

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Project Xpat: Thanksgiving Up, Down Under

Baby Partington
Susan Partington

For some expatriates there comes a point of surrender. Keeping the back-home traditions becomes too much trouble. Or the allures of the host country become too strong. Call it Thanksgiving Up.

Such is the case for Susan Partington who lives with her family in Gisborne, New Zealand. "After seven years down under, I've completely given up on the traditional foods. Spending a Thursday cooking lots of hot food during summer is absurd."

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The Protojournalist
1:33 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Project Xpat: A Globetrotter's Thanksgiving

November in Nepal: a ceremonial candle.
Sarita Fae Jarmack

If you can't be with the holiday you love, love the holiday you're with.

Sarita Fae Jarmack, 25, who grew up in the United States, has already traveled to some 30 countries. Roaming the wide world over, she has discovered that it can sometimes be quite difficult — even on this interconnected planet — to touch base with her childhood traditions.

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