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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When Cayti Kane delivered a baby boy via cesarean section last year, her team of doctors was prepared.

Kane had been diagnosed with placenta accreta, a condition that increased the likelihood of a dangerous hemorrhage during delivery. When that happened, she had an emergency hysterectomy. Kane and her son went home healthy.

Samantha Blackwell was working her way through a master's degree at Cleveland State University when she found out she was pregnant.

"I was 25, in really good health. I had been an athlete all my life. I threw shot put for my college, so I was in my prime," she says with a laugh.

Though it wasn't planned, Blackwell's pregnancy was embraced by her large and loving family and her boyfriend, who would soon become her husband. Her labor was quick, and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Seun Kuti was just 14 when he became the lead singer of Egypt 80 — the Nigerian band that had carried the infectious groove of Afrobeat worldwide under the direction of Seun's father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The musician says keeping the band together after Fela's death in 1997 was a way of sustaining his message — which often included railing against government corruption and social injustice.

On a melancholy Saturday this past February, Shalon Irving's "village" — the friends and family she had assembled to support her as a single mother — gathered at a funeral home in a prosperous black neighborhood in southwest Atlanta to say goodbye.

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This is The Call-In.

(SOUNDBITE OF CORDUROI'S "MY DEAR")

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The Pakistani army rescued a Canadian-American family last week who had been held by a Taliban-affiliated group in Afghanistan for five years.

Canadian Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman had been held captive by the Haqqani network since 2012. The couple's three children were all born in captivity. The family is now recovering in Ontario.

In a brief statement during a press conference in Toronto, Boyle said his wife had been raped and their infant daughter killed while they were in captivity.

In recent months, mothers who nearly died in the hours and days after giving birth have repeatedly told ProPublica and NPR that their doctors and nurses were often slow to recognize the warning signs that their bodies weren't healing properly.

As a neonatal intensive care nurse, Lauren Bloomstein had been taking care of other people's babies for years. Finally, at 33, she was expecting one of her own. The prospect of becoming a mother made her giddy, her husband, Larry, recalled recently— "the happiest and most alive I'd ever seen her."

If you want a peek into the history of drugstores, there's the History of Pharmacy Museum at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, in Tucson, Ariz.

A hand-carved wood prescription counter helps recreate the look of a small-town pharmacy in the 1800s. And some of the old-timey medicines give you a sense of what the place must have smelled like.

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You wouldn't expect a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic to take you to the sort of place that's wedged between a 99-cent store and a boarded-up meat market.

But that's exactly where I sat down for lunch with Jonathan Gold — at a downtown Los Angeles eatery called El Parian.

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Here on the West Coast, along with turkey and trimmings, there's a highly-prized delicacy on some holiday tables - fresh Dungeness crab pulled right out of the Pacific.

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Say the name Malala and instantly one thinks of a heroine known to millions, the schoolgirl from Pakistan's lush, once idyllic Swat Valley who dared speak out when the Taliban invaded her home and tried to prevent girls from going to school.

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A giant clothing retailer has broadened its notion of what a model looks like. H&M produced an ad with an unusually wide variety of people.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Look fake. Look chic. Look sheikh. Take a stand.

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American special forces are involved in the struggle to retake a city from Afghanistan's Taliban. A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition describes the special forces as advisers. They're supporting Afghan forces around Kunduz.

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