Scott Simon

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

Simon's weekly show, Weekend Edition Saturday, has been called by the Washington Post, "the most literate, witty, moving, and just plain interesting news show on any dial," and by Brett Martin of Time-Out New York "the most eclectic, intelligent two hours of broadcasting on the airwaves." He has won every major award in broadcasting, including the Peabody, the Emmy, the Columbia-DuPont, the Ohio State Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Sidney Hillman Award. Simon received the Presidential End Hunger Award for his coverage of the Ethiopian civil war and famine, and a special citation from the Peabody Awards for his weekly essays, which were cited as "consistently thoughtful, graceful, and challenging." He has also received the Barry M. Goldwater Award from the Human Rights Fund. Recently, he was awarded the Studs Terkel Award.

Simon has hosted many television specials, including the PBS's "State of Mind," "Voices of Vision," and "Need to Know." "The Paterson Project" won a national Emmy, as did his two-hour special from the Rio earth summit meeting. He co-anchored PBS's "Millennium 2000" coverage in concert with the BBC, and has co-hosted the televised Columbia-DuPont Awards. He also became familiar to viewers in Great Britain as host of the continuing BBC series, "Eyewitness," and a special on the White House press corps. He has appeared as a guest and commentator on all major networks, including BBC, NBC, CNN, and ESPN.

Simon has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times of London, The Guardian, and Gourmet among other publications, and won a James Beard Award for his story, "Conflict Cuisine" in Gourmet. He has received numerous honorary degrees.

Sports Illustrated called his book Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan "extraordinary...uniformly superb...a memoir of such breadth and reach that it compares favorably with Fredrick Exley's A Fan's Notes." It was at the top of several non-fiction bestseller lists. His book, and Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, was Barnes and Nobles' Sports Book of the Year. His novel, Pretty Birds, the story of two teenage girls in Sarajevo during the siege, received rave reviews, Scott Turow calling it, "the most auspicious fiction debut by a journalist of note since Tom Wolfe's. . . always gripping, always tender, and often painfully funny. It is a marvel of technical finesse, close observation, and a perfectly pitched heart." Windy City, Simon's second novel, is a political comedy set in the Chicago City Council. Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other, an essay about the joys of adoption, was published in August 2010.

Simon's tweets to his 1.25 million Twitter followers from his mother's bedside in the summer of 2013 gathered major media attention around the world. He is completing a book on their last week together that will appear in time for Mother's Day 2015.

Simon is a native of Chicago and the son of comedian Ernie Simon and Patricia Lyons Simon. His hobbies are books, theater, ballet, British comedy, Mexican cooking and "bleeding for the Chicago Cubs." He appeared as Mother Ginger in the Ballet Austin production of The Nutcracker.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: The Trump transition team is asking who at the Department of Energy has been involved in talks on climate change. It's part of a long questionnaire that was sent to employees at the agency, and it's raising concerns that specific workers may be targeted as the next administration seeks to rollback climate policy. NPR's Jennifer Ludden joins us. Jennifer, thanks for being with us. JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Hi, Scott....

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Kirk Douglas turned 100 years old yesterday. He was born with a name that would have been a little harder to fit on a marquee - Issur Danielovitch. He changed his name, but he kept that cleft in his chin. Kirk Douglas became one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the big screen era, especially in the 1950s and '60s. He played a boxer, a hard-bitten detective, a cynical reporter, Doc Holliday, Vincent Van Gogh, a...

I always had a wonderful time in Fidel Castro's Cuba, and usually wound up feeling bad about it. The island is beautiful, the people even sunnier: warm and friendly, especially to Americans. The responsables — government minders — assigned to each reporting crew would tease me about being from Chicago. "Your mobsters used to run this place," they'd say. "Sam Giancana, The Godfather. You made our men bellboys and our women prostitutes." And then they'd treat you to mojitos and fabulous music....

A lot of us live in bubbles. The bubbles that took some pot-shots this week are the ones in which pundits, reporters, and other opinion-flingers who seemed dead-solid-certain that Hillary Clinton would be elected president of the United States on Tuesday live, work, breathe the same air, and seem to exhale similar opinions. Kyle Pope, the editor-in-chief and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, was blunt about our profession this week when he wrote , "Its inability to understand...

I know baseball is not real life. While Chicago's streets teemed with loud whoops and waving banners as the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, 18 more people were killed over two days on the south and west sides of the city. The number of homicides in Chicago has surged past 600 this year. 2016 could be the city's deadliest year in nearly 20, and the people in those afflicted neighborhoods, usually a long way from Wrigley Field, will remember this year more for their losses than...

Every week we get emails and tweets from people who say they are so appalled by this year's election campaign they no can longer pay attention to the news. Then they often go on to give us full details about the latest incident in the campaign that's so repulsed them. A lot of Americans say they are disgusted by this year's election. And the data says they can't get enough of it. The Wall Street Journal reports the prime-time audience of adults under 50 for the top four broadcast networks,...

I have a special respect for political losers. Losing can reveal a candidate's character in a humbling, vulnerable moment.

An Ohio politician who lost a race for governor once explained to me that most politicians are used to being popular. They were often class officers and top athletes as kids, who become lawyers, professors, or business owners. They get used to people listening to them, and laughing at their jokes.

"So when thousands or millions of people who know...

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this week. His selection was surprising. He is the first artist to receive the award for a body of work that is almost entirely songs. But while there were critics, there was also a lot of acclaim, even from outstanding longtime novelists, including Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, and Salman Rushdie, who called Mr. Dylan, "the brilliant inheritor of the Bardic tradition." Sara Danius of the Swedish Academy, who is a professor of literature...

Now Play Nice, Children

Sep 17, 2016

There was no moderator of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. There was a timekeeper, usually some respected town elder in Alton, Freeport or Galesburg, Ill., who would keep track of how long a candidate could speak, then say something like, "Thank you, Mr. Lincoln. Your turn now, Sen. Douglas," and vice versa. But there was no moderator. Each candidate spoke in turn. They asked each other questions directly. They could accuse each other of being wrong, or not telling the truth, face to face, and...

What's in a name? The Chicago White Sox, mired in in the middle of the American League Central division, announced this week they've signed a 13 year deal to rename the park where they play Guaranteed Rate Field. Guaranteed Rate is a home loan company, headquartered in Chicago. But as Rick Morrisey wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times , "Guaranteed Rate Field. You're kidding, right? Was Year End Clearance Sale Stadium already taken?" Ridicule broke out on social media. I sure joined in. What's next...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The phrase, "America First" was invoked a few times at this week's Republican convention. That slogan comes with a lot of echoes, and you might wonder how much the people who chant it now really know about its history. The America First Committee was founded in 1940 by a group of Yale students, many of whom would go on to distinguished careers, and funded by prominent Chicago business leaders. It was one of the largest peace organizations in U.S. history, with more than 800,000 registered...

I'm getting a little tired of all this pivoting. Pundits and analysts — which, by the way, might be a good name for a new bar in Georgetown — say that Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Bernie Sanders are, must, or are soon expected to "pivot" into some new strategy for the fall campaign.

Try to go through a news cycle without reading or hearing "pivot." Bloomberg Politics' headline says, " Corker Says Trump Judge Comment 'Wrong,' Urges Him to Pivot ." Politico banners,...

What would you consider "the best selfie ever"? A shot of yourself alongside the pope, the president, Angela Merkel, Lin Manuel Miranda or Steph Curry? This week Ben Innes, a health and safety auditor from Leeds, Great Britain, used those words to send out a photo in which he posed with the man who hijacked his plane. The hijacker has what looks like a suicide vest of explosives strapped to his chest. Ben Innes is grinning. "I'm not sure why I did it," Mr. Innes told The Sun . "I just threw...

Now is the time to pick up a Pataki for President bumper sticker. Or a Huckabee button, a Jim Webb yard sign, or keychains, ballpoint pens, and window scrapers imprinted Jindal, Paul, Perry, Chafee, Walker, Graham, Santorum, Lessig, and O'Malley for President. It's already a kind of autumn in the cycle of a presidential campaign, in which candidacies have a last burst of color and fall to the ground. As a child, I kept a small collection of political buttons and bumper stickers in a box below...

Greggor Ilagan, a Hawaii county councilman who is running for the state senate, decided to try to reach that vital demographic of young voters by appearing on social networking sites. And also Tinder, a dating app. When he announced his candidacy last summer, Mr. Ilagan told local Hawaii press he would rely more on social media than campaign fund-raising to reach voters. Greg Ilagan said on his profile page, "I bet we can find common ground on issues and make a positive impact around us."...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Soldiers must face many dangers - exhaustion, battle, loneliness and MREs. MREs are the vacuum-packed food that soldiers eat on deployment. The initials mean meals ready to eat, but over the years, soldiers have developed many alternative explanations, including meals refused by everyone, meals rejected by the enemy and lots of other permutations best left for conversations in a bunker. I've eaten lot of...

Frank Sinatra was born a hundred years ago today. Even if you think his music just isn't your music, it's hard to get through life without uttering what I'll call a "Frank Phrase" from one of his songs at telling times in our lives. "So set 'em up, Joe ... Fly me to the moon ... I've got you under my skin ... My kind of town ... I did it my way ... I want to wake up in a city that doesn't sleep ..." And that wry elegy for lost loves and lonely nights: "So make it one for my baby, and one more...

Jonathan Pollard is out of prison, if not totally free, after 30 years. He's on parole for another five years , during which he'll have to wear a GPS ankle bracelet, won't be able to give interviews, or leave for Israel, where he is considered a hero, and says he wants to live. He also won't be able to use the internet without U.S. government scrutiny. Someone will point out: can any of us? To see the images last night of a pale, pudgy man with long white hair and a beard walking in and out...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: We've been reporting this morning that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terror attacks that have struck Paris last night. The Paris prosecutor Francois Molins spoke to reporters just a few moments ago. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Paris, where he's monitoring events. Peter, thanks so much for being with us. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Hi, Scott. SIMON: And the prosecutor gave a timeline of events as they've...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: We're following to news from France today after a night of devastating violence in Paris. Coordinated attacks killed more than 120 people in six separate attacks, leaving the city really and on edge. A Parisian man spoke with France 24 today. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Through interpreter) I've never seen the city like this. It's scary. Everyone is worried. No one is looking at...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: We want to go now to - want to go now to NPR's Michele Kelemen because the terrorist attacks in Paris have added urgency to a gathering there in Vienna where Secretary of State Kerry has been meeting with colleagues on Syria. He and the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, stood together today in support of France. Well, we don't have that tape but - they - Secretary Kerry said that - referred to it...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: We're following the news in France today, as Parisians awoke to terror and mourning for the second time this year. Here's what we know - more than 120 people were killed last night, many more were injured in six attacks across Paris. The number of people critically wounded is at almost 100, according to French officials. ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for this...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: We'll return now to the events in Paris and yesterday's bomb and gun attacks that killed at least 120 people. Last night, President Hollande declared a state of emergency. He mobilized the army to support the police and ordered restrictions imposed on French borders. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has just crossed the French border with Germany and she's now in Paris. Soraya, thanks for being with us. And...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: And part of what makes life go on is the love of sports. Our Tom Goldman joins us on a sad morning. Good morning, Tom. TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Scott. SIMON: The stadium in France, where France and Germany were playing a friendly football match last night, as they're called, was one of the places struck. Fans were frightened but they also gave us a moment of grace. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)...

Millions of people grew up in a time when we had nuclear nightmares. We worried that a few huge bombs might blow up the world, and we rehearsed how we should hide below our school desks if sirens ever sounded. They'd test those civil defense sirens every Tuesday morning in Chicago; I've heard of other times in other cities. In time, they became just one more city sound, like the screech of a subway train or the flapping of pigeon wings. But every now and then, the siren could make you think,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The people of France are in shock and mourning today after a devastating night in Paris. A series of gun and bomb attacks killed more than a hundred people and injured scores. Authorities believe that eight people staged the attacks and they are all reportedly dead. But authorities are still searching for accomplices. The so-called Islamic State, or...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: The attacks overnight in Paris represent a shift in the way counterterrorism officials see ISIS. There have been a handful of attacks around the world that have been attributed to the group - shootings at a museum in Belgium, stabbings of police and military. This is different. NPR's counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston joins us in our studios. Dina, thanks so much for being with us. DINA...

It's tempting to make jokes about the demands Republican candidates made of broadcasters for future debates — and believe me, I have. But I've also squirmed to see reporters bark at presidential candidates to raise their hands, yes or no, to reply to a question, as if they were schoolchildren asking for a bathroom break. And including 30-second long opening and closing statements sounds like the least an audience might have the right to expect in a two-hour debate. Thirty seconds is just a...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/ . Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: When is a panhandler a performer? And do nearly naked women perform when they pose for a photo, or are they unclad panhandlers who get tips because people want them to buy a coat? New York Mayor de Blasio told a radio audience this week that desnudas - topless women who paint their bodies and pose for photos for tips - ought to pay taxes on what they earn. City officials would like to find a way to...

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