Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

As the NPR Ethics Handbook states, the Standards & Practices editor is "charged with cultivating an ethical culture throughout our news operation. This means he or she coordinates regular training and discussion on how we apply our principles and monitors our decision-making practices to ensure we're living up to our standards."

Before becoming Standards & Practices editor, Memmott was one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog, which he helped to launch when he came to NPR in 2009. It focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Prior to joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He reported from places across the United States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three USAToday.com news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

You're ready to check out at the supermarket. There are only eight items in your cart, so you look for the express lane.

The sign above says "10 items or less."

Do you:

-- Head for the register without a second thought?

-- Rue the decline of the English language because you were taught that the sign should say "10 items or fewer?"

Saying that "the tense geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine" could accelerate the already heavy flow of money coming out of Russia, Standard & Poor's on Friday cut that nation's credit rating to just above "junk" level.

What's more, S&P says it doesn't expect things to improve anytime soon:

The Vatican on Thursday sought to tamp down speculation that Pope Francis wants to reverse church teachings and allow divorced and remarried Catholics and their spouses to take Communion.

With the death toll continuing to rise and likely to exceed 300, the captain and crew of the ferry that sank last week off the coast of South Korea have been called cowards and accused of murder.

Now, though, we're also hearing about the heroic acts of some among the 29-member crew — seven of whom either are confirmed to have died or are missing.

The amazing story of a 16-year-old California boy who the FBI says survived a 5 1/2-hour flight in the frigid wheel well of a jet that flew from San Jose to Hawaii on Sunday raises a logical question:

How does one survive a trip like that when the temperature would have dropped to more than 50 degrees below zero and the air would have been thinner than that at the top of Mount Everest?

The amazing story of a 16-year-old California boy who the FBI says survived a 5 1/2-hour flight in the frigid wheel well of a jet that flew from San Jose to Hawaii on Sunday raises a logical question:

How does one survive a trip like that when the temperature would have dropped to more than 50 degrees below zero and the air would have been thinner than that at the top of Mount Everest?

"Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?" former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

"We don't have a mass system of such interception, and according to our law it cannot exist," the Russian leader responded.

After so many stories this month about accidents and disasters, we needed something completely different and hopefully cute.

This would seem to fit the bill:

"Kittens accidentally packed in box, shipped from Los Angeles to San Diego." (San Diego's ABC10 News)

Saying that because they're both former spies they can speak the same language, Russian President Vladimir Putin told "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden on Thursday that his nation does not have a "mass system" that collects data about Russian citizens' phone calls and other electronic communications.

There were 304,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, up just 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 302,000, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

This post was updated at 5:50 p.m. ET.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports that Nigeria's defense ministry has retracted its earlier claim that they missing schoolgirls were free.

"[A] report was filed in from the field indicating that a major breakthrough had been recorded in the search," the ministry said in a statement.

Though they concede it's unlikely the public was endangered, officials in Portland, Ore., have decided to drain 38 million gallons of water from a reservoir after a young man was observed urinating into it on Wednesday.

This post will be updated as news comes in.

A second day of dangerous efforts to reach any survivors has ended with still no sign of the nearly 300 people — most of them high school students — believed to be trapped aboard a South Korean ferry that has capsized in the Yellow Sea.

This post was updated with a new top at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union emerged Thursday from a meeting that wasn't expected to accomplish much saying they had made progress toward resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

"We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to narrow our real differences," Secretary of State John Kerry said following the meeting in Geneva. He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the four parties at the negotiating table agreed:

Pages