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.

Wednesday's attack at the Paris office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo is thought to have been the work of killers who believe cartoons can be so offensive that they justified the murder of 12 people.

News organizations and people around the world obviously believe the opposite — that no one deserves to die just because he's rude, crude or otherwise obnoxious. Free speech includes the right to be offensive.

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:

A federal judge said Wednesday that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may see autopsy photos of the three people who died after the explosions near the finish line of last year's race.

Families and friends who have wondered since 1971 about what happened to two South Dakota girls now have some closure.

Authorities said Tuesday that they believe Pamela Jackson and Cheryl Miller died when their 1960 Studebaker Lark accidentally went off a gravel road and into a local creek. "All the evidence would appear to indicate an accident," South Dakota Attorney Gen. Marty Jackley said.

There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered Tuesday to spend at least four hours a week for the next year doing community service at a center for the elderly, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk.

One of the least imaginative, but always popular, stories for an editor to assign in years past was the annual Tax Day frenzy at the local post office.

Younger Two-Way readers may not know this, but before e-filing was the thing to do, many procrastinators would wait until the last possible moment to finish their federal tax returns. And many post offices would keep staff on hand until midnight so that those returns could be postmarked before April 15 turned into April 16.

Now?

The crisis in Ukraine has taken on even more of a Cold War-era feel after a Russian warplane made nearly a dozen low passes over the weekend of a U.S. destroyer that was sailing in the Black Sea.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, calls the Russian flybys "provocative and unprofessional," NPR's Tom Bowman reports.

According to the Pentagon, the Russian SU-24 attack aircraft came within several thousand feet of the USS Donald Cook on Saturday and ignored multiple radio warnings from the ship.

"A deadline set by the Ukrainian government for pro-Russian gunmen to leave government buildings in eastern Ukraine and surrender weapons passed early Monday," The Associated Press writes, "with no immediate sign of any action to force the insurgents out."

On Day 38, the latest developments in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 come from the surface of the Indian Ocean and more than 2 miles beneath on the sea floor.

-- Search Goes Below. "Underwater vehicle Bluefin-21 deployed to find plane's wreckage." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

A rush-hour bomb blast Monday at a bus station near Nigeria's capital and other explosions that followed are thought to have killed more than 70 people and injured more than 120.

An Islamist group that believes Western education is sinful and takes other extremist stands is being blamed.

"Fingers are being pointed at Boko Haram, the terrorist network that has been threatening to attack Nigeria's capital," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast Desk.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday that it expects the federal deficit will be about $22 billion less this fiscal year than previously thought, and about $9 billion less than had been anticipated next year.

A highway in Northern California was turned into an inferno Thursday when a FedEx truck slammed into a charter bus full of high school students.

The California Highway Patrol says at least 10 people, including both drivers and five of the teenagers, were killed. An additional 30 or so people were injured. Those who survived escaped through smashed windows.

Hillary Clinton was not struck Thursday when a woman threw a shoe at the former secretary of state while she was on stage in Las Vegas giving the keynote speech at conference hosted by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

"What was that, a bat? Was that a bat?" Clinton said moments after the footwear flew by.

Pope Francis asked Friday for forgiveness from the victims of pedophile priests in some of his strongest words to date about the Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome that:

"The pope has come under fire from advocacy groups for a perceived lack of attention to the issue.

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