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.

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....

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...

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...

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...

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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...

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: 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: 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)...

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...

Jimmy Carter told a press conference he called on the morning of the day he would have the first radiation treatment on the cancer in his brain, "I'd like for the last guinea worm to die before I do." Mr. Carter was frank, funny and graceful speaking this week about his health, and his faith. But his remark about the guinea worm may have puzzled a few people. Guinea worm disease is a parasitic infection that people can get by drinking stagnant water that teems with tiny guinea worm larvae....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: A horse is a horse, unless, of course, it's blue. Queen Elizabeth was on a state visit to Germany this week, and President Joachim Gauck presented her with a painting called "Horse In Royal Blue" by a popular German artist, Nicole Leidenfrost. It shows her majesty as a little girl sitting on a horse, the reins being held by her father, King George. The painting is interpretive. The faces of the horse and...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: One more British monarch may have been discovered in a parking lot. Just three years after the discovery of the remains of King Richard III, researchers have turned their attention to another even older missing ruler - Henry I. Philippa Langley, the historian who led the search for Richard's remains, believes the ruins of Reading Abbey - which Henry founded in 1121 - may be beneath the school playground...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: There are large protests planned in Baltimore today over the death of Freddie Gray. He was the young black man who died from a spinal cord injuries sustained after police arrested him on April 12. One group called for a shutdown of the city. Baltimore's Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has admitted that police officers made mistakes in how they handled the arrest of Freddie Gray. He said officers should...

A lot of people saw their hopes and dreams fulfilled this week — for just a few hours. Carnegie Mellon University emailed about 800 people who had applied to graduate school to say, 'Congratulations, you're in.' They were — to quote the message of acceptance — "one of the select few" to be accepted into Carnegie Mellon's prestigious Master of Science in Computer Science program. A young woman in India who was accepted wrote on Facebook that she quit her job, bolstered by this act of faith in...

Pope Francis and the Vatican have recognized Oscar Romero as a martyr. This may move the name of the late archbishop of San Salvador a little further in the process that could one day make him a saint. But being deemed a martyr is also holy. It means the church believes his life can inspire people; Pope Francis has said Romero inspires him. Romero was considered a kindly, orthodox conservative parish priest when Pope Paul appointed him archbishop in 1977. He did not question El Salvador's...

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Every Saturday just before our show begins I get on the public address system here to announce to our crew, "It's a beautiful day for a radio show. Let's do two today!" It's an admiring imitation of Ernie Banks, the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame baseball player who died last night at the age of 83. Ernie used to say, especially in the long years of hot summers — including this last one, when the Cubs were stuck in last place — "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let's play two today!" It became...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Staying in Africa for a moment - do you ever see a zebra standing against a grassy plain and ask, who do you think you're fooling? Scientists since Darwin have been trying to fathom zebra stripes. Some have suggested the stripes might be nature's bug repellent, since flies just aren't attracted to the pattern of light that reflects off those black and white stripes. There comes another theory too, from...

Satire is a tricky business. The punch lines quickly get stale. The same people who laugh at one joke can get offended by the next. But this week, with the targeted killings of the cartoon satirists of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, we were reminded how dangerous people with no sense of humor can be.

The Onion ran a headline: " It is Sadly Unclear Whether This Article Will Put Lives At Risk ."

Kelly Leonard of The Second City theater, which lampoons politicians, celebrities...

I've always had a good time in Cuba. The people are friendly and funny, the rum is smooth, the music intoxicating and the beaches wide, white and soft. But you're accompanied everywhere by government minders. They call them responsables . Any Cuban you interview knows your microphone might as well run straight to their government. If you want to talk to someone with a different view, you have to slip out of your hotel in the middle of the night without your minder — though dissidents say...

Everyone has days in which we wonder if much of anything works. Websites crash. Screens blink, go blank, or taunt: I'm sorry. Try later. We have an unusually high volume of calls. Download to update. Click here if you've forgotten your password. But for a couple of hours on an afternoon this week, people got glimpses of excellence. The Philae lander of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission touched down on a comet , called 67P, that speeds through the universe at more than 40,000 miles...

Dr. Doug Butzier died on duty this week. He was 59 and crashed in his own small plane flying home to Dubuque, Iowa. Doug Butzier was a former paramedic who put himself through medical school and became chief of the emergency room and medical staff at Mercy Medical Center and the Dubuque Fire Department. An EMS supervisor named Wayne Dow told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald , "We adored him ... He appreciated what we did, and he never forgot where he came from." Dr. Butzier leaves behind his wife...

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