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Renee Montagne at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., July 25, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)

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 ofAll Things Considered.

After leaving All Things Considered, Montagne traveled to South Africa in early 1990, arriving to report from thereon 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, wereawarded "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).

  • The U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world: Sixty percent of the 700 to 900 deaths each year are preventable, including that of neonatal nurse Lauren Bloomstein.
  • Tens of thousands crowded into South Africa's national soccer stadium in Johannesburg in the pouring rain to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, who helped transform the nation. The deputy president of the African National Congress party, Cyril Ramaphosa, made the opening remarks, referring to Mandela by his clan name.
  • Coverage of the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg includes part of President Obama's speech.
  • JPMorgan has reached a tentative $13 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over its questionable mortgage practices leading up to the U.S. financial crisis. Renee Montagne talks to NPR business correspondent Chris Arnold about what's known so far about the terms of the deal.
  • Some big questions remain unanswered in the Boston Marathon bombing case. One of them is: What did Tamerlan Tsarnaev — the older brother — do when he visited Russia last year for six months. U.S. investigators are in the Russia Republic of Dagestan trying to get answers.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held an emergency meeting with her Russian counterpart in Dublin Thursday to try to reach new consensus on how to end the Syrian conflict. A prominent human rights group has put the death toll in Syria at 42,000 people killed in the nearly two years of fighting there — which began with a series of political protests, and turned into an armed rebellion.
  • President Obama won re-election, not by going after independent voters, but by going after emerging groups in the U.S. population. By race, age and gender, voters made clear there are two — or more — Americas, and the Obama team captured more of them, and delivered more of them to the polls.
  • The nation's economy has been rebuilding since the recession ended in 2009, and in this election, the economy was a central issue from the beginning. Unemployment stands at 7.9 percent — slightly higher than when President Obama took office. In the end, the president handily rolled to re-election vowing to complete the country's recovery.
  • In Victoria Kneubuhl's mysteries, dashing detectives Ned and Mina explore the darker side of a sunny tourist paradise — Honolulu. In their debut, Murder Casts a Shadow, Ned and Mina set out to discover who killed a crooked museum curator, and get drawn into a deeper mystery about the death of Hawaii's last king.
  • In the nominations announced Tuesday, Martin Scorsese's film Hugo received the most this year — 11, including best picture and best director.