Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

Wamsley got her start at NPR as an intern for Weekend Edition Saturday in January 2007 and stayed on as a production assistant for NPR's flagship news programs, before joining the Washington Desk for the 2008 election.

She then left NPR, doing freelance writing and editing in Austin, Texas, and then working in various marketing roles for technology companies in Austin and Chicago.

In November 2015, Wamsley returned to NPR as an associate producer for the National Desk, where she covered stories including Hurricane Matthew in coastal Georgia. She became a Newsdesk reporter in March 2017, and has since covered subjects including climate change, possibilities for social networks beyond Facebook, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and joke theft.

In 2010, Wamsley was a Journalism and Women Symposium Fellow and participated in the German-American Fulbright Commission's Berlin Capital Program, and was a 2016 Voqal Foundation Fellow. She will spend two months reporting from Germany as a 2019 Arthur F. Burns Fellow, a program of the International Center for Journalists.

Wamsley earned a B.A. with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Wamsley holds a master's degree from Ohio University, where she was a Public Media Fellow and worked at NPR Member station WOUB. A native of Athens, Ohio, she now lives and bikes in Washington, DC.

Missouri has new a law that claims to invalidate all federal gun control laws — and prohibits state and local cooperation with enforcement of those laws.

Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill, known as HB 85 or the Second Amendment Preservation Act, into law Saturday at a gun store and shooting range called Frontier Justice.

Updated June 15, 2021 at 5:01 PM ET

Saying that she's troubled by the increasing concentration of wealth, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott says she is giving away another $2.7 billion of her fortune to 286 nonprofit organizations.

It appears that the Olympics are really going to happen, starting July 23 in Tokyo. But there are big challenges to staging the Games as the pandemic continues in a host city currently under a state of emergency and a country where a recent poll found 80% of residents don't want the Olympics to happen this summer.

Updated June 7, 2021 at 3:11 PM ET

The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug aducanumab to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease on Monday. It is the first new drug approved by the agency for Alzheimer's disease since 2003.

The wide lawn of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., has taken on a riot of rainbow hues in a geometric mural designed by artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer.

The installation, titled Equilateral Network, was designed to create spaces for social distancing with its triangular grid. Unpainted sections of lawn provide walking paths, and equilateral triangles lined in pink define spaces for people to sit, separated by six feet of distance.

For many Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci quickly became the face of trust and reason against the coronavirus pandemic. He was a reliable man of science while the Trump White House often played politics in its decision-making.

Updated June 4, 2021 at 6:27 PM ET

Amazon is building a wireless network – using your internet bandwidth.

It's called Amazon Sidewalk, and the company touts it as a way to help its devices work better, by extending the range of low-bandwidth devices to help them stay online.

It does that by pooling neighbors' bandwidth to help connectivity for devices that are out of range.

A cargo ship carrying chemicals and plastic pellets has been burning off the coast of Sri Lanka for nearly two weeks. Now, efforts to tow the ship to deeper waters have failed – and the boat's sinking looks increasingly likely.

The ship, the X-Press Pearl, was carrying 1,486 containers. Eighty-one of those were dangerous goods containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid. At least one container has leaked nitric acid.

Updated May 20, 2021 at 6:19 PM ET

Israeli and Hamas have accepted a cease-fire plan that was to take effect at 2 a.m. local time Friday after 11 days of fighting in Gaza.

The Israeli Cabinet voted to accept an Egyptian initiative for a cease-fire, according to a statement from the Cabinet. A Hamas spokesman said, "The Palestinian resistance will commit itself to this deal as long as the occupation is committed."

We're likely to see an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic this year, according to the latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

South Carolina's Republican governor signed a bill into law last week that sounds like it's from a different century: Death row inmates must choose whether to be executed by the electric chair or a firing squad if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

When the CDC announced on Thursday that fully vaccinated people can safely take off their masks in most settings, one group that did not necessarily breathe a sigh of relief was the parents of young children.

Some noted that the CDC's new guidance does not have any specific advice for vaccinated parents with unvaccinated kids in their households.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced new guidance that fully vaccinated people can safely do most indoor and outdoor activities without wearing masks or social distancing.

But much of the transportation sector still operates on pandemic-era rules. Here's what is and isn't changed by the updated guidance.

What does the new guidance mean for mask requirements on public transit and air travel?

Updated May 13, 2021 at 5:49 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fully vaccinated adults can safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing, in gatherings large or small. The announcement marks a major milestone in the effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance Thursday.

"You can do things you stopped doing because of the pandemic," Walensky said.

Updated May 12, 2021 at 7:20 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be given to adolescents ages 12-15.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky issued a statement saying, "The CDC now recommends the vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away."

Updated April 29, 2021 at 5:15 PM ET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is moving to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, based on the evidence of the addictiveness and harm of the products. Tobacco companies have long targeted African Americans with advertising for menthol cigarettes.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has asked the U.S. Department of Justice for a formal review of racial bias in the city's police force.

Ginther and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein spoke with Justice Department Acting Deputy Director Robert Chapman about the city's police on Monday.

Updated April 28, 2021 at 3:45 PM ET

A judge in North Carolina ordered law enforcement body camera footage of the death of Andrew Brown Jr. disclosed to his family, but not released to the public until completion of a state investigation into Brown's death.

Judge Jeffrey Foster ordered the videos disclosed to Brown's family within 10 days.

A Georgia sheriff has been indicted on federal civil rights charges, including charges that he approved a policy to use chair restraints.

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill faces four charges that he deprived detainees of the right to due process and freedom from use of unreasonable force by law enforcement, amounting to punishment. The offenses "caused physical pain and resulted in bodily injury" to the four detainees during incidents described in court documents.

Updated April 23, 2021 at 7:16 PM ET

Use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is allowed again now that a panel of experts has voted to put it back in distribution despite rare blood clotting problems.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday after the panel voted that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, and its benefits outweigh the known risks.

The potential lasting effects of COVID-19 infection are many — and people with more severe initial infections are at greater risk for long-term complications, according to a study published Thursday in Nature.

The study, thought to be the largest post-acute COVID-19 study to date, sheds more light on the lingering effects of COVID-19 known as "long COVID."

Peeling paint. Cracked buckets. Employees dragging unsealed bags of medical waste. Procedures ignored. Inadequately trained staff.

Updated April 20, 2021 at 5:37 PM ET

The jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial has been one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory, setting off a national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism even before the trial commenced.

Chauvin, 45, has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Updated April 19, 2021 at 4:11 PM ET

The defense made its closing arguments Monday in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial in the death of George Floyd.

Chauvin is facing counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Defense lawyer Eric Nelson began by discussing the presumption of innocence and the state's burden of proving Chauvin's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 12:48 PM ET

Testimony ended Thursday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The defendant said he will not testify in his defense in the trial and would invoke his Fifth Amendment right.

Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd's death after he held his knee on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds on Memorial Day last year.

An expert advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided Wednesday it needed more time to consider whether to recommend to resume administering the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson.

The defense called on Officer Peter Chang of the Minneapolis Park Police to testify in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who is on trial on murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.

Chang was stationed at a nearby park last May 25 when he heard a dispatch on his radio asking for assistance. He was one of the closer officers to Cup Foods, so he went to the scene.

It's common for park police to assist Minneapolis city police, Chang said, and explained that officers in both forces attend the same police academy.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's attorney called on Shawanda Hill to testify on Tuesday morning. Chauvin is on trial on murder and manslaughter charges in George Floyd's death.

Hill told the court she was at the Cup Foods store last May 25 when she ran into Floyd, whom she knew. She described his behavior as "happy, normal, talking, alert."

She said Floyd offered to give her a ride to her house, and she went with him to the car he was driving.

Updated April 13, 2021 at 12:52 PM ET

The defense of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin began presenting its case on Tuesday over the killing of George Floyd.

The first witness for the defense was former Minneapolis police officer Scott Creighton. The defense showed Creighton's bodycam footage from a traffic stop in May 2019, in which the passenger of the car was Floyd.

Updated April 12, 2021 at 4:12 PM ET

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's younger brother, took the witness stand on Monday to testify in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Philonise Floyd, 39, lives in Houston, where he is married with two children.

Testifying for the prosecution, he reflected on a childhood in Houston with his oldest brother George as the two played Tecmo Bowl and Double Dribble on Nintendo.

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