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.

A Russian-made Aeroflot plane made a hard emergency landing in Moscow on Sunday before bursting into flames, killing 41 of the 78 people on board.

Video footage showed the rocky crash landing as the jet bounced several times on the runway before its rear portion was engulfed by flames. Other video showed passengers escaping on the plane's emergency inflated slides as firetrucks raced to the scene.

Updated April 18 at 10:35 a.m. ET

The Writers Guild of America is suing four of Hollywood's biggest talent agencies in a fight over writers' wages — and whether agents are keeping too much of the pie for themselves.

The guild, along with eight writers including The Wire creator David Simon, filed the complaint in California superior court. They are suing William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency and ICM Partners.

Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET

Actress Georgia Engel, whose winning role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show led to a long career on-screen, has died at age 70.

From 1972 to 1977, Engel played sweet, artless Georgette, the girlfriend and then wife of arrogant news anchor Ted Baxter. She explained how the role that cemented her career came to be, in a 2007 interview with the Toronto Star.

Updated at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would seek a change in her country's gun laws after at least one man opened fire during afternoon prayers Friday and killed at least 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

"Our gun laws will change," Ardern declared in a news conference Saturday morning local time.

The violent attack struck at the very heart of New Zealand, a country that prides itself on being both peaceful and diverse.

Updated at 5:48 p.m. ET

The Federal Aviation Administration says it is temporarily grounding all Boeing 737 Max aircraft operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory.

The announcement Wednesday afternoon follows decisions by many other countries to ground the planes after 157 people died in Sunday's crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will seek to end federal protections for the gray wolf throughout the lower 48 states, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the Fish and Wildlife Service said it will propose a rule to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list and "return management of the species to the states and tribes." That means states would be able to make their own rules about hunting and culling of gray wolf populations.

Peter Tork Of The Monkees Dies At 77

Feb 22, 2019

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

Peter Tork, a member of the 1960s moptopped TV rock quartet the Monkees, died Thursday. He was 77.

His death was announced on his official Facebook page and website. "Peter succumbed to a 10 year bout with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands," it read.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

Travelers experienced significant flight delays at New York's LaGuardia Airport and at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday due to a shortage of air traffic control center workers. Philadelphia International Airport also saw slight staffing-related delays.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the parent company of California's largest utility, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid what could be billions of dollars in liability costs over the massive wildfires that have torn through California in recent years.

A week after a white referee told a black high school wrestler that he needed to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match, the referee has been suspended. But people in town — and on social media — are asking why other adults didn't do more to prevent what happened: A school official cut the student's hair as the crowd watched and the clock ticked down.

First came the eruption. Then, the quake.

An overnight earthquake, triggered by Mount Etna's eruption two days ago, caused injuries and damage in Eastern Sicily early Wednesday morning. The volcano has been spewing ash and lava has flowed down its slopes since it began erupting on Monday.

Updated Dec. 26, 2018 at 1:37 p.m. ET

If you didn't catch this year's Miss Universe competition — that's just fine.

But you missed a few happenings at the pageant in Bangkok, which crowned Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray, the winner Monday morning local time.

Miss Spain makes history

Spain's Angela Ponce became the competition's first transgender contestant. A model from Seville, Ponce beat 22 other contestants to be named Miss Spain.

Are New Yorkers too demanding or are they simply people who speak up when they see a better way? Let's take a look at a story about some Christmas decorations, and you be the judge.

There are hundreds of statues in New York City. But once you remove the ones in which female figures represent Liberty, Freedom, etc., just five sculptures depict actual historical women. (In case you're wondering: Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman.)

A Colorado man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to murdering his wife and two daughters.

Christopher Watts, 33, was sentenced to three consecutive life terms, with an additional 12 years each for tampering with each body, The Associated Press reports. He also received 48 years for unlawful termination of a pregnancy, as his wife was 15 weeks pregnant when she was killed.

A U.S. soldier was killed Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan, in what authorities are calling an insider attack. The soldier was Major Brent Taylor, and he was both an officer in the Utah National Guard and the mayor of North Ogden, Utah.

Taylor, 39, had been the town's mayor since 2013, and a member of the city council before that. North Ogden is a town of about 19,000 people, a bedroom community 40 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Updated Oct. 31 at 4:34 p.m. ET

Eleven people were killed on Saturday when a gunman entered Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue and opened fire on the congregants. The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97; eight were men, three were women. Two of them were brothers, and two were a married couple.

Chuck Diamond was a rabbi at Tree of Life until about a year ago, and he remains a member of the community, living just around the corner from the synagogue. He knew many of the victims.

In what may be the most significant tech acquisition of the year, IBM says it will acquire open-source software company Red Hat for approximately $34 billion.

Under the terms of the deal announced Sunday, IBM will acquire Red Hat for $190 a share — a premium of more than 60 percent over Red Hat's closing price of $116.68 on Friday.

A large group of mostly Honduran refugees, reportedly numbering into the thousands, has crossed into Guatemala in a caravan that is believed headed to the U.S. border.

Hundreds of migrants have arrived at the Guatemalan border town of Tecún Umán, along the southern border of Mexico, James Fredrick reports for NPR. Organizers of the caravan say they are waiting for thousands more to join them in the coming days, before attempting to cross the Mexican border.

It's the end of an era on Sesame Street: The man who has given voice and life to Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for nearly 50 years is hanging up his big orange legs.

Caroll Spinney, 84, has performed the roles since the show's very first episode in 1969. He had met Jim Henson at a puppetry festival in 1962, and Henson invited him to be a part of this new show he was creating.

For immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, it can be difficult to get a valid identification card. Now there's one very old organization trying to make it easier: the Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced Wednesday that its parishioners will now be able to get an ID card that shows name, address and data of birth, accompanied by the parish logo. While the cards clearly state they aren't government-issued IDs, the city of Baltimore and its police department say they will recognize the cards as an official form of identification.

Updated 4:55 p.m. ET

Nikki Haley is resigning as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and will leave the Trump administration at the end of the year, she said Tuesday.

It is not immediately clear what prompted the move. She informed her staff Tuesday, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

Haley appeared with President Trump on Tuesday morning at the Oval Office, where he called her a "fantastic person" and said Haley had told him six months ago that she might take time off at the end of the year.

Updated at 3:45 pm ET

The Department of Health and Human Services says it is reviewing all medical research involving human fetal tissue.

A report on clerical sexual abuse in Germany released Tuesday found thousands of cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics in the Catholic Church between 1946 and 2014 — and warns that the actual number is surely higher.

The study looked at more than 38,000 sets of personnel records from the country's dioceses, as well as criminal records and interviews with those who say they were abused and clerics accused of abuse.

A California doctor and his girlfriend have been charged with drugging and then sexually assaulting two women – and video evidence suggests there could be hundreds of other women who may not realize they were victims.

As floodwaters from former-Hurricane Florence's massive rains continue to flow through the Carolinas, the end of the storm's damage is nowhere in sight.

CBS News says that 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager is out of a job.

His departure is effective immediately, the company said in a tweet. The announcement comes just days after news that CEO Leslie Moonves was leaving amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

Celebrations by India's LGBTQ community stretched into the night Thursday, after the country's Supreme Court struck down a long-standing ban on gay sex in a unanimous decision that marks a watershed in the socially conservative country of 1.3 billion people.

It is a landmark ruling in a nation where attitudes about gays and lesbians are beginning to change — and the decision points to more questions of how India will extend equal protections to the LGBTQ community.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will no longer receive medical treatment, his family announced Friday. The 81-year-old senator has been battling brain cancer for more than a year, since announcing last July that he had been diagnosed with an aggressive tumor called a glioblastoma.

In the Altai mountains of southern Siberia, there's a cave that was inhabited for millennia. It's called Denisova, and it shelters something remarkable: the bones of different types of ancient human relatives.

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