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Paul Brown 2010

Paul Brown

As a newscaster and reporter for NPR, Paul Brown handles an ever-changing combination of on-air, reporting, editing and producing tasks with skills he developed over 30 years working in radio and print journalism.

A general assignment newscast journalist with a world beat, Brown reports on breaking news, ongoing stories, and the broad range of issues that make up each newscast. His tools include phone interviews, on-scene reporting, and research. He files produced reports (called "spots") and engages in live on-air discussions with newscasters.

Brown's role in the Newscast unit has evolved from news anchor with some reporting responsibilities to a reporter filling in for newscasters on leave. Brown was NPR's executive producer for weekend programming from 2001 to 2003. He served temporary stints as executive producer and senior producer of NPR's Talk of the Nation, and as senior producer at NPR's Morning Edition.

Before joining NPR fulltime in 2001, Brown worked as a freelance reporter and music producer. Prior to that, he spent nearly 13 years at NPR member station WFDD in Winston-Salem, NC as production manager, news director, and program director. He filed reports regularly for NPR on topics ranging from business to politics to cultural affairs. He produced and hosted a popular Southern culture and music program.

Brown won a National Federation of Community Broadcasters Silver Reel Award for his NPR music documentary "Breaking Up Christmas: A Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday." He won an AP Enterprise Reporting award for his coverage of the changing lives of tobacco factory workers at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In 2000, he was the sound recording engineer for the Preserving Living Traditions project in Tibet, which documented music and disappearing languages.

A banjo, guitar and fiddle player, Brown has documented traditional music in southwestern Virginia and northwest North Carolina. He continues to record and document music, produce albums, and present and teach traditional music in programs featuring its historical and cultural contexts. He was executive editor and presenter of the 2003 series "Honky Tonks, Hymns & the Blues" on NPR's Morning Edition.

  • There might be no bluegrass music as we know it without Wade Mainer.
  • In the South this time of year, rural communities gather to clean and decorate their local cemeteries. It's a tradition called "Decoration Day," and not surprisingly, it's thought to be the inspiration for Memorial Day. NPR's Paul Brown reports.
  • Radio station owner Ralph Epperson kept the twangy sound of live bluegrass, old-time gospel and mountain music cruising over the airwaves from his North Carolina radio station WPAQ long after other broadcasters had stopped. Epperson died Wednesday at age 85.
  • Zacarias Moussaoui is transported to the federal Supermax prison in Colorado to begin serving a life term for his role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Fellow inmates include Ted Kaczynski, Ramzi Yousef, Eric Rudolph and Terry Nichols.
  • The former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency appears before a Senate panel Friday. Michael Brown said his agency's effectiveness was undermined when it was made part of the Homeland Security Department.
  • President Bush confirms he authorized secret domestic eavesdropping by the National Security Agency. But he lashed out at those who object, saying the spying is aimed only at people believed to have a clear link to terrorist organizations.
  • Three U.N. workers kidnapped in Afghanistan are freed. Afghan Interior Minister Ahmad Jalali made the announcement Tuesday. The workers were helping with the Afghan election won by incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Hear NPR's Paul Brown.
  • More than 30 people are killed in blasts targeting U.S. military convoys in the Baghdad area. A car bombing outside the mayor's office in the Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad, kills two Iraqis and one U.S. soldier. In Fallujah, three Iraqis are reported killed in a U.S. air strike. Hear NPR's Paul Brown.
  • In Part 10 of our series on the roots of American country music, NPR's Paul Brown tells the story of Bob Wills. The fiddler grew up in a family of fiddlers in the cultural mixing bowl of the American southwest. He went on to lead a band that mixed breakdowns, big band swing, blues and square dance music — a style that came to be called Western swing.
  • In the latest installment of the series "Honky Tonk, Hymns and the Blues," NPR's Paul Brown explores the origins of the country fiddle — from Eck Robertson to the very word, "fiddle." Paul also explains why it's called "the Devil's box."