Scott Simon

From Ground Zero in New York to ground zero in Kabul, to police stations, subway platforms, and darkened theaters, NPR's Peabody-Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon brings a well-traveled perspective to his role as host of Weekend Edition Saturday.

Simon joined NPR in 1977 as chief of its Chicago bureau. Since then, he has reported from all 50 states, covered presidential campaigns and eight wars, and reported from Central America, Africa, India, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. In 2002, Simon took leave of his usual post at Weekend Edition Saturday to cover the war in Afghanistan for NPR. He has also reported from Central America on the continuing wars in that region; from Cuba on the nation's resistance to change; from Ethiopia on the country's famine and prolonged civil war; from the Middle East during the Gulf War; and from the siege of Sarajevo and the destruction of Kosovo.

Simon has received numerous honors for his reporting. His work was part of the Overseas Press Club and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards NPR earned for coverage of Sept. 11 and its aftermath. He was part of the NPR news teams that won prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for covering the war in Kosovo as well as the Gulf War. In 1989, he won a George Foster Peabody Award for his weekly radio essays. The award commended him for his sensitivity and literary style in coverage of events including the murder of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador and the San Francisco earthquake. Simon also accepted the Presidential End Hunger Award for his series of reports on the 1987-1988 Ethiopian civil war and drought. He received a 1986 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his coverage of racism in a South Philadelphia neighborhood, and a 1986 Silver Cindy for a report on conditions at the Immigration and Naturalization Service's detention center in Harlingen, Texas.

Simon received a Major Armstrong Award in 1979 for his coverage of the American Nazi Party rally in Chicago, and a Unity Award in Media in 1978 for his political reporting on All Things Considered. He also won a 1982 Emmy for the public television documentary The Patterson Project, which examined the effects of President Reagan's budget cuts on the lives of 12 New Jersey residents.

Simon has been a frequent guest host of the CBS television program Nightwatch and CNBC's TalkBack Live. In addition to hosting Weekend Edition Saturday, Simon has appeared as an essayist and commentator on NBC's Weekend Today and NOW with Bill Moyers. He has hosted many public television programs, including "Voices of Vision," "Life on the Internet," "State of Mind," "American Pie," "Search for Common Ground," and specials on privacy in America and democracy in the Middle East. He also narrated the documentary film "Lincoln of Illinois" for PBS. Simon participated in the Grammy Award-nominated 50th anniversary remake of The War of the Worlds (co-starring Jason Robards), and hosted public television's coverage of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Simon has hosted the BBC series Eyewitness, which was seen in the United States on the Discovery Channel, and a BBC special on the White House press corps. Simon was also a featured co-anchor of PBS's millennium special broadcast in 2000.

Simon has written for The New York Times' Book Review and Opinion sections, the Wall Street Journal opinion page, the Los Angeles Times, and Gourmet Magazine.

The son of comedian Ernie Simon and actress Patricia Lyons, Simon grew up in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Cleveland, and Washington, DC. He attended the University of Chicago and McGill University, and he has received a number of honorary degrees.

Simon's book Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan was published in the spring of 2000 by Hyperion, a division of Disney. It topped the Los Angeles Times nonfiction bestseller list for several weeks, and was cited as one of the best books of the year in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and several other publications. His second book, Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, kicked off the prestigious Wiley Turning Points series in September of 2002, and was the Barnes & Noble "Sports Book of the Year." Simon's first novel, Pretty Birds, about female teenaged snipers in Sarajevo, was released in May 2005 and acclaimed as "the start of a brilliant new career." His most recent novel, a political comedy called Windy City, was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the best novels of 2008.

Simon is married to Caroline Richard. They have two daughters, Elise and Lina. His hobbies include Mexican cooking, ballet, book collecting, and living and dying for the Chicago Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls (and now, as a token of affection for his wife, the French national soccer team).

When I covered the siege of Sarajevo, I heard stories about a slim, tall renegade Saudi prince who reportedly went there a couple of times bearing sacks of money.

"Our Muslim brothers are being killed, our women raped, our children massacred, all under the eye of the United Nations," the prince was said to have declared. "The West sends Blue Helmets and dried beans. We bring you guns and men."

It wasn't until later in the 1990s that I learned he was Osama bin Laden.

I think people in war zones sometimes speak more freely to photographers than they do to reporters. Microphones and notepads can make people conscious of what they're saying. But photographers can talk to them as people, not names in their stories. Photographers ask things like, "Do you have children? Do you like Katy Perry?" instead of, "What political faction do you belong to?"

A couple of great photographers died in a rocket attack of government forces on Misrata, Libya, this week.

I've voted nine times already today and I'm exhausted.

I've voted for my favorite news story of the day. I've voted for my favorite western movies — once for Shane, once for Blazing Saddles. Yeah, the campfire scene.

When Derrick Lemon was 8 years old in 1994, he saw two boys throw his 5-year-old brother, Eric Morse, out of a window of the Chicago housing project in which they lived.

Derrick tried to stop them. But the boys bit and scratched him. He ran down 14 flights of stairs to try to catch his little brother. But Eric died.

The boys, who were 10 and 11, also stabbed and beat Eric and became the youngest people in U.S. history to be jailed for murder.

The Bronx Zoo cobra is back in the house.

The 2-foot-long Egyptian cobra that disappeared from its cage in the reptile house of the Bronx Zoo last week was discovered on Thursday coiled in a cool, dark corner.

Zoo officials said she is in good condition and had "no obvious bulges." So despite all the comic fancies many of us had of the uncaged young cobra snacking on big salted pretzels and cheese blintzes, the snake apparently ate nothing for days. Snakes do that.

It never left the reptile house, much less the Bronx.

When Richard Burton first took up with his co-star in Cleopatra, he claimed to be astonished at how famous she was. "She knocks Khrushchev off the bloody front page!"

When Elizabeth Taylor — or, as many remembrances, including this one, I suppose, couldn't resist putting it, Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky — died this week at the age of 79, she shared the front page with an earthquake, a nuclear crisis, and rising revolutions.

Elizabeth Taylor never lost top billing.

A news crew from Fuji TV saw a couple of dogs this week, lying in the wreckage of Mito, Japan.

A dog with brown and white splotches seemed to hover over one with gray, black and white splotches. Both dogs looked grimy. The second dog didn't seem to move.

When the dog with brown and white splotches came toward the crew, they thought it was warning them to stay away. But it returned to the other dog, and put a paw on its head.

Then they understood: the dog was sticking by his friend, and asking for help.

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