Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Who Were You When JFK Was Shot?

A composite image of Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Randall Kennedy and James Billington.
Courtesy of Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Randall Kennedy and James Billington

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:53 pm

The usual question for Americans on an Anniversary of National Significance is: Where Were You When...?

Where Were You When you learned that: Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot on April 4 in 1968? Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 21, 1969? The twin towers of the World Trade Center were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001?

But there is another question of orientation: Who Were You When ... a certain nation-changing event occurred?

This is who I was — 50 years ago this month — when I heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

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The Protojournalist
1:04 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Peak Halloween: Is The Holiday Over The Hill?

Barbara Helgason iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 3:13 pm

Is Halloween — our national October obsession with candy, costumes and decorations — over and done?

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Haiku In The News: Reality In Riyadh

A Saudi woman walks past vehicles stopping at a traffic light in Riyadh, where there is a government ban on women driving.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:15 pm

Poetry is important. And the hope for this standing feature of The Protojournalist is that by searching for a poetic nugget in the constant rush of news we can slow down for a moment and contemplate what the news story really means.

Like finding a lovely pebble in a mountain stream. Or a dropped earring on a crowded sidewalk.

Haiku in the News — you can find other examples here — is not designed to be a trivial thing.

Gray Lady Poems

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The Protojournalist
10:56 am
Tue October 15, 2013

How To Build Trust From Mistrust

House Speaker John Boehner listens as President Obama delivers a statement on Syria during a meeting with members of Congress at the White House on Sept. 3.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:31 am

Looking beyond the shutdown and debt ceiling stalemates, CNN's John King said on TV Monday night that distrust among all parties in Washington is "deep and multilayered."

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The Protojournalist
9:32 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Things Are Getting Ugly

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 9:41 am

Ugly is everywhere. There are Ugly Dog pageants, Ugly Sweater sites and Ugly Sofa contests. Taking Ugly-Faced selfies is an online phenomenon. Could ugly be the new beautiful?

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The Protojournalist
10:12 am
Wed October 2, 2013

The 1,000-Year Calendar: Mark These Dates

In the futuristic books, movies, songs and video games that abound, there is an overabundance of speculation about the distant future.

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The Protojournalist
11:15 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Why Are Most Rampage Shooters Men?

A makeshift memorial hangs on a lamp post across the street from the Washington Navy Yard, on Sept. 20.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 12:29 pm

Aaron Alexis, the man who police say killed more than a dozen people at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16, has joined a heinous parade of mass murdering shooters, nearly all men.

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The Protojournalist
9:57 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Are There Too Many 'Hillionaires' In Washington?

House Oversight Committee chairman and megamillionaire Darrell Issa is reportedly worth more than $355 million.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 10:08 am

Capitol Hill is rife with rich people — "hillionaires," if you will.

Writing in The New York Times, Nicholas Carnes, a public policy professor at Duke University, points out that millionaires show up in only 3 percent of American families. But more than 60 percent of the Senate, most members of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court — and the president himself — are millionaires.

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The Protojournalist
1:24 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Haiku In The News: The New $100 Bill

Mark Wilson Getty Images

"It's certainly one

of the most valuable

bills to counterfeit."

Currency expert Ben Mazzotta of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, speaking to CBSMiami/CNN about the U.S. Treasury Department's efforts to create a newly designed $100 note that is more difficult to replicate.

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The Protojournalist
10:43 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Quick Question: Can Only The Rich Be President?

Donald Trump says he is considering running for president in 2016.
Robin Marchant Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 11:31 am

Do you have to be rich to be president of the United States of America?

Donald Trump told ABC News recently that he might run for president in 2016 and that he is qualified because, among other reasons, he has amassed a net worth of more than $10 billion. "I'd spend a lot" on a campaign, he says. "I'd spend whatever it took."

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Sat August 31, 2013

The Rise And Fall Of Slackers

iStock

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 10:15 am

As we pause this Labor Day weekend to celebrate the Great American Worker, we can't help but wonder: Whatever happened to the Great American Slacker?

It wasn't that long ago that slackers ruled the earth. OK, maybe ruled is a bit over the top because slackers, by definition, didn't really rule — or try very hard or take full responsibility. Whatever. But they sure were omnipresent there for a while.

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The Protojournalist
10:29 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Baseball Danger: An Instant Conversation

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals gestures toward the pitcher after being hit by a pitch in a game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on Aug. 6 in Washington, D.C.
Greg Fiume Getty Images

Starter: You know, with all the talk in recent years of "bounty hits" — tackles designed to knock opposing players out of professional football games — among players in the NFL, it may be easy to forget that professional baseball players have a similar system that, in a way, could be even more dangerous: It's called retaliation.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Elevator Pitch: Why Care About Washington?

wbeem via Flickr

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 9:24 am

­­My friend Mark Leibovich — a New York Times reporter — has written a book about the inner watchworkings of Power Washington called This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Capital. Among the incestuous cognoscenti of the Capital City, This Town has more buzz than a top-bar beehive.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Mon July 8, 2013

The Life Of Paula Deen: In A Four-Course Menu

Cooking show host Paula Deen visits FOX Studios in December.
Slaven Vlasic Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 1:19 pm

Appetizer: Hogs In A Sleeping Bag

These hearty kielbasas, partially hidden in puff pastries, represent Paula Deen's first catering company The Bag Lady — begun in 1989. It offered "lunch and love" ... in a bag.

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The Protojournalist
11:24 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Haiku In The News: Obama In Berlin

Sean Gallup Getty Images

"Citizens who choose ...

To be defined by a wall,

or ... to tear it down. "

From Remarks by President Obama at the Brandenburg Gate. June 19, 2013.

****

(If you find examples of Haiku in the News, please send them to: protojournalist@npr.org)

The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Sun June 16, 2013

World's Shortest Business Brief: The Smoffice

The World's Smallest Office competition is over. But will the Smoffice create jobs?

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Protojournalist
9:59 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Dear NSA: Please Read This Email

Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 12:19 pm

To: The National Security Agency

From: The Protojournalist

Subject: Please feel free to read our email exchange with Wendy Nather, a high-tech analyst who focuses on security issues at 451 Research in Austin, Texas. Not that you need our permission.

Dear Wendy Nather,

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Politics
11:31 am
Wed April 24, 2013

How About You Be The Decider

A portion of an exhibit is shown in the museum area at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas on April 16. The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which includes the library, museum and policy institute, will be dedicated Thursday at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Benny Snyder AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 3:37 pm

You think you're so smart. You think it's easy being the president of the United States. OK, pal — here's your chance.

One of the attractions of the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas — scheduled to be dedicated on Thursday — is Decision Points Theater, an interactive experience. The venue allows visitors to participate in a simplified simulation of the presidential decision-making process.

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U.S.
10:56 am
Wed April 17, 2013

What Boston Means To America

Faneuil Hall, in downtown Boston, was built in the 1740s.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:20 pm

As a city, Boston is at the crux of this country's past, present and future.

This was brought home on April 15 — Tax Day, Patriots Day, Marathon Day — when two deadly bombs exploded on historic Boylston Street near the finish line of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.

The tragic blasts occurred so close to the Boston Public Library that the building — home to the personal book collection of Founding Father John Adams — is included in the crime scene.

The bombs struck at the very heart of the heart of America.

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Politics
2:01 pm
Sun April 14, 2013

A Brief History Of Secret Recordings

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the latest victim in what has become a tradition in American politics.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 7:57 am

Secret recordings are becoming a tradition in American politics.

Like buttons, bunting and backslapping at barbecues, surreptitious audio and/or video surprises continue to pop up in political settings — with more and more frequency.

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History
10:56 am
Sat April 6, 2013

The First Gun In America

A Spanish soldier aiming an arquebus in the New World, late 1500s. Hand-colored 19th-century woodcut reproduction of an earlier illustration.
North Wind Picture Archives AP

Originally published on Sat April 6, 2013 11:52 am

Guns and America were born around the same time and grew up together. Like feuding cousins, their histories have been linked ever since.

Often helpful in American history — and often harmful — the portable gun has been inarguably influential in the national direction. The American Revolution would not have been won without guns. Precious lives at numerous school shootings would not have been lost without guns. And somewhere in between those two truisms lies the truth about what Americans really feel about firearms.

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Around the Nation
10:00 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Maybe We Should Retire The Word 'Retire'

The official portrait of retirement has changed, and it didn't change to this.
iStockphoto.com

Retirement ads are everywhere these days. The Villages lures retirees to come live, love and golf in Florida. USAA offers financial counsel to retiring military personnel.

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It's All Politics
11:03 am
Fri March 15, 2013

The Bush Family Checklist

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks to the media after being named chairman of the National Constitution Center's Board of Trustees Dec. 6 in Philadelphia.
William Thomas Cain Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 3:58 am

And the Bushes just keep on coming.

In recent memory, there was George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. Then there was George W. Bush, 43rd president. And now there's John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, who may want to become the 45th president.

Jeb is sending mixed signals: Tonight he is a keynote speaker at a Conservative Political Action Conference dinner, but he has asked that his name be removed from CPAC's 2016 presidential straw poll.

Does Jeb have what it takes to be the next president of the United States?

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On Aging
9:08 am
Thu March 14, 2013

An Age-Old Problem: Who Is 'Elderly'?

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 11:51 am

When exactly does someone become elderly?

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Pop Culture
10:42 am
Fri March 1, 2013

V Reasons To Love Roman Numerals

The Roman numerals for NFL Super Bowl XLVII float on the Mississippi River on Feb. 2 in New Orleans.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 7:55 pm

Pope Benedict XVI has left the Vatican.

Love the Catholic Church or not, you have to admit the Roman numerals following a pope's name are distinctive. They set the pope apart from the rest of humankind. (As if he needs it.)

Roman numerals always stand out. In an increasingly computer-driven world run by the numbers — population totals, unemployment figures, mortgage payments, health care bills, credit card codes, "the last four of your social" — the occasional brash appearance of an X or an MCM can be surprising and sometimes a little unsettling.

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Governing
2:14 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

5...4...3...2...1... We Have Sequestration

Some countdowns, like the one for the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2006, are credible and some are not. But they all contribute to the Countdown Effect.
Pete Cosgrove AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 8:57 am

Only a few more hours until the sequestration is scheduled to kick in. You can feel the tension. The anxiety. The pre-panic attack.

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Politics
1:41 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

It's A Trap! 4 Possible Presidential Pitfalls

U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower relaxes at the 18th hole during a golf game in Newport, R.I., Sept. 10, 1957.
Henry Burroughs AP

You are Barack Obama and you find yourself hacking away in the weeds of sequestration — and some frustration. What's going on?

After all, you won a second term as President of the United States. You withstood the hooks and slices of a nasty campaign. Your approval rating is on the rise. Over President's Day weekend you played golf with Tiger Woods. For an American politician, it probably doesn't get any better than this.

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U.S.
3:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Rethinking The U.S. Presidency: 3 Alternative Realities

President Woodrow Wilson meets with his first Cabinet, circa 1912. Should Cabinets have a more central role in a president's decision making?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Did you pay attention to the State of the Union Address? Were you struck by the countless complexities President Obama has to deal with? The economy. The national budget and deficit. Health care. Tax reform. Education. Jobs. Energy. Climate change. The national infrastructure. Immigration. Gun violence and on and on and on.

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Religion
1:27 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

How To Pick A Pope (With Latin Subtitles)

Black smoke rises from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on April 18, 2005. Black smoke signaled that the cardinals sequestered inside had failed to elect a new pope, after the death of Pope John Paul II.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 7:27 am

For lovers of the lapsed language Latin, the selection of a new pope is an ecstasyfest.

The Roman Catholic Church is so steeped in centuries-old traditions, Pope Benedict XVI announced his surprise retirement on Monday the old-fashioned way — in Latin.

"Fratres carissimi," the Pope's retirement announcement began. Beloved brothers ...

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Politics
8:13 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Eerie Echoes From The First State Of The Union

This print shows George Washington holding a proposed plan for the new capital city of Washington.
Edward Savage Library of Congress

Guns, immigration, support for diplomats abroad, and the nation's financial situation.

These are key issues facing President Obama as he delivers the first State of the Union address of his second term on Tuesday night, Feb. 12.

Surprisingly, these were also key issues facing President George Washington some 223 years ago, when he gave the very first state of the union speech.

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