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
Sat February 15, 2014

What We Might Learn From Snoring Weather Cats

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 4:11 pm

Sometimes it feels like all the fancy meteorological machinery and prognostication equipment is actually working. And that the weather folks may finally be able to predict — albeit with constant updates and countless hedge words — what the weather is going to be.

At least for the next day or so.

But is that good enough?

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Tue February 11, 2014

We Are Just Not Here Anymore

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 2:56 pm

At weddings, guests tweet real-time photos of the festivities to friends far away. At sporting events, fans follow scores of games in other cities. In classrooms, students text with friends in other classes and parents out in the world. At funerals, mourners send out selfies to pals in other places.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Sonic Dictionary: An Aural History Project

Brooke Watson of Duke University gathers sound for the Sonic Dictionary.
Mary Caton Lingold

If you don't know the meaning of a word, says Mary Caton Lingold, you can look it up in the dictionary, but if you don't know what a particular sound sounds like, where do you go? (Besides NPR, of course.)

For instance: What does tobacco harvesting sound like? Or someone clogging? Or a shotgun?

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Mon February 3, 2014

6 Odd College Courses In America

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:21 am

About college courses, actor Tom Hanks recently told The Star-Ledger: "I had thought, oh, college, you have to take chemistry and stuff and sit there slogging through work in the library. And then it was like, wait, you can go to college and study theater? And act in plays? This is almost a racket."

Check the catalogs at colleges these days and you will see that you can study theater, act in plays and explore a whole lot more.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Fixing The NFL: Put Robots In The Super Bowl

Cleatus of Fox Sports
Kevin Lynch FOX Sports

Through one lens, the National Football League — on the threshold of Super Bowl XLVIII — looks to be at the top of its game. Revenues are ridiculously high: more than $9 billion a year, CNN reports. Television ratings are roof-piercing: 34 of the 35 most-watched TV shows of autumn 2013 were NFL games, according to the NFL.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Warning: In Bitter Cold, Beware The 'Umbles'

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:03 pm

Icy vortices, trains of snowstorms, treacherous temperatures — many people are having to learn some harsh lessons about harsh weather.

"When the weather is bitter cold," says Dr. Campbell McLaren, "we have to be vigilant — not just to protect ourselves, but those around us."

And we have to watch out for the "umbles."

As an emergency room doctor in northern New Hampshire, McLaren has specialized in hypothermia and other deleterious effects of extreme cold. He speaks in a Scottish brogue — and by telephone and email, he warns against the umbles.

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The Protojournalist
9:15 am
Wed January 22, 2014

As Time Goes By, What Makes A Movie Timeless?

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. It could become a classic.
Jaap Buitendijk Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:54 pm

Awards season is upon us. And on top of us. And all over us with red carpets, acceptance speeches and actor antics.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Quick Question: Time To Leave Smokers Alone?

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:48 pm

Fifty years ago this month, the landmark U.S. Surgeon General's report linking cigarette smoking and lung cancer was released.

Over the past half-century, America has become more and more inhospitable to people who smoke — and to tobacco companies. In a recent statement, the Department of Health and Human Services declares its desire "to make the next generation tobacco-free."

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Can Amazon's Jeff Bezos Save Planet Earth?

Jeff Bezos.
David Ryder Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:07 am

Look. Up in the sky — and in that little package with the A-to-Z logo. It's a bird. It's a plane.

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The Protojournalist
1:11 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Project Xpat: When Do You Become An 'Immigrant'?

iStockphoto

You are an American living in another country. Are you a tourist? An expatriate? An immigrant?

When does a visitor morph into something more? When does your home-away-from-home become your home?

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The Protojournalist
2:47 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

The Scent Of Pepper Spray Is In The Air

A police officer uses pepper spray on seated Occupy demonstrators at the University of California, Davis, on Nov. 18, 2011.
Thomas K. Fowler AP

Just in the past few days:

  • In Baton Rouge, La., joggers concerned about a recent attack on a runner are carrying pepper spray.
  • In Missoula, Mont., a woman files a complaint against a man for pepper-spraying her golden retriever.
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The Protojournalist
9:29 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Project Xpat: What It Means To Be An Expatriate

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:37 am

When American expatriate Charles Trueheart was young, he lived all over the world — in Ankara, London, Saigon and Paris. His father was an American diplomat.

When Charlie was older, he moved back to the U.S. He went to college at Amherst. Eventually, he and his wife, Anne Swardson, became international correspondents for The Washington Post.

I was Charlie's editor at the Post for several stories. He is a lovely writer and a good friend.

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The Protojournalist
9:39 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Quick Question: Is Cyber Monday Passe?

Marek Uliasz iStock

Cyber Monday. The phrase seems so quaint. Like floppy disk. Or information superhighway.

But the idea of making a big deal about everybody shopping online on a given day seems even more quaint.

So quick question: Is the notion of Cyber Monday passe?

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The Protojournalist
4:08 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Project Xpat: Thank You For Posting

Turkey of Thanksgiving in Kazakhstan.
Patricia Cullinane

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:36 am

Thanksgiving — like the universe — is expanding.

Traditionally a time for Americans to pause and give thanks to a Supreme Being — for health or harvest or happenstance, Thanksgiving is evolving before our very eyes into a holiday where we give thanks to each other as well.

Just this week we received Thanksgiving-themed thank-you notes from a doctor's office, a lawyers' association, a New Jersey congressman and others. Can Thanksgiving-themed gift cards be far behind?

It's not a bad idea. Saying thank you to more people.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Project Xpat: An Air Force Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 101: Young students from around the world get a taste of the American tradition.
Sarah Kinzer

Thanking members of the U.S. military for their service is an American tradition – throughout the year. But what do those who are on the receiving end of our thanks have to be thankful for at Thanksgiving?

From somewhere in Southwest Asia, American expat Sarah Kinzer writes: "We are U.S. Air Force overseas... Due to host nation sensitivities I can't tell you a city — or country — but you can say we are stationed with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing."

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Project Xpat: Thanksgiving Up, Down Under

Baby Partington
Susan Partington

For some expatriates there comes a point of surrender. Keeping the back-home traditions becomes too much trouble. Or the allures of the host country become too strong. Call it Thanksgiving Up.

Such is the case for Susan Partington who lives with her family in Gisborne, New Zealand. "After seven years down under, I've completely given up on the traditional foods. Spending a Thursday cooking lots of hot food during summer is absurd."

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The Protojournalist
1:33 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Project Xpat: A Globetrotter's Thanksgiving

November in Nepal: a ceremonial candle.
Sarita Fae Jarmack

If you can't be with the holiday you love, love the holiday you're with.

Sarita Fae Jarmack, 25, who grew up in the United States, has already traveled to some 30 countries. Roaming the wide world over, she has discovered that it can sometimes be quite difficult — even on this interconnected planet — to touch base with her childhood traditions.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Project Xpat: A Seoul Food Holiday

Jessica Osborne, in green sweater, celebrates Thanksgiving with friends in Seoul.
Haley Wan

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 11:31 am

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is more about people than pumpkin pie.

And for many Americans observing the special day in other countries — since pumpkin pie can be hard to come by — the people around them play a more prominent role.

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The Protojournalist
1:33 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Project XPat: Turkey Ball In Djibouti

Baseball in Djibouti
Rachel Pieh Jones

Here in the States, many folks play American-made football — touch, not tackle — on Thanksgiving Day after the megameal.

But in other parts of the world, no one will be the wiser if you make a substitution — and play American-made baseball. Turkey Ball instead of Turkey Bowl, perhaps?

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Project Xpat: No Tinned Pumpkin

Rowan Crutchlow, at age 3, helping to make her great-grandmother's pie cust.
Kelly Crutchlow

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 10:00 am

Recipes, like memories, transcend place and time. Wherever American Kelly Crutchlow lives, she brings along remembrances of her family and their ways of observing Thanksgiving.

Today Kelly, who is originally from Iowa, is living near Coventry, England, with her British husband, Adam, and their two children, Rowan, 4, and Ewan, 2.

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The Protojournalist
1:33 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Project Xpat: Not So Chilly In Chile

A circle of Thanksgiving celebrants in Santiago, Chile.
Amy Bell

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 2:21 pm

As American expatriate Amy Bell points out, a Thanksgiving celebration does not always depend on falling leaves and falling temperatures. It depends on being full of thanks.

In Chile, Thanksgiving "falls on the brink of summertime," says Amy, a science teacher at an international school in Santiago. "Unfortunately, we don't have the day off from work, so my crew of American expats gather on the following Saturday to enjoy a full day of eating, drinking and gratitude."

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Project Xpat: Homage In Catalonia

Janine Denny of New York readies the Thanksgiving table in Spain
Regan Watson

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 1:16 pm

Sometimes you carry Old Thanksgiving Traditions with you around the world; sometimes you make up Old Thanksgiving Traditions right on the spot.

Regan Watson — an American expat from San Diego now living in Barcelona, Spain — and her friends are creating a few rituals that we homelanders might want to consider.

"For years I had hosted Thanksgiving at my shared Barcelona apartment," Regan says, but "my oven was a bit too small for the 9-kilo turkey that I had to special order."

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The Protojournalist
3:24 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Project Xpat: Thanksgiving In Faraway Lands

Evy Gedlinske, last Thanksgiving.
Michelle Lin

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 9:29 am

For many Americans, the Thanksgiving holiday – with its site-specific sounds, smells, tastes, colors and rituals – is a meaningful, memory-making must-do kind of thing.

Even – maybe, especially – for those Americans living in other countries.

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Project Xpat: Exploring The Expatriate Life

Expatriate Ernest Hemingway, 1923
National Archives, via Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:20 pm

Funny thing about being an American living away from America: It makes you think more about what it means to be an American.

But which is the dominant sentiment? Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Or out of sight, out of mind? The answer depends on a lot of variables.

Over the years, various people and projects have explored those variables: the mechanics and meanings of expatriation.

One of America's most notable expatriates, novelist Ernest Hemingway, examined the notion from many angles in the 1920s.

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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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