Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

As the NPR Ethics Handbook states, the Standards & Practices editor is "charged with cultivating an ethical culture throughout our news operation. This means he or she coordinates regular training and discussion on how we apply our principles and monitors our decision-making practices to ensure we're living up to our standards."

Before becoming Standards & Practices editor, Memmott was one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog, which he helped to launch when he came to NPR in 2009. It focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Prior to joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He reported from places across the United States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says his criticism of President Obama is more nuanced than media reports about his new book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, would have you believe.

"Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 900-plus same-sex marriages that took place in Utah during the two weeks when such unions were legal," NPR's Nina Totenberg writes for us.

That means those couples "will be eligible for all federal benefits," NPR's Carrie Johnson adds.

In a statement, Holder says that:

Reports this week about former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book have implied that he thinks President Obama approved a 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan "believing the strategy would fail," as NPR's Steve Inskeep said on Friday's Morning Edition.

Franklin McCain, one of the "Greensboro Four" who in 1960 sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in North Carolina and launched a sit-in movement that would soon spread to cities across the nation, has died.

North Carolina A&T State University said Friday morning that McCain died Thursday "after a brief illness at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro."

Our colleagues at WUNC report that McCain had just turned 73. Other news outlets are reporting he was 71.

We'll be posting updates after the report's 8:30 a.m. ET release.

There were only 74,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in December, but the unemployment rate fell to a 5-year low 6.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday morning.

The size of the data breach at Target Co. stores late last year took a sharp rise Friday when the retailer said it now estimates that up to 70 million individuals may have had information that includes their "names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses" stolen.

More than 100,000 customers of one water company in West Virginia have been warned not to drink, cook or wash with the water coming from their taps because of chemicals that seeped into the Elk River near Charleston on Thursday.

The National Security Agency "would welcome" the creation of a public advocate's position at the court that oversees its electronic surveillance programs, said its outgoing deputy director.

John C. "Chris" Inglis, who retires Friday after more than seven years as the NSA's No. 2, told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that "I would only put the caveat on there that it needs to be operationally efficient."

Temperatures across much of the U.S. are, as forecast, finally starting to get back to something close to normal after several days of dangerously cold air.

There were 330,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down 15,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The claims data are the last bits of evidence about how the labor market is doing before Friday's scheduled release of figures on the December unemployment rate and payroll growth.

This post was updated with the latest news at 8:45 p.m. ET.

Saying he is "embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some people on my team," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday apologized to the people of New Jersey for his aides' role in a scheme to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee by closing lanes that lead to the George Washington Bridge.

Saying that "I had been drinking," former NBA player Dennis Rodman has had his publicist issue an apology for the obscenity-laced rant he went on earlier this week during an interview on CNN.

The annual number of mass murders and attempted mass murders in the U.S. has tripled since 2008, to 15 last year, according to statistics that the FBI and Justice Department have been citing in recent weeks.

In a new study posted online by the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, experts make the case that "police have, generally, done an excellent job responding to active shooter events quickly."

But, they add:

Update at 8:15 p.m. ET: Gov. Christie Responds

In the late afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie released a statement expressing anger at the situation and denying involvement in what appeared to be an act of political payback:

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

Two great pitchers from the Atlanta Braves and one great slugger who spent many of his best years with the Chicago White Sox are the newest additions to baseball's Hall of Fame.

The new inductees were announced at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday and they are:

-- Greg Maddux of the Braves

-- Tom Glavine of the Braves and later the New York Mets

-- Frank Thomas, who played for Oakland and Toronto as well as the White Sox. He's the first player who spent most of his career as a designated hitter to be put in the Hall of Fame.

When it gets super-cold in Hell, Mich., guess what headline writers and radio hosts have to say about it:

Hell Has Frozen Over

A Google News search of that phrase at 8:45 a.m. ET Wednesday turned up 3,980 results.

The hardy souls in the tiny town near Ann Arbor don't seem to mind the attention.

There's good news from Antarctica, where two ships that had been stuck in ice — one of them for about two weeks — have managed to get to open waters.

The deaths of at least 21 people are now being blamed on the winter storms and severe cold weather that have gripped much of the nation since late last week, The Associated Press reported early Wednesday.

At least half have been attributed to weather-related traffic accidents. The wire service adds that:

Sunday night, 42-year-old Robert Vick escaped from the minimum security Blackburn Correction Complex in Kentucky.

By Monday evening, he'd apparently had enough of the sub-zero temperatures gripping the Bluegrass State and much of the rest of the nation. Vick showed up at the office of the Sunset Motel in Lexington and asked the clerk to call the authorities.

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

"If you've ever enjoyed an action-packed Kung Fu film," Morning Edition host David Greene says, "take a moment to thank Sir Run Run Shaw, who passed away Tuesday."

Saying she is "devastated" to have to miss the competition, Team USA's best-known and most dominant Alpine skier said Tuesday that she will not be competing in next month's Winter Olympics.

Here's what Linsey Vonn posted on her Facebook page:

While this week's super-cold conditions across much of the nation are fascinating and fun for many of us, there is a far more serious side to the story.

Yes, it's going to be awfully cold again Tuesday for 150 million or so Americans.

But if below-zero temperatures aren't to your liking, take heart:

"Bitterly cold air over the eastern two-thirds of the country will slowly moderate through Wednesday," the National Weather Service says.

Florida State and Auburn put on a show Monday night with a college football championship game that went down to the wire and ended with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston throwing a touchdown pass with just 13 seconds to go to bring Florida State the crown.

At one point, the Seminoles were behind by 18 points.

The final score: Florida State 34, Auburn 31.

There are obviously many things that could be said about Monday night's Bowl Championship Series game between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn, starting with this:

The Pennsylvania woman known as "Jihad Jane" has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for her role in a failed al-Qaida plot to kill a Swedish artist.

Reuters writes that "Colleen R. LaRose, 50, could have received a life sentence [but] has given authorities significant help in other terrorism cases since her 2009 arrest, prosecutors said."

A photograph published Sunday by USA Today along with a story about the frigid weather sweeping across much of the nation led to the discovery of a man from western New York state who had been missing since New Year's Day.

It's hard to imagine a much more dramatic weekend of NFL playoff games.

There was the big comeback by the Indianapolis Colts, who had fallen 28 points behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

Indy bounced back to win a 45-44 thriller.

The game included arguably the most amazing play of the weekend: Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's touchdown late in the fourth quarter when he picked up a ball that had bounced off a teammate's shoulder. Luck dove toward the end zone and managed to just stretch across the goal line.

One weather map tells the story.

Check out the National Weather Service's map of the Lower 48 for Monday night. If you need to know just how much of the nation's going to be freezing (or well below!), it offers a bone-chilling picture. Anywhere in the blue-to-purple shades is going to be cold — and that's before accounting for wind chills.

What is the Weather Service forecasting?