Tanya Ballard Brown

Tanya Ballard Brown is a Southern girl, an optimist and a wild dreamer who laughs loudly and often.

As an editor for NPR.org, Tanya collaborates with radio editors and reporters to create compelling Web content that complements radio reports; brainstorms and develops Web-only features; manages online producers, Kroc Fellows and interns; and, line edits stories appearing on the website. Tanya also helps curate the NPR Tumblr, and writes blog posts, commentaries and book reviews. Occasionally, she joins the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast as a guest host.

Projects she has worked on include the "Dirty Money" series, winner of a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Investigative Reporting, a Scripps Howard National Journalism Award and an Edward R. Murrow award; the "Friday Night Lives" series, winner of an Edward R. Murrow Award; and, "WASP: Women With Wings In WWII," winner of a GRACIE Award.

Tanya is former editor for investigative and long-term projects at washingtonpost.com and during her tenure there coordinated with the print and online newsrooms to develop multimedia content for investigative reports.

She also led production of the 2006 "Being a Black Man" series, which won numerous awards including the Peabody, Scripps Howard National Journalism award, Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism and a regional Emmy award. Other Web projects included "Silent Injustice" and "Walter Reed and Beyond."

A native of Charlotte, N.C., and an alumna of N.C. A&T State University, Tanya is a former congressional fellow with the American Political Science Association. She has been a reporter or editor at GovExec.com/Government Executive magazine, The Tennessean in Nashville and the (Greensboro) News & Record.

In her free time, Tanya spoils her dog Alex, sings show tunes, dances, tells stories, takes acting classes and dreams of being a bass player. Or Sarah Vaughan. Whichever comes first. She lives in Washington, D.C.

You can reach out to her on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Tumblr.

The Protojournalist
9:35 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Should You Do The Do-Over If There's A Chance For A Second Chance?

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 12:01 pm

It's not often that people get a second chance, and in fact, for many people, there is no such thing as a second chance.

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Code Switch
12:47 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

People Be Triflin', From 'Bills, Bills, Bills' To The Bible

Yes, this ad was really in the newspaper โ€“ from the October 1, 1922 New York Tribune.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 9:10 am

In our semi-regular Word Watch feature, we take a look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story.

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Code Switch
8:09 am
Sun August 31, 2014

How 'Sassy' Came To Mean Something Both Sweet And Sour

Jazz singer and pianist Sarah Vaughan reportedly earned the nickname "Sassy," from pianist John Malachi. Apparently she liked it.
AFP/Getty Images

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Code Switch
7:35 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Michael Jackson, We Barely Knew You

Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 8:08 am

Just as there are those who seek to drag Mr. Jackson's name through the mud, there are those who insist that he was a saint, an angelic figure to be put on a pedestal. He was neither. Michael Jackson was, like all of us, a complicated human being. -- "Remember The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days"

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Pop Culture
12:21 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Beyonce, Jay Z And Solange Walk Into An Elevator ...

Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Most families have disagreements, and the Knowles-Carter family is no exception.
Christopher Polk Getty Images for NARAS

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 11:19 am

Our lives are recorded all the time, and what we're seeing behind the curtain makes us wonder whether or not we should be looking back there in the first place.

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Code Switch
5:03 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

The Origin (And Hot Stank) Of The 'Chitlin' Circuit'

The Royal Peacock in Atlanta was one of the more famous venues on the Chitlin' Circuit.
Libray of Congress

For many people, chitlins (or chitterlings) are a tasty (or, for some, nasty) soul food dish made out of pig intestines. If you can get past what they are (or how badly they stank when cleaned and cooked), then you can shake some hot sauce or sprinkle some cha-cha relish on top and dig in. There's even an annual chitlin' festival in South Carolina.

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Code Switch
5:57 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Hey Hey Hey! Historian Draws Attention To '70s Black Animation Art

An original production cel from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. The show was among a burst of 1970s-era Saturday morning cartoons that featured positive African-American characters.
Courtesy of Pamela Thomas/Museum of UnCut Funk!

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 11:34 am

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Monkey See
2:04 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Dear Internet, It's Christmas. Please Stop Fighting About 'Love Actually'

John Poole NPR

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:40 am

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Monkey See
3:12 am
Sat December 14, 2013

The Case For โ€” And Against โ€” Loving 'Love Actually'

Karen (Emma Thompson) tries to console Daniel (Liam Neeson), whose wife has recently died.
Universal Pictures/Photofest

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

How About A Coke? Warhol Painting Up For Grabs

Coca-Cola (3) was one of many of Warhol's pop art pieces, which celebrated popular culture and consumerism in post-World War II America.
Courtesy of Christie's

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 2:59 pm

On Tuesday, artist Andy Warhol's oversized and iconic Coca-Cola (3) will hit the auction block at Christie's, and to borrow an old slogan from the company, It's The Real Thing.

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Code Switch
2:38 am
Sat August 10, 2013

Why Didn't The Store Just Let Oprah Buy The $38,000 Handbag?

On the list of things to be outraged about at the moment, I'll admit this isn't at the top: The Swiss tourism office apologized to Oprah on Friday because she wasn't allowed to buy a $38,000 designer handbag while recently shopping in Switzerland. Poor lil' Oprah. *sad face*

It does make me wonder, though, can you ever be rich enough or famous enough or beautiful enough to not be racially profiled while shopping?

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Code Switch
2:21 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Awkwardly Awaiting The Zimmerman Trial's Outcome

George Zimmerman wipes his face after arriving in the courtroom for his trial in Sanford, Fla., on Friday. Zimmerman is charged in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
Joe Burbank AP

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 2:40 pm

With the verdict looming in the trial of George Zimmerman, who's charged in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, suddenly speculation has turned to this: the possibility of angry protesters turning to violence if the outcome isn't the one they envisioned.

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Code Switch
4:34 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Stuff You Might Have Missed In The Paula Deen Brouhaha

Celebrity chef Paula Deen poses for a portrait on Jan. 17, 2012, in New York. In her deposition for a lawsuit by a former employee, Deen admits to having used racial slurs, among other things.
Carlo Allegri AP

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:24 pm

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: Paula Deen apologizes to Matt Lauer, of NBC's Today show.


UPDATE 4:44 p.m.: "Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month." โ€” Food Network spokeswoman

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Code Switch
5:03 am
Sat June 1, 2013

If This Cute Cheerios Ad Causes Drama, What Won't?

Cheerios via YouTube

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:13 am

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Easy Rawlins Is Alive, Or Is He?

Marcia E. Wilson

I've been following Easy Rawlins since reading Devil in a Blue Dress in the '90s. That's a lot of time to give to a character. And as I read Little Green, I realized that I hadn't been following Easy, the character, all these years. In the past I was more invested in other parts of the stories.

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The Two-Way
1:56 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

American Tribe Fights To Halt Artifact Auction In Paris

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 7:37 am

An auction of sacred Native American artifacts scheduled for Friday in Paris is stirring up controversy on both sides of the Atlantic

Seventy Hopi "visages and headdresses" โ€” some more than 100 years old โ€” will go on the block at the Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou auction house, which estimates the sale will bring in about $1 million, according to The New York Times.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Can U.S. Embassies Be Safe Without Being Unsightly?

The U.S. Embassy in central London in 2009.
Shaun Curry AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:05 pm

There's been a tug of war between aesthetically pleasing and safe when it comes to American embassies around the world.

Many embassies have been slammed as bunkers, bland cubes and lifeless compounds. Even the new Secretary of State John Kerry said just a few years ago, "We are building some of the ugliest embassies I've ever seen."

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Mon February 25, 2013

No More 'Negro' For Census Bureau Forms And Surveys

Question 9 on the first page of the 2010 Census form. After more than a century, the Census Bureau is dropping use of the word "Negro" to describe black Americans in its surveys. Instead of the term, which was popularized during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation, census forms will use "black" or "African-American."
Carolyn Kaster AP

The Census Bureau announced Monday that it would drop the word "Negro" from its forms, after some described it as offensive. According to the Associated Press, the term will be replaced next year by black or African-American. From the AP:

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The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Game On! Rare 1865 Baseball Card Sold For $80,000

The Library of Congress' version of the rare Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 9:46 am

Update at 8:06 p.m. ET. Card Sells For $80,000

The nearly 150-year-old Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card that was was discovered late last year in a photo album bought at a yard sale has sold for $80,000 โ€” $92,000 if you count the auction house's buyer's premium.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Dear Lawyers: Order In The &*%# Court!

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 11:33 am

Remember the scene in the 1979 movie ... And Justice For All where Al Pacino, who is playing an attorney, loses it in court?

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Our Pancakes Are Saved! Charges Filed In Canadian Maple Syrup Heist

Fresh maple syrup in two maple leaf-shaped bottles, with other bottles behind. Police officials have arrested three men who allegedly siphoned the sweet treat from 16,000 storage barrels stored in a Quebec warehouse.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:51 am

After months on their sticky trail, Canadian police have finally fingered the people allegedly involved in the great Canadian maple syrup caper Bill Chappell told us about in August.

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The Picture Show
11:35 am
Mon December 10, 2012

A Black And White 1860s Fundraiser

Rosa, Charley and Rebecca are three of eight freed slaves who sat for portraits in 1863-1864 that were sold to raise money to fund schools for emancipated slaves in Louisiana. The three were chosen because it was believed their near-white complexions would draw more sympathy รขย€ย” and support รขย€ย” from a country torn apart by slavery and civil war.
Charles Paxson Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 3:05 pm

They look like any other 19th century vignettes and portraits of children kneeling in prayer or cloaked in the U.S. flag.

But these cartes de visite (a calling card with a portrait mounted on it that was all the rage during the 1860s) featured Charles, Rebecca and Rosa โ€” former slave children who looked white.

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

How Did Thanksgiving End Up On Thursday?

Snippet of a letter F.B. Haviland sent to President Hoover in 1929 asking him to move Thanksgiving to Friday.
National Archives

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 3:30 pm

Move Thanksgiving to Friday? That's what F.B. Haviland asked President Hoover in 1929.

Didn't happen. But while we're on the subject, ever wonder why we carve our gobblers on the fourth Thursday of November? Hint: It's not because Thanksgiving Thursday is more alliterative than Thanksgiving Friday.

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The Picture Show
8:11 am
Fri October 12, 2012

'Vintage Black Glamour' Exposes Little-Known Cultural History

That's Bananas: "Whether [Josephine Baker's] getting a pedicure or she's walking down the street or she's relaxing in a yard somewhere, I just love the variety of pictures of her," Gainer says. "The banana skirt is a part of who she was, it's the most famous thing, but it just annoys me when that's just the only thing. ... There was a lot more to her than that."
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:03 pm

I was scrolling through my Tumblr feed a year or so ago, when I saw a photo of Joyce Bryant. The caption said she was once dubbed the "black Marilyn Monroe" and was mentioned many times in Walter Winchell's gossip column.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Record High Prices At The Gas Pump Likely To Linger In California

Motorcyclists Hanna Gilan, right, and her son Chaim Gilan fill up their Vespa scooters with less than two gallons at a gas station in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 2012.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:07 pm

Gas prices spiked overnight Thursday by as much as 20 cents per gallon in parts of California, causing some stations to close and shocking many customers.

According to The Associated Press, the average price of regular gas across the state was nearly $4.49 a gallon. In other parts of the country, gas prices have fallen. South Carolina has the lowest average gas prices in the continental U.S. at $3.49 a gallon.

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