Renee Montagne

Renee Montagne is co-host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the U.S. She has hosted the newsmagazine since 2004, broadcasting from NPR West in Culver City, California, with co-host Steve Inskeep in NPR's Washington, D.C. headquarters.

Montagne is a familiar voice on NPR, having reported and hosted since the mid-1980s. She hosted All Things Considered with Robert Siegel for two years in the late 1980s, and previously worked for NPR's Science, National and Foreign desks.

Montagne traveled to Greenwich, England, in May 2007 to kick off the yearlong series, "Climate Connections," in which NPR partnered with National Geographic to chronicle how people are changing the Earth's climate and how the climate is impacting people. From the prime meridian, she laid out the journey that would take listeners to Africa, New Orleans and the Antarctic.

Since 9/11, Montagne has gone to Afghanistan nine times, travelling throughout the country to speak to Afghans about their lives. She's interviewed farmers and mullahs, poll workers and President Karzai, infamous warlords turned politicians and women fighting for their rights. She has produced several series, beginning in 2002 with 'Recreating Afghanistan" and most recently, in 2013, asking a new generation of Afghans — born into the long war set off by the Soviet invasion — how they see their country's future.

In the spring of 2005, Montagne took Morning Edition to Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul ll. She co-anchored from Vatican City during a historic week when millions of pilgrims and virtually every world leader descended on the Vatican.

In 1990, Montagne traveled to South Africa to cover Nelson Mandela's release from prison, and continued to report from South Africa for three years. In 1994, she and a team of NPR reporters won a prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of South Africa's historic presidential and parliamentary elections.

Through most of the 1980s, Montagne was based in New York, working as an independent producer and reporter for both NPR and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter/editor for Pacific News Service in San Francisco. She began her career as news director of the city's community radio station, KPOO, while still at university.

In addition to the duPont Columbia Award, Montagne has been honored by the Overseas Press Club for her coverage of Afghanistan, and by the National Association of Black Journalists for a series on Black musicians going to war in the 20th century.

Montagne graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, as a Phi Beta Kappa. Her career includes serving as a fellow at the University of Southern California with the National Arts Journalism Program, and teaching broadcast writing at New York University's Graduate Department of Journalism.



It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

A dramatic prisoner swap is underway now, between Israel and the Palestinians. After five years in captivity, Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, is free. He is in Israel, and we'll go there in a moment.

First, to the West Bank and the city of Ramallah. That's where NPR's Peter Kenyon is, surrounded by a jubilant crowd of Palestinians.

Good morning, Peter.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.



The world of IndyCar racing has lost one of its stars. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was killed yesterday during an IndyCar race in Las Vegas. Wheldon was trailing a pack of cars when he was unable to avoid a massive pile-up.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, here we go. (Unintelligible) a huge crash. Up at turn number two. Oh, multiple cars involved.

In Afghanistan, Ahmed Shah Massoud was known as the Lion of Panshir. And thanks to him, the Panshir Valley was one of only two places the Taliban never conquered. On Sept. 9, 2001, suicide bombers killed Massoud.

A decade ago, al-Qaida leaders were last seen in eastern Afghanistan, in the city of Jalalabad, before they vanished. And as the years went on, Jalalabad, which lies in the mountainous region along the Pakistan border, became a center of insurgent activity.

Now, it is a city still struggling to stay peaceful.

Jalalabad's deputy police chief knows what it means to be under attack. His hands bear the angry red scars left from the severe burns he suffered last winter, when suicide bombers overran a bank in the city.

Syria's president Bashar Assad has warned against military intervention in his country. He appeared on state-run television Sunday and repeated plans to introduce political change to the country.

President Obama says it is time for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime to officially end. The U.S. has played a key role in supporting the NATO campaign that began in March — aimed at protecting civilians and the rebels.

In London, a parliamentary committee has released documents that question James Murdoch's July testimony about the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. A newly revealed letter from a jailed reporter claims hacking was "widely discussed" at editorial meetings at the now closed British paper.



Let's turn now to another story we're following: Libya, where rebel forces have made some dramatic gains. Rebels have fought their way out of the mountains to a key coastal city just 30 miles from the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

In a defiant speech last night, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi exhorted his followers to fight, even as reports surfaced of talks between the regime and the rebels.

We've got NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro on the line. She's in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

And Lulu, what is the latest?

The streets of London and other British cities were mostly quiet Wednesday night amid a massive police presence that has helped stop the wave of violence and looting that's wracked Britain since the weekend. Courts there worked through the night to process some of those arrested. Parliament is meeting for an emergency session after Prime Minister David Cameron recalled members from their summer break.

U.S. markets have opened for the first time since Standard and Poor's downgraded the nation's credit rating. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 250 points minutes after the opening bell on Wall Street.



And late last night, the European Central Bank decided to buy Italian and Spanish bonds to calm market concerns that those two countries would not be able to pay their debts.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Rome.

And Sylvia, how did Italy react to the move by the European Central Bank?

Renee Montagne talks to NPR's Anthony Kuhn about the latest on Asian market reaction to the downgraded U.S. credit rating by Standard and Poor's.

A partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, prompted by a political dispute, is adding to the country's debt. This month alone, that shutdown will cost the Treasury $1 billion in uncollected airline ticket taxes.

The shutdown is happening because of a labor dispute, a long-standing rivalry and a disagreement over subsidizing small airports. It's not clear when it will all be resolved now that members of Congress are leaving Washington, D.C., for their summer recess.

NPR's Renee Montagne talks to NPR's Brian Naylor about what's behind the standoff.

Egypt's ousted president Hosni Mubarak goes on trial in Cairo today along with his two sons and top officials from his government. Mubarak could face the death penalty if he is convicted of ordering attacks on protesters in Tahrir Square that left some 800 dead.