Tanya Ballard Brown

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

As an editor for NPR.org, Tanya brainstorms and develops web-only features; collaborates with radio editors and reporters to create compelling web content that complements radio reports; manages online producers and interns; and, line edits stories appearing on the website. Tanya also writes blog posts, commentaries and book reviews, has served as acting supervising editor for Digital Arts, Books and Entertainment; edited for Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More; filed on-air spots for newscast, and helped curate the NPR Tumblr. Occasionally, she sits in with the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast team and hosts NPR Live! segments.

Projects she has worked on include After Pulse; Teenage Diaries Revisited; School's Out: The Cost of Dropping Out; American Dreams: Then And Now; Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty; Living Large: Obesity In America; the Cities Project, Farm Fresh Foods; 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.

Tanya is a native of Charlotte, N.C., an alumna of N.C. A&T State University, and 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 teaches at Georgetown University, does storytelling performances, fronts a band filled with other NPR staffers, sings show tunes, dances randomly in the middle of the newsroom, takes acting and improv classes, and dreams of being a bass player. Or Sarah Vaughan. Whichever comes first. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Though the violence has ended in Charlottesville, Va., debates and protests continue and Confederate statues and monuments are being removed all over the country.

Wally Funk has spent her life in pursuit of a dream. The pilot, flight instructor and almost-astronaut longs to go to outer space.

In 1961, she was part of a group of female pilots who took part in tests to determine whether women were fit for space travel. The project was run by the same doctor who developed tests for NASA astronauts and the women became known as the Mercury 13.

While college campuses struggle with consent, and when and how "no means no," a nearly 40-year-old court case in North Carolina says a person can't be charged with rape if their partner revokes consent during sex.

Mass shootings in Orlando, Fla., Alexandria, Va., and San Francisco during the first two weeks of June — two of them on the same day — have once again put America's complicate

A year ago, a gunman opened fire in Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Deonka Drayton was one of the 49 people killed that night, in what was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Drayton was 32 at the time, and had a son with Emily Addison.

"She had a beautiful voice, the most amazing smile, and she smelled so good all the time," Addison said during a recent visit to StoryCorps.

The two moved to Florida together in 2012, and Drayton hated the heat.

When Anthony Planakis was going through the New York Police Academy, they told him to write his interests down on a little card.

"Beekeeping, of course I put that down," says 54-year-old Planakis, who is a fourth generation beekeeper. "And the very first job, the sergeant comes right up to me and I just look up and go, 'Hey, Sarge,' and he goes, 'Bees?' and I go, 'Yeah, where?' 'Harlem.' And I go, 'Cool.' That was it, that was the first job I handled," he says.

Renowned sports writer and commentator Frank Deford, 78, died on Sunday, just a few weeks after his last piece aired on Morning Edition. He had recorded 1,656 commentaries for NPR over nearly 40 years.

Manuel Cuevas moved to the U.S. from Mexico in the late 1950s to pursue his calling as a tailor.

He started sewing when he was 7 when most kids were occupied with other things, such as playing.

"The guys at school were more about playing ball and the slingshots," 78-year-old Manuel explained to his daughter, Morelia, at StoryCorps in Nashville. "That never interested me. I was really an outcast. I'd go to bed and I'd dream about fabrics and leathers and about the things that I'm going to make the next day."

Stare hard at your March Madness brackets because the weekend is over and we are down to the Final Four.

When South Carolina faces Gonzaga in the NCAA final four playoffs in Arizona on Saturday, it will be the first time both the seventh-seeded Gamecocks and the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs have played their way into the semifinals.

As we mourn the golf great Arnold Palmer, we acknowledge another contribution he made to our culture: the tasty and refreshing iced tea and lemonade beverage that carries his name.

When peals ring out from a 130-year-old church bell at the Sept. 24 dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, they will signal the end of a long journey.

The historic "Freedom Bell" usually hangs in Williamsburg, Va., in the tower of the First Baptist Church, which was founded by slaves. It started making its way to Washington, D.C., on Monday, according to The Associated Press, in order to herald this latest historical event.

Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, best known for being the voice of opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, died on Monday. She was 92.

Her death was confirmed by her son John, who said she died of cancer at her home in St. Louis.

According to The Associated Press, Schlafly's self-published book, A Choice Not an Echo, brought her into the national spotlight in 1964. The news service reports the book, which sold 3 million copies, became a manifesto for many conservatives and boosted Sen. Barry Goldwater's bid for the 1964 GOP presidential nomination.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified before the House Judiciary Committee for several hours on Tuesday, fielding questions about the probe of Hillary Clinton's emails during her tenure as secretary of state, the backlog of cases in immigration courts, the mass shooting in Orlando, the two police shooting deaths in Minnesota and Louisiana, and the murders of police officers in Dallas, among other things.

Last updated July 10, 9:23 a.m. ET

People across the country joined protests and held vigils late this week, following two highly publicized police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. As those incidents dominated headlines and social media, a sniper targeted law enforcement at a peaceful protest in Dallas, killing five police officers and shocking the nation.

More than 2 million New Zealanders voted to keep the Union Jack on their national flag, ending a 10-month process and squashing a move Prime Minister John Key said would make it easier to distinguish from Australia's flag and bolster national pride.

The current flag has been the national symbol for 114 years, according to The Associated Press. The rejected design, which featured a silver fern, was selected from more than 10,000 submissions from the public.

Stock markets rallied Friday, but the year hasn't started off so great for Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 500 points for a bit on Wednesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index has dropped about 7 percent this month and markets around the world have lost trillions(!) of dollars in value.

Some experts predict we are headed for — if not already in — a bear market, or one in which prices are falling and investors start selling aggressively.

A totem pole stolen by actor John Barrymore in 1931 that later ended up as a yard decoration for actor Vincent Price was returned to Alaska tribal members on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports that the stolen pole was one of more than 100 that once stood in the old village of Tuxecan on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, which was inhabited by the Tlingit people.

New Delhi officials urged drivers to park their cars and use public transportation Thursday, in a new effort to combat air pollution.

A major road closed for five hours and residents were encouraged to take public transportation, the Associated Press reported.

Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of the state of Delhi, and his cabinet colleagues, led cyclists along the four-mile-long route, on the first of what will be a series of days aimed at cleaning the city's air.

Kejriwal told AP:

Some Twitter users pulled up their feed Tuesday and saw changes involving the reply, retweet and "fav" buttons.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage, which is now legal in about three dozen states.

But it's also legal in most states to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — LGBT — people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation.

So in many states, a person could marry someone of the same gender and then get fired for being gay.

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.

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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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?

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.

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." — Food Network spokeswoman

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