Russell Lewis

Russell Lewis is the Southern Bureau Chief for NPR News, a post he has held since 2006. Lewis focuses on the issues and news central to the Southeast — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. In addition to developing and expanding NPR's coverage of the region, Lewis assigns and edits stories from station-based reporters and freelancers alike, working closely with local correspondents and public radio stations. He also spent a year in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, coordinating NPR's coverage of the rebuilding effort. He's currently based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Lewis began his public radio career in 1992 at NPR member station WUFT in Gainesville, Florida, where he was an executive news producer. He spent time at WSVH in Savannah, Georgia. Lewis also worked for Kansas Public Radio and reported on the state legislature. He spent six years on the West Coast, working at one of public radio's flagship stations: KPBS in San Diego where he was senior editor and a reporter. He most recently was assistant news director and talk-show host at WGCU in Fort Myers, Florida. He was a frequent contributor to NPR, specializing in military and business issues.

In his spare time, Lewis loves to cook, read, and ride his bicycle.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center says the eye of Hurricane Patricia has made landfall near Cuixmala on Mexico's southwestern Pacific coast. Its winds were measured at 165 mph, somewhat weakened but still a Category 5 storm capable of catastrophic damage.

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There's something special about going to a major league ballpark. Seeing smiling kids with their parents, the sizzle of bratwursts, the smell of fresh popcorn and the taste of overpriced beer — and yelling at the umpires, of course. It's what America's pastime is all about.

Nearly half a million people play baseball in high school every year. Just a small fraction, about 7 percent, play in college. Of those, an even tinier number get to the minor leagues. And making it to the majors — that's really rare.

It's here. It's today. It's the game the United States Women's National Soccer Team has dreamed about for four years. A return to the final of the World Cup.

And, oh by the way, the team that beat the U.S. in the last World Cup is the same one they'll face today: Japan.

Updated, 9 p.m. ET:

In a battle between a fantastic attack and a fantastic defense, the latter prevailed, as two penalty kicks — one made, one whiffed — and a late insurance goal gave the U.S. a 2-0 win over Germany and a berth in the Women's World Cup soccer final.

After American forward Alex Morgan tumbled over a German defender — a foul that appeared to occur outside of the box — forward Carli Lloyd got a penalty shot past Germany's Nadine Angerer, whom the U.S. had kept busy all night.

Update, 9:30 p.m. ET:

The United States pulled out a victory against China on Friday night in the Women's World Cup, winning only 1-0 despite dominating the match.

Midfielder Carli Lloyd's header in the 51st minute made the difference, but the U.S. kept pressure on China all night long and had 17 shots to China's 7.

Update, 10:05 p.m. ET:

The Americans won and advanced to the quarterfinals at the Women's World Cup, but lost midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday for its next match, as each received her second yellow card of the tournament.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET On June 17:

U.S. veteran Abby Wambach, making her second start of the World Cup, scored her first goal of the tournament and the 183rd of her storied international career to push the Americans past Nigeria on Tuesday in Vancouver, Canada.

The 1-0 victory allowed the U.S. to win Group D and advance into the elimination rounds, where they'll face another group's third-place team on Monday, followed by a possible matchup against Cameroon or China later next week.

If you watch the United States play Nigeria at the Women's World Cup tonight — kickoff is at 8 p.m. — you'll keep your eyes on the field. After all, it's an important match. A win or a tie, and the U.S. is guaranteed to advance to the knockout round. Even with a loss, the U.S. could still move on. Nigeria is the best team from Africa.

But maybe you should look at the stands instead.

Nigerian fans are an attraction in their own right. Decked out in bright green T-shirts and waving flags, they stand, cheer, party, play trumpets and drums, dance and sing.

Update, 10:10 p.m. ET:

The U.S. and Sweden fought to a 0-0 tie in Winnipeg on Friday night — a disappointing result against the Americans' trash-talking former coach, but enough to keep them in control of their group at the Women's World Cup.

The U.S. struggled to maintain control in the Swedish half for much of the game, and had a hard time connecting on their longer passes forward. Two header attempts off corners around the 72nd minute were tipped over the crossbar and went wide right, and a frenzy in the final minute of extra time came up empty.

Update, 9:45 p.m. ET:

Forward Christen Press scored in the 61st minute and Megan Rapinoe scored her second goal of the match in the 78th minute for the Americans, who beat Australia 3-1. Combined with the 1-1 tie between Sweden and Nigeria earlier on Monday, the U.S. has a strong lead in its World Cup group.

Rapinoe also was issued a yellow card in the second half, as was U.S. midfielder Lauren Holiday. Goalie Hope Solo had five saves.

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The U.S. Women's National Soccer team finished its 2014 season with a second-place finish Sunday in the rainy final of the International Tournament of Brasilia. Brazil and the U.S. played to a 0-0 draw.

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The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team showed why it's the top-ranked squad in the world. It won the CONCACAF tournament Sunday with a near-perfect 6-0 final game against Costa Rica.

The U.S. has had an easy run during this World Cup qualifying tournament for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Region. The United States had already qualified for next year's World Cup with a victory in the semifinals against Haiti. Sunday's win over Costa Rica further cemented the U.S. dominance.

The United States will have a presence at today's semifinal World Cup match between Brazil and Germany. It won't be the U.S. National Team on the field, but American referee Mark Geiger. FIFA selected Geiger to be on the officiating crew of the high-stakes match. It's the first time a U.S. referee has been used this late in a World Cup.

The stadiums of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are all different, constructed to reflect the region. Natal's arena has a wavy beach-dune style, while the stadium in Manaus looks like a woven basket.

Inside those stadiums, however, you'd never know you're in Brazil. Budweiser is an official beer seller, and Coke has the soda market cornered. Other menu items include hot dogs, cheeseburgers and turkey sandwiches. It's almost impossible to find any Brazilian fare on the menu.

Win or go home. Do or die. Lose and you're done. Choose your sports cliche, and for the United States team, it's true. The U.S. takes on Belgium at 4 p.m. EDT today in Salvador, Brazil. It's the Americans' first game in the knockout stage. The victor moves on to the quarterfinals, and the loser books a flight home.

It's do or die (or tie) time for the United States today in the World Cup.

The U.S. team plays its final game in group play against world No. 2-ranked Germany at noon EDT in the Brazilian seaside city of Recife. The stakes couldn't be higher, and the intrigue is all here, folks.

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The World Cup round of 16 in Brazil is taking shape.

Already in: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Netherlands. The big question: Will the United States join that distinguished list today?

The U.S. soccer team has a tough matchup against Portugal. Win, and the Americans are in. Lose or tie, and the road gets a lot tougher with next Thursday's game against Germany.

Brazil's World Cup preparation endured some heavy criticism leading up to the games. Stadiums were still under construction, Internet connections were sketchy and transportation faced major challenges. A week into the tournament, NPR's Russell Lewis has traveled to three airports and three cities so far. He talks to Melissa Block about what has worked and what remains a challenge.

On Monday night, the U.S. soccer team accomplished a feat it failed to achieve in the past two World Cups: beat Ghana. With a 2-1 victory, the Americans position themselves well for the games to come.

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It's day five of the World Cup in Brazil. But it's the most important day for the U.S. men's soccer team — it's game day.

Tonight at 6 p.m. ET, the U.S. opens World Cup play squaring off against Ghana in the seaside city of Natal. The tiny African country is not particularly a soccer powerhouse. But Ghana has vexed the U.S. — eliminating the team from the past two World Cups.



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Robert Siegel.

One of America's first astronauts has died. Scott Carpenter was part of the original Project Mercury team and he was the second American to orbit the Earth. Carpenter died this morning in Denver after complications from a stroke. He was 88 years old. As NPR's Russell Lewis reports, Scott Carpenter made it into space just that one time back in 1962, but he continued his pioneering ways.

Tyler Saladino is one of thousands of minor league baseball players hoping to make it to the major leagues. He plays in Alabama for the Birmingham Barons, the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Last year, NPR profiled Saladino. But since then, maybe things have changed for the 23-year-old infielder.

New details about one of Mississippi's most infamous murders are coming to light — more than a half-century later. The death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who allegedly whistled at a white woman, helped spark the civil rights movement.

Till lived in Chicago, and was visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta when he was murdered. His body was mutilated and dumped into a river. The accused were the woman's husband and her half-brother, and their trial drew reporters from both the white and black press.

In Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, the "Last Great Race on Earth" begins.

Sixty-seven sled dog teams will start the 998-mile Iditarod race across the barren, frigid and unforgiving land. In this year's competition, there are a handful of first-time racers — but those aren't the only rookies.

One is veterinarian Greg Reppas, whose job is to ensure the dogs are healthy throughout the race.



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Audie Cornish. The University of Alabama won another football championship last night, dominating Notre Dame 42-14. It's the third title in four years for Alabama, a university with a history of football superiority. In Tuscaloosa, the victory wowed the hometown crowd, as NPR's Russell Lewis reports.

RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: At Tuscaloosa's airport this afternoon, hundreds of fans gathered to welcome the team home.