Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

Wamsley got her start at NPR as an intern for Weekend Edition Saturday in January 2007 and stayed on as a production assistant for NPR's flagship news programs, before joining the Washington Desk for the 2008 election.

She then left NPR, doing freelance writing and editing in Austin, Texas, and then working in various marketing roles for technology companies in Austin and Chicago.

In November 2015, Wamsley returned to NPR as an associate producer for the National Desk, where she covered stories including Hurricane Matthew in coastal Georgia. She became a Newsdesk reporter in March 2017, and has since covered subjects including climate change, possibilities for social networks beyond Facebook, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and joke theft.

In 2010, Wamsley was a Journalism and Women Symposium Fellow and participated in the German-American Fulbright Commission's Berlin Capital Program, and was a 2016 Voqal Foundation Fellow. She will spend two months reporting from Germany as a 2019 Arthur F. Burns Fellow, a program of the International Center for Journalists.

Wamsley earned a B.A. with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Wamsley holds a master's degree from Ohio University, where she was a Public Media Fellow and worked at NPR Member station WOUB. A native of Athens, Ohio, she now lives and bikes in Washington, DC.

Updated June 7, 2021 at 3:11 PM ET

The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug aducanumab to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease on Monday. It is the first new drug approved by the agency for Alzheimer's disease since 2003.

Updated June 4, 2021 at 6:27 PM ET

Amazon is building a wireless network – using your internet bandwidth.

It's called Amazon Sidewalk, and the company touts it as a way to help its devices work better, by extending the range of low-bandwidth devices to help them stay online.

It does that by pooling neighbors' bandwidth to help connectivity for devices that are out of range.

Updated May 18, 2021 at 5:19 PM ET

District Attorney Andrew Womble has declined to file charges against Pasquotank County, N.C., sheriff's deputies in the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. last month in Elizabeth City. His decision followed an inquiry by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which presented its findings to the prosecutor.

Editor's note: Apple and Facebook are among NPR's financial supporters.

Starting Monday, iPhone and iPad users will have a simple but powerful new way to control how their data is used.

With Apple's latest software update, iOS 14.5, iPhone and iPad users will now encounter pop-ups in the apps they use, asking whether the user wants to allow the app "to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites." The user can then select whether or not to allow the app to track them and share their data.

Updated April 23, 2021 at 7:16 PM ET

Use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is allowed again now that a panel of experts has voted to put it back in distribution despite rare blood clotting problems.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday after the panel voted that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, and its benefits outweigh the known risks.

Updated April 20, 2021 at 5:37 PM ET

The jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial has been one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory, setting off a national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism even before the trial commenced.

Chauvin, 45, has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

As the NCAA men's basketball tournament tips off in Indiana, some of the players want to remind everyone of the control that the NCAA exerts over their lives — including their names, images and likenesses.

Under the hashtag #NotNCAAProperty, a protest was launched Wednesday by Rutgers basketball player Geo Baker, Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon and Michigan basketball player Isaiah Livers, all upperclassmen on Big Ten teams.

Many people coped with the pandemic year, in part, by welcoming a dog into their home. The surge in adoptions left some shelters low on dogs to take home.

But some people were very particular about what kind of dogs they chose. The American Kennel Club has released its rankings of the most popular dog breeds of 2020.

The most popular? The Labrador Retriever – for the 30th straight year.

As President Biden pushes to get students back in schools, there's one crucial question: How much social distance is necessary in the classroom?

The answer (to that question) has huge consequences for how many students can safely fit into classrooms. Public schools in particular are finding it difficult to accommodate a full return if 6 feet of social distancing is required — a key factor behind many schools offering hybrid schedules that bring students back to the classroom just a few days a week.

Updated March 9, 2021 at 4:06 PM ET

In her first public response to Prince Harry and Meghan's extraordinary interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this week, Queen Elizabeth II says the royal family is "saddened" to learn the extent of the challenges faced by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Five people who prosecutors say are linked to the Proud Boys extremist group were arrested on Thursday and now face charges in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol last month.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research on Wednesday that found wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against the coronavirus, as does tying knots on the ear loops of surgical masks. Those findings prompted new guidance on how to improve mask fit at a time of concern over fast-spreading variants of the virus.

Updated at 2:06 p.m. ET

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the probable cause of the crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and six other passengers last year was the pilot's decision to continue flight under adverse weather conditions. The result, they said, was the pilot's "spatial disorientation" and loss of control.

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was a security failure, an intelligence failure — or both.

How could security forces in the nation's capital be so swiftly and completely overwhelmed by rioters who stated their plans openly on a range of social media sites? President Trump had even tweeted on Dec. 19: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

Updated at 11:28 a.m. ET

Airbnb says it is canceling reservations made in the Washington, D.C., metro area during inauguration week, citing various officials' requests that people not travel to the area during this time.

The service will also block new bookings in the area during that period. Airbnb says it will refund guests whose reservations were canceled and reimburse hosts for the money they would have earned from the canceled reservations.

President-elect Joe Biden has nominated former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Biden also said he was elevating that role — USAID administrator — to be a member of the White House National Security Council.

Former President Barack Obama said that the violence that gripped the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was the unsurprising result of two months of instigation by President Trump and his enablers.

"History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation," Obama said in a statement Wednesday evening. "But we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise."

Black Lives Matters signs and banners on two historic Black churches were destroyed Saturday night during pro-Trump rallies in Washington, D.C.

A video shows people who appeared to be affiliated with the Proud Boys, which is designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, destroying a Black Lives Matter sign in front of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Britain has announced changes that will allow more gay and bixsexual men to donate blood – a major victory for campaigners who had sought changes to the rules they said treated all gay and bi men as posing an increased risk of infection.

Previously, the government's donor policy dictated that men who have sex with men had to abstain for three months in order to donate.

The Food and Drug Administration is likely soon to authorize distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. But the vaccine trials have so far excluded pregnant people.

In a recent roundtable with Joe Biden, nurse Mary Turner told the president-elect something he found surprising:

"Do you know that I have not been tested yet?" said Turner, who is president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. "And I have been on the front lines of the ICU since February."

"You're kidding me!" Biden replied.

She wasn't kidding.

Despite the repeated warnings of public health experts and officials, millions of people traveled for Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you're one of them.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

More time at home during the pandemic has meant more time online for many of us. And as we spend more of our lives in the digital world, our personal information can be compromised, and our technology is tracking our movements. For NPR's Life Kit, reporter Laurel Wamsley talked to experts to find out the best ways to keep our personal data safe and got a list of things you can do today to protect yourself and your data.

In late May, employees at a bank in Kannapolis, N.C., called the local police to report an abandoned white Ford van in the bank's parking lot.

When officers arrived, they looked into the van's windows and saw an array of items: an AR-15 rifle, the box for a handgun, a canister of explosive material, and a box of ammunition, according to a court document. Police say they towed and searched the van, finding more than $500,000 in cash, drawings of swastikas and planes crashing into buildings, books on survival and bomb-making, and a half-dozen firearms.

Wells Fargo has fired more than 100 employees, saying they personally defrauded a coronavirus relief program from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In a memo sent Wednesday and obtained by NPR, the company said it had identified employees that it believes made false representations in applying for relief funds through the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The employees' actions were outside of their work responsibilities, the company said.

For the first time, one of Britain's highest animal honors has been awarded to a rat. The animal has detected dozens of land mines in Cambodia and is believed to have saved lives.

Magawa is a Tanzanian-born African giant pouched rat who has been trained by the nonprofit APOPO to sniff out explosives. With careful training, he and his rat colleagues learn to identify land mines and alert their human handlers, so the mines can be safely removed.

Updated 2:50 p.m. ET Wednesday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will no longer pay for some safety measures related to COVID-19 that it had previously covered.

Keith Turi, FEMA assistant administrator for recovery, announced the changes during a call Tuesday with state and tribal emergency managers, many of whom expressed concerns about the new policy.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

Fewer than eight months ago, the U.S. had yet to experience its first confirmed case of a deadly disease that was sweeping through China and threatening to go global. Today, more than 6 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus and some 183,000 have died from it, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Updated at 4:26 p.m. ET

Louisville, Ky., police have arrested dozens of protesters who staged a sit-in on an overpass.

Tuesday afternoon's protest marked the final day of an event known as "BreonnaCon," which called for justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman whom police shot and killed while executing a "no-knock" warrant in her home in March.

The sit-in took place near the city's Cardinal Stadium, NPR member station WFPL in Louisville reported.

After more than 100 days without any community spread of COVID-19, New Zealand moved to an elevated alert level Wednesday with news of four new cases and another four probable ones.

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