Vanessa Romo

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.

Before her stint on the News Desk, Romo spent the early months of the Trump Administration on the Washington Desk covering stories about culture and politics – the voting habits of the post-millennial generation, the rise of Maxine Waters as a septuagenarian pop culture icon and DACA quinceañeras as Trump protests.

In 2016, she was at the core of the team that launched and produced The New York Times' first political podcast, The Run-Up with Michael Barbaro. Prior to that, Romo was a Spencer Education Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism where she began working on a radio documentary about a pilot program in Los Angeles teaching black and Latino students to code switch.

Romo has also traveled extensively through the Member station world in California and Washington. As the education reporter at Southern California Public Radio, she covered the region's K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and won the Education Writers Association first place award as well as a Regional Edward R. Murrow for Hard News Reporting.

Before that, she covered business and labor for Member station KNKX, keeping an eye on global companies including Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft.

A Los Angeles native, she is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she received a degree in history. She also earned a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. She loves all things camaron-based.

Hundreds of Frito-Lay workers in Topeka, Kan., are in their third week of a strike, citing so-called "suicide shifts" and poor working conditions at the manufacturing and distribution plant at a time when the company's net revenue growth has exceeded all of its targets.

Updated June 21, 2021 at 10:06 PM ET

Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out in a personal Instagram post on Monday, saying he has "agonized over this moment for the last 15 years."

"I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," Nassib said in an Instagram video he posted on his verified Instagram account. "I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest."

Updated June 17, 2021 at 4:23 PM ET

Opal Lee is 94, and she's doing a holy dance.

It's a dance she said she and her ancestors have been waiting 155 years, 11 months and 28 days to do.

Ever since Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to spread the news of the Emancipation Proclamation outlawing slavery in Confederate states. President Abraham Lincoln had signed it more than two years earlier.

Updated June 10, 2021 at 1:31 PM ET

Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexico's most notorious drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, pleaded guilty Thursday to helping him run the powerful Sinaloa cartel.

Coronel was captured and arrested by U.S. officials as she arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in February.

Updated June 4, 2021 at 6:57 AM ET

It's National Donut Day. And shops across the country are celebrating by giving away deliciously fluffy, airy, sugary goodies. But we're concerned with the more pressing issue: Does anyone actually still spell it D-O-U-G-H-N-U-T?

Mary McCoy, senior librarian in the arts, music and recreation department at the Los Angeles Central Library, says that is her preferred spelling, though she admits "the O-U-G-H version is definitely unwieldy."

As a 10-year-old in the 1950s Thomas Newman did what other boys his age did: he collected baseball cards.

Over a couple of years Newman assembled a treasured collection that was not equally prized by his mother, who thought of the cards as garbage and tossed them out. The loss inspired a decades-long passion to recoup what he'd lost. And then some.

Millions of Americans are grabbing a quick getaway this Memorial Day weekend, now that COVID-19 cases are down and vaccination rates are up.

And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those who are vaccinated can go ahead and embrace those #shotgirlsummer vibes, there are some things you should keep in mind as you hit the road — including the fact that the seven-day average of new U.S. COVID-19 cases is still hovering around 24,000 infections per day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and 50% of the population hasn't been vaccinated.

Financially strapped American families are now eligible for an emergency discount on their internet service under a COVID-19 relief program that went into effect on Wednesday.

The Colonial Pipeline hack that shut down the major gasoline and jet fuel pipeline to large swaths of the South and the East Coast is leading to temporary shortages.

NBC has said "no, thanks" to the Golden Globes next year, telling the Hollywood Foreign Press Association it needs to get its act together on lack of diversity and other problems recently uncovered.

The network is the latest company to distance itself from the press group which has been accused of self-dealing, corruption and conflicts of interest.

Updated May 4, 2021 at 10:01 PM ET

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who was convicted last month of murdering George Floyd filed court documents for a new trial on Tuesday.

His attorney, Eric Nelson, petitioned the court, alleging that Chauvin's constitutional rights were violated when Judge Peter Cahill refused to change the venue of the trial, and that the pretrial publicity deprived the officer of a fair trial.

Updated April 21, 2021 at 1:26 AM ET

A 16-year-old Black girl was fatally shot by an officer outside her home after she called the police for help on Tuesday afternoon, according to her family.

The girl has been identified as Ma'Khia Bryant by her aunt, Hazel Bryant.

Bryant allegedly called officers at about 4:30 p.m. local time when a group of "older kids" threatened her with assault, her aunt told Ohio Statehouse News Bureau reporter Andy Chow. She did not elaborate on the nature of the threat.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 8:30 PM ET

Chicago has released video footage showing the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, more than two weeks after the 13-year-old was killed during a foot chase in the Little Village neighborhood.

A graphic and disturbing video captures what police have described as an alleyway confrontation between Toledo and an officer identified as Eric Stillman in the early morning of March 29.

Updated March 26, 2021 at 4:07 AM ET

Deadly tornadoes that ripped through Alabama throughout Thursday remain a significant threat to other Southern states as the sun rises on Friday.

At least five deaths and multiple injuries have been reported in Calhoun County, Ala., after a tornado hit the region, county coroner Pat Brown told NPR Thursday.

Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings estimated Thursday night that hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged in his state.

Updated March 23, 2021 at 4:06 AM ET

Ten people were killed by a gunman in Boulder, Colo., during a mass shooting at a grocery store that left a trail of bodies, including one police officer, officials announced on Monday evening.

Law enforcement personnel said Monday that police had the suspect in custody and there was no further danger to the public. By 1 a.m. MT Tuesday, police still had not released the suspect's name.

Updated March 17, 2021 at 2:37 AM ET

At least eight people were killed and several others injured in a series of shootings at three spas in the Atlanta metro region Tuesday. A suspect has been taken into custody in connection with all three shootings, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A young, sickly whale that was trapped in more than a 100 feet of line off the coast of Maui was freed on Wednesday, following a harrowing rescue effort.

Trained responders from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary led the mission on Tuesday to untangle the small gauge line from the whale's mouth and pectoral flipper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

President Biden's dog Major — the first to go from a shelter to the White House — has apparently not been a very good boy recently.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that on Monday the three-year-old German Shepherd was "surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual."

Tiger Woods will not face reckless driving charges in the rollover accident in which the renowned golfer totaled an SUV he was driving down a dangerously steep road in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., on Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters on Wednesday that the department has ruled the single-vehicle crash an accident although a traffic investigation is ongoing.

A reckless driving charge is a misdemeanor crime "that has a lot of elements to it," Villanueva said during an online press conference.

President Biden has finalized deals to buy 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of July, increasing the likelihood of delivering on his promise to have all Americans inoculated by mid-summer.

Hours after hordes of pro-Trump extremists barged across what proved to be feeble and poorly guarded barricades, and at least one person was fatally shot, the general atmosphere on the streets outside the Capitol appears to be relatively quiet even as Congress is on its way to finishing what it started early Wednesday afternoon.

Police chief Robert Contee said three other fatalities — on adult female and two males — resulted from apparent "separate medical emergencies."

It was close but in the end, the conservative-led Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump campaign's bid to throw out more than 220,000 ballots from two Democratic county strongholds. The move, which came just shortly before Electoral College voters were due to cast their ballots, ensured President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn sided with the court's three liberal members in the 4-3 ruling, finding Trump's legal challenge to change Wisconsin's certified election results "unreasonable in the extreme" and was filed too late.

Philadelphia city officials on Wednesday released "traumatic" bodycam footage worn by the officers who fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. last week, urging the public to remain calm as the city comes under national scrutiny for the shooting.

The Philadelphia Police Department also released multiple 911 calls made by neighbors and Wallace's own family, pleading for help as the 27-year-old experienced a violent psychological episode.

Firefighters are battling more than a dozen wildfires across California as a scorching heat wave continues to bear down on the state. And in the midst of record-breaking temperatures, rare lightning storms have also sparked a handful of new fires that continue to rage on.

"We are all experiencing rather extraordinary conditions," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, adding that there are about 15 fires burning in the northern and southern ends of the state.

Updated at 11:44 a.m. ET

One week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism continued across the United States. Many cities imposed curfews, and President Trump again warned he would order active duty military forces to restore order if state and local governments, in his judgement, failed to do so.

Here are details of some protests around the country.

St. Louis

Crashing servers, outmoded software and overloaded call centers are some of the obstacles standing between millions of unemployed workers and the financial lifeline the government has promised under the $2 trillion relief package approved late last month.

With every passing week the problem is exacerbated by new waves of jobless or laid-off workers whose paychecks have vanished since the coronavirus pandemic crippled the U.S. economy.

Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative for COVID-19, his office announced on Saturday.

"Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence," Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, said in a tweet.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test, that can deliver results in less than an hour.

Cepheid, a Silicon Valley diagnostics company, made the announcement on Saturday, saying it has received emergency authorization from the government to use the test.

Starbucks says it is closing all U.S. company-operated cafes and is moving to drive-thru and delivery services in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The closures will start on Friday and last for at least two weeks, the company said in a statement.

There's hoarding and then there's HOARDING.

Stealing a truck that's hauling about 18,000 pounds of bathroom paper products during a global pandemic during which the commodity has become invaluable to the panicked public likely falls into the all-caps category.

On Wednesday, deputies from the Guilford County Sheriff's office in North Carolina said they came across the 18-wheel tractor trailer as it was traveling on Interstate 40 in Whitsett.

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