Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

As the NPR Ethics Handbook states, the Standards & Practices editor is "charged with cultivating an ethical culture throughout our news operation. This means he or she coordinates regular training and discussion on how we apply our principles and monitors our decision-making practices to ensure we're living up to our standards."

Before becoming Standards & Practices editor, Memmott was one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog, which he helped to launch when he came to NPR in 2009. It focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Prior to joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He reported from places across the United States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

Though there were "a few notable improvements" in places such as Indiana, where beneficial rains fell, the deep drought that has dug in across much of the nation's midsection continued in the past week, according to the statisticians at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Their maps from the past three weeks tell the story.

Graham Spanier, who lost his job as president of Penn State University for allegedly not doing enough to investigate whether former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was molesting young boys, has "launched a full-throttle defense" against charges that he cared more about the university's reputation than Sandusky's victims, Harrisburg's

The man who murdered Beatle John Lennon in December 1980 has been denied parole for a seventh time, The Associated Press reports.

Mark David Chapman, New York State Corrections inmate No. 81A3860, is now 57-years-old. He's serving a prison term of 20 years to life.

Lennon was gunned down at the entrance to his Manhattan apartment building.

The fuss over photos of Prince Harry enjoying some billiards-in-the-buff fun with a lady or two in Las Vegas has led the queen's office to contact Britain's Press Complaints Commission to warn that newspapers in the U.K. better not publish them.

There were an estimated 372,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 4,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

Another way of measuring, to show the recent trend, also rose: "The 4-week moving average was 368,000, an increase of 3,750 from the previous week's revised average of 364,250."

Overall, what we've said the past two weeks still applies:

Those old-fashioned things called books can roil campaigns, and two that are due to hit stores on Sept. 11 certainly have that potential.

Here's the latest on tropical storm Isaac, which could hit Florida this weekend and drench the Republican National Convention in Tampa early next week:

-- The National Hurricane Center says the center of the storm should pass "to the south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today ... [then] approach the Dominican Republic tonight and Friday."

It didn't go far, but the NASA rover Curiosity has taken its first test drive on Mars.

"This is how I roll," NASA writes (speaking for Curiosity) with a photo it has released showing the rover's first tracks. "Forward 3 meters, 90 [degree] turn, then back. Electric slide, anyone?"

"We have a fully functioning mobility system," NASA engineer Matt Heverly just told reporters. He said Curiosity ended up moving about 4 1/2 meters during today's test. It also did a full revolution going forward, backed up and did another revolution.

Listen and see if you can get it out of your head. There are some here at Two-Way headquarters who certainly can't.

A 2.3 percent increase in sales of previously owned homes in July from June is the latest sign that the housing market is on the mend, Reuters reports.

The National Association of Realtors said this morning that sales of existing homes increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million.