Samantha Balaban

Samantha Balaban is producer at Weekend Edition.

After receiving her M.A. in Journalism and Latin American studies from New York University, she got her start in public radio covering the James "Whitey" Bulger trial for WBUR as an intern. Since coming to NPR in 2014, she has reported on a perfume-loving tiger, traveled to Mexico to meet actor Diego Luna (and cover the elections), ridden with border patrol officers along the Rio Grande River, eaten very well in Houston, interviewed a Bangle and used her waterproof fanny pack to help keep her mic dry during hurricanes. She's also responsible for Picture This, a series of conversations with authors and illustrators.

Most days, you can find her under a pile of books and mail coordinating Weekend Edition's book coverage. On weekends, she's hanging out with her dog, Winnie.

TORKHAM, Pakistan — Although the Kabul airport has opened again to international flights, many Afghans are still trying to flee overland, through major border crossings like the one in Torkham, Pakistan.

At its heart, Hunter Biden's new memoir, Beautiful Things, is a story of addiction.

Biden, the 51-year-old son of the president, writes that he first bought crack cocaine at age 18. He first fell in love with alcohol in high school and started drinking heavily after work in his 20s. "I always could drink five times more than anyone else," he writes.

He has been in and out of rehab numerous times over the last two decades and has had long periods of sobriety between relapses.

Food banks have seen demand climb dramatically this year. Eric Cooper of the San Antonio Food Bank talks about how additional federal dollars could make a difference to his clients.

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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey have been "making stuff" together since they were kids. They grew up in a family of four brothers, and from a young age, Jarrett says, he and Jerome "just clicked."

Dr. Carrie Jurney is on the board of an online organization that works to prevent suicides. It's called Not One More Vet.

This isn't a mental health support group for veterans — it's for veterinarians.

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