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John Poole

John Poole is a senior visuals editor at NPR. He loves working with talented people and teams to create compelling stories that resonate with the 40 million people who visit NPR's digital platforms each month.

Poole has spent over 20 years working at the forefront of digital and visual media. At NPR, he co-produced "Project Song," a video series that won NPR's first-ever Emmy Award. He shared a Peabody Award for team coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2015 as well as a World Press Photo award for "Life After Death," a view of the crisis from the perspective of a remote Liberian town.

Before coming to NPR, he was part of a small team of journalists at The Washington Post that developed a style of short-form, documentary video that received national and international acclaim. His work has been recognized by The National Journal, International Documentary Magazine, The American Film Institute, the National Press Photographers Association, and the White House News Photographers Association.

He holds a B.A. from Vassar College and lives with his family in Washington, DC.

Three years ago this week, NPR journalists David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna were killed while on assignment in Afghanistan. They were traveling with the Afghan National Army when their convoy was ambushed.

John Poole, NPR's senior visuals editor, remembers his friend and colleague with words — and some of the striking photos David took during a remarkable career.

NPR / YouTube

Mohamed Barud was a 31-year-old newlywed when he was sentenced to life in prison in Somalia.

Lawanda Jones' house near Myrtle Beach, S.C., is next to a large, lovely tree. Earlier this week, as Jones listened to the evacuation orders and hurricane warnings piling up, she looked at that tree and thought: what if it falls?

On Friday afternoon, Jones stood outside Conway High School, a Red Cross shelter and, on drier days, home of the Tigers. She and her family have been staying at the shelter since Tuesday and, although it's crowded and difficult to sleep among strangers, she said she's glad she evacuated early.

The Great Wall of China. A walk on the moon. Genome sequencing. How did we humans, who share almost all of our DNA with chimpanzees, end up doing all that, while they ended up pretty much where they started?

Some scientists will tell you it was language, or tools, or brainpower.

A hunter with bow and arrow, in a steamy sub-Saharan savanna, stalks a big, exotic animal. After killing and butchering it, he and his hunt-mates bring it back to their families and celebrate.

Planet Earth is a vast place, with humans scattered all over it.

For most of human history, we had a lot of bad ideas about how we were getting sick. We also had plenty of bad ideas about how to prevent it, like bloodletting, drilling large holes in the head and drinking arsenic.

We really only started to figure out how to effectively fight infectious disease about 200 years ago, when, inspired by milkmaids, a doctor named Edward Jenner decided to take a closer look at a promising folk remedy - the surprising details we'll leave for the video.

Ten thousand years ago, at the dawn of the agricultural revolution, many of our worst infectious diseases didn't exist.

Here's what changed.

Humans get along pretty well with most microbes. Which is lucky, because there are a lot more of them in the world than there are of us. We couldn't even live without many of them. But a few hundred have evolved, and are still evolving, to exploit our bodies in ways that can make us really sick. These are the microbes we call germs. Think plague, flu, HIV, SARS, Ebola, Zika, measles.

This is a series is about where germs come from. In this first of three episodes, we see what our early encounters with germs may have been like — and how germs first got the upper hand.

The world's girls are healthier than ever. They live longer and more of them are going to school than at any time in history.

But most of them face discrimination simply because they are girls. The discrimination happens at every point in their lives.

In some cases, it starts even before they're born, when parents decide to abort a pregnancy if the fetus is female.

Why do we humans like to play so much? Play sports, play tag, play the stock market, play duck, duck, goose? We love it all. And we're not the only ones. Dogs, cats, bears, even birds seem to like to play. What are we all doing? Is there a point to it all?

They're from the same ethnic group. They speak the same language. And they live on both sides of the Liberia-Guinea divide in the area around Liberia's eastern border city of Ganta, in Nimba County. The families straddle the border, which is not fenced.

"Right over there is the border," says businessman Prince Haward, directing our attention to some rubber farms not too far away. "Those are the rubber farms you find in Guinea."

Monrovia, Liberia's capital, is a city that relies on public transportation — buses, private vans (also known locally as buses), cars and motorcycle taxis. And you can't use any of these options without coming into contact with other people, whether you're jostling in line or wrapping your arms around a motorcycle taxi driver.

Since the Ebola outbreak, Monrovia has placed new restrictions on public transport, and fewer drivers are willing to take chances. So there aren't as many options for commuters at a time when Ebola has made everyone afraid of touching strangers.

Ebola has been responsible for many hundreds of deaths, for fear, for panic, for disbelief and anger.

And for a catchy dance song: "Ebola in Town."

The producers behind this unlikely music are Samuel "Shadow" Morgan and Edwin "D-12" Tweh, who grew up in the shadow of war. They both spent time as kids in refugee camps in Ghana after fleeing the civil war back home in Liberia.

How Will You Die?

Jul 31, 2014

So let's cut to the chase. Depending on where you live on Earth, cooking dinner, having sex and going to the bathroom are either three of life's many pleasures, or they're the riskiest things you can do.

Why?

Former Clinton and Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett knocked it out of the park last year at Pitzer College's commencement. We asked the brilliant animator Steve Cutts to bring part of his address to life in pictures. You will likely never look at a commencement gown the same way again.

Reporter Liz Halloran and I have been motoring around New Hampshire the past few days, chasing candidate events and taking the political temperature of the state.

On the way to a Santorum event Thursday we spotted a small lake dotted with ice fishing shelters — the first we'd seen all week. Apparently, the ice only became thick enough in the last two weeks or so.