Ellen Weiss (SHS 1977)


Ellen Weiss’s quotation under her picture in Bandersnatch should be required reading for all Scarsdale High School students: “Being myself includes taking risks with myself, taking risks on new behavior, trying new ways of ‘being myself’ so that I can see how it is I want to be.” At Scarsdale High School Weiss combined a strong intellectual bent, modified by an athletic presence as captain of the girls’ basketball team. Then it was off to Smith with a B.A. in international relations.

After a move to Washington, D.C., Weiss started out as a paralegal, but almost immediately talked her way into a position at National Public Radio, answering phones on the Washington desk. Thus began a spectacular twenty-five year career.

For those of us who are NPR junkies, we owe Weiss big time. For twelve years she was Executive Producer of All Things Considered, responsible for the reporting from Berlin in 1989, San Francisco in the same year and Los Angeles in the 1992 riots. From 2001-2006 Weiss was Senior Editor of the National Desk in charge of the coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the use of dogs in detention centers and a wide variety of subjects including politics, religion, police, education and immigration.

She and her teams of reporters have garnered more than their fail share of awards, most recently the Peabody Awards for an investigative report on the military’s treatment of returning soldiers with emotional wounds. On April 5, 2007, Weiss was appointed Vice President for News, NPR. Cheers rang throughout NPR offices. One of their own, somebody who really understood their field was being honored. “Being myself” isn’t the worst decision to make.