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.

The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.5 percent — its lowest level in nearly three years — as 200,000 jobs were were added to payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

We'll add more details from the report shortly, so hit your "refresh" button to see our latest updates.

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Looking Back:

At 8.5 percent, the jobless rate is the lowest since February 2009's 8.3 percent.

The most-anticipated story of the morning seems to be the December jobs and unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is due for release at 8:30 a.m. ET.

We'll post on the news as soon as possible after it's available.

Penn State University has chosen New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to be its next head football coach and the man who will try to rebuild a program that was rocked last fall by a scandal that cost legendary coach Joe Paterno the job, ESPN reports. The sports network says an announcement is expected to be made Saturday.

There's been an explosion in central Damascus today and there are reports of multiple deaths and dozens of injuries.

As always in Syria, where the regime of President Bashar Assad tries to control the news, it's difficult to get an accurate sense of just what is going on. The regime is blaming its opponents, who have been protesting against Assad since last spring. Activists are questioning whether the attack was staged by supporters of the regime to make the opposition look bad.

Here's some of what's being reported:

This is why we created a category called The No-Way:

"A family in Northwest Fresno was stunned Wednesday morning to find a car on the roof of their apartment," KFSN-TV reports.

Police say a 26-year-old man who allegedly stole a car was apparently driving it way too fast when he missed a turn, went on to some rocks and the vehicle launched into the air.

Joseph P. Kennedy III, the son of former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, "is taking the final steps to launch a run for Congress this year, hoping to succeed [the retiring] U.S. Rep. Barney Frank," the Boston Globe reports.

Saying that "the size and structure of our military and defense budget have to be driven by a strategy — not the other way around," President Obama just gave a broad overview of his administration's new military strategy.

Speaking at the Pentagon, Obama said that:

You may have heard about that Canadian man who says he got into the U.S. by showing a Customs and Border Protection officer an image of his passport on an iPad.

Well, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has this to say about that:

If you haven't seen it yet, take a few seconds to watch something that's now happened just four times in English Premier League history.

Everton goalie Tim Howard scored from about 90 yards away last night when his clearing kick bounced over the head of opposing goalie Adam Bogdan.

Fortunately for Bogdan, his Bolton Wanderers team went on to defeat The Toffees 2-1.

There was a 325,000-gain in the number of jobs on private employers' payrolls last month, according to the widely watched ADP National Employment Report, which was just released.

Among the stories about today's unveiling of the Obama administration's new defense strategy is a New York Times report that says projected cuts in the number of Army troops would mean the military would no longer "be able to carry out two sustained ground wars at one time, as was required under past national military strategies."

The death toll is rising in Baghdad from another series of deadly bombings apparently aimed at Shiite Muslims.

About 30 people were killed today and more than 60 wounded, according to authorities, by explosions near two sites where day laborers were gathering to look for construction work.

Google is "downgrading the search result ranking of the company's own Web browser, Google Chrome, for 60 days," as PC World reports, because some bloggers ending up being paid to mention Chrome during a recent ad campaign.

The story of how 18-year-old Sarah Dawn McKinley shot and killed a man who authorities say was breaking into her house on Saturday has been getting lots of attention because of the 911 phone call she made and the already tragic circumstances surrounding the incident.

McKinley, of Blanchard, Okla., called 911 to say that a man was trying to get inside her mobile home and that she feared for her life and that of her 3-month-old son. She asked the 911 operator if she could shoot him if he got inside.

Robert Carter, who was a key member of the legal team that convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw segregated public schools in 1954's landmark Brown v. the Board of Education decision, died Tuesday. He was 94.

According to The New York Times, "the cause was complications of a stroke, said his son John W. Carter, a justice of the New York Supreme Court in the Bronx."

"This order for the mass evacuation of all persons of Japanese descent denies them the right to live," Seattle native Gordon Hirabayashi wrote in 1942. "I consider it my duty to maintain the democratic standards for which this nation lives. Therefore, I must refuse this order of evacuation."

Saying he's there "to make sure we make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America," 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain just returned to New Hampshire to endorse the White House bid of his one-time rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

McCain and Romney fought a hard battle for the GOP nomination n 2008, after which Romney endorsed the Arizona senator.

When it comes to close political races, the recent Gold Standard in the U.S. is the 2000 presidential vote in Florida.

So we were wondering how last night's result in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses compares to that famous hanging-chad contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Let's walk through the math:

Though he said last night that he would go home to reassess his bid for the presidency — a signal that he might drop out of the race — this message just popped up on the personal Twitter page of Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

"And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State...Here we come South Carolina!!!"

As results come in from the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, we'll be highlighting the latest news and developments in this "live-blog." You can follow our updates on the homepage, where they'll flow in automatically, and in this post. Here, we'll collect all the updates so that you can see how the story developed as the night went on. Just click your "refresh" button occasionally to ensure you're seeing our latest additions.

As we've been saying, it's finally time for voters to cast some ballots that actually mean something for the 2012 presidential race.