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These were some of the 'Weekend Edition' staff's favorite stories of 2022

(SOUNDBITE OF JANKO NILOVIC AND THE SOUL SURFERS' "INTERLUDE")

ALINA SELYUKH, HOST:

From inflation to the war in Ukraine to the World Cup, 2022 was a year filled with big headlines. So we wanted to take a look back at some of the stories that meant a lot to some of our staff and that they thought were most important.

(SOUNDBITE OF JANKO NILOVIC AND THE SOUL SURFERS' "INTERLUDE")

FERNANDO NARRO, BYLINE: My name is Fernando Narro, and I'm an assistant producer and editor. Last summer marked the 10th anniversary of DACA, the program that President Obama put in place to keep many young undocumented immigrants from deportation like Reyna Montoya in Arizona.

REYNA MONTOYA: I was able to get health care for the first time. I had the opportunity to go back to school and get my master's in secondary education and became a classroom teacher. So I taught high school for two years. I bought my home for the first time in the summer of 2016.

NARRO: Being a DACA recipient helped her create a new life in this country. But the uncertainty of living under such a temporary program is hard to shoulder.

MONTOYA: We are real people, and we all constantly have this sense of anxiety and stress at the back of your mind about, how long will this last?

HIBA AHMAD, BYLINE: Want to know a secret? Our Weekend Edition Sunday host Ayesha Rascoe and I both love horror - ghosts, jump scares, spooky season, all of it.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MIDNIGHT CLUB")

IMAN BENSON: (As Ilonka) What is this?

IGBY RIGNEY: (As Kevin) It's kind of a club.

BENSON: (As Ilonka) You guys sneak into the library every night and...

AYA FURUKAWA: (As Natsuki) Make ghosts.

RIGNEY: (As Kevin) Tell stories.

FURUKAWA: (As Natsuki) Make ghosts sounds better.

(SOUNDBITE OF PERSON SHRIEKING)

AHMAD: That was a clip from director Mike Flanagan's Netflix series "The Midnight Club." And I'm Hiba Ahmad, a producer here on the team. And something Mike Flanagan said has stayed with me.

MIKE FLANAGAN: For a show focused on death, you know, regardless of what any of us think happens after we die, the one thing no one can argue with is that we all become stories. And so kind of being the author of your own story in life becomes very important to these kids because they have so little time left.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BREED'S "MOONY")

ANDREW CRAIG, BYLINE: We hear from celebrities and politicians, but it's the stories of regular people that bring the magic to WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Andrew Craig, an assistant producer. I wanted to show how people navigate uncertainty and hardship. So I told the story of my grandfather, who became sick with a severe case of COVID-19. It left him disabled and dependent on others for survival, forcing my family to confront a painful history.

CARL DUDLEY: I remember my mother expressed that she was not happy with the way that I had lived my life, that I had turned out to be gay.

CRAIG: He wanted to create a hopeful future grounded in truth.

DARRYL ROBINSON: It's not common that you find - especially with Black gay males - that two men can come together and be in each other's lives for two decades and still be attached. It's a struggle.

DUDLEY: It's always evolving. At this point, it is what it is. We love one another. I think that we need to just be who we are.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE SHOUTING)

D PARVAZ, BYLINE: My name is D. Parvaz. I was born in Iran. And this year, my home country was rocked by protests.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE SHOUTING)

PARVAZ: Severe surveillance makes it hard to contact people in Iran. But as an editor for the show, I managed to reach a few Iranians who told us why they took to the streets.

F: (Speaking in Farsi).

PARVAZ: F says, "a girl who is 2 or 3 years old now should be able to choose whether to wear a hijab by the time she's in school." The 1979 Islamic Revolution was years in the making, and changes to the Islamic Republic will also take time. Toppling the regime isn't necessarily the goal for all protesters. And says M, any easing of restrictions would be welcomed by Iranians.

M: If we get to a place where we get more freedom for women, if we get to a place where we get other civil freedoms, that's amazing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LOUIE ZONG'S "SEASIDE TEMPLE")

MELISSA GRAY, BYLINE: I'm Melissa Gray, senior producer, and here's a tip for the new year. If you're a new bride and your rich husband is being, oh, so evasive as he whisks you away to his sprawling yet creepy estate outside of Mexico City, you have to keep asking about his first wife and what happened to her. That was my big takeaway from Ayesha Rascoe's interview with the delightful Isabel Canas about her debut book "The Hacienda." Another takeaway - that putting your 5-year-old in time out might one day lead to an engrossing horror novel.

ISABEL CANAS: I knew there was something in this house, particularly in the basement...

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Oh, wow.

CANAS: ...that just felt watchful and felt uncomfortable. And so when I misbehaved, I got sent to the timeout corner, which was at the bottom of the basement stairs. I had ample time to really meditate on what the hell was going on in there.

(SOUNDBITE OF WILCO SONG, "CRUEL COUNTRY")

MICHAEL RADCLIFFE, BYLINE: In the past couple of years, many of the stories and interviews you've heard were done remotely because of the pandemic. But things eased up in 2022, and one of our in-person interviews was with the band Wilco.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CRUEL COUNTRY")

WILCO: (Singing) I love my country like a little boy.

RADCLIFFE: I'm Michael Radcliffe, assistant producer on the show. And WEEKEND EDITION SATURDAY host Scott Simon and I visited the band in their studio. And since it was in Chicago, Scott felt right at home. He got the band's frontman, Jeff Tweedy, to tell us about the similarities between recording music as a band and how our country moves forward together.

JEFF TWEEDY: In this style of recording in particular that we used on this record, where everybody's playing all at once, bleeding into each other's lives in a way that we can't control, with the idea of all band members playing all at once with the goal of getting something that you can put out and share as a record, you either all get there at the same time, or you don't get there at all. You have to trust that we're all going to make it. (Inaudible).

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: My God, that's beautiful.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FALLING APART (RIGHT NOW)")

WILCO: (Singing) But you're going to have to learn.

HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, BYLINE: I'm Hadeel Al-Shalchi, an editor on the team. One of the most moving stories I worked on aired in March, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine. It featured the voices of Ukrainian artists who were still finding ways to make art during the war. For example, one artist would sketch on wallpaper and make pink paint using boiled beets. And she had a message of hope that all of us can take into the new year.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Despite all of the disaster and horrors and bloody losses that our country is experiencing at the moment, there is still a baby being born in the bomb shelter. There is still a woman that is feeding her entire family with the meals she used to cook before everything had happened. And she continues doing that. Like, there are still miracles happening. And I guess we somehow have to find ways to bring our attention to those tiny sunlights.

(SOUNDBITE OF STEPHAN MOCCIO'S "WHITBY")

SELYUKH: Those are just some of the stories we brought you this year. Our staff also includes...

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SAMANTHA BALABAN, BYLINE: Samantha Balaban.

MARTIN PATIENCE, BYLINE: Martin Patience.

SARAH LUCY OLIVER, BYLINE: Sarah Lucy Oliver.

EVIE STONE, BYLINE: Evie Stone.

DANNY HENSEL, BYLINE: Danny Hensel.

SHANNON RHOADES, BYLINE: Shannon Rhoades.

GABRIEL DUNATOV, BYLINE: Gabriel Dunatov.

ED MCNULTY, BYLINE: Ed McNulty.

CARLY RUBIN, BYLINE: Carly Rubin.

ALLISON MOLLENKAMP, BYLINE: Allison Mollenkamp.

AVA NORGROVE, BYLINE: Ava Norgrove.

TILDA WILSON, BYLINE: Tilda Wilson.

MATTHEW SCHUERMAN, BYLINE: Matthew Schuerman.

ASHLEY LISENBY, BYLINE: Ashley Lisenby. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.