NPR: Kelly McEvers

After many years in the Middle East, Kelly McEvers is back home and working as a national correspondent based at NPR West. She previously ran NPR's Beirut bureau, where she earned a George Foster Peabody award, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, a Gracie award, and an Overseas Press Club mention for her 2012 coverage of the Syrian conflict. She recently made a radio documentary about being a war correspondent with renowned radio producer Jay Allison of Transom.org.

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns followed the early euphoria of protests. She has been tear-gassed in Bahrain; she has spent a night in a tent city with a Yemeni woman who would later share the Nobel Peace Prize; and she spent weeks inside Syria with anti-government rebels known as the Free Syrian Army.

In Iraq, she covered the final withdrawal of U.S. troops and the political chaos that gripped the country afterward. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In 2008 and 2009, McEvers was part of a team that produced the award-winning "Working" series for American Public Media's business and finance show, Marketplace. She profiled a war fixer in Beirut, a smuggler in Dubai, a sex-worker in Baku, a pirate in the Strait of Malacca and a marriage broker in Vietnam.

She previously covered the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia as a freelancer for NPR and other outlets. She started her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, where she worked as a metro reporter and documented the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

Her writing also has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Monthly, Slate and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has aired on This American Life, The World, and the BBC. She's taught radio and journalism in the U.S. and abroad.

She lives with her family in California, where she's still very bad at surfing.

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5:31pm

Tue December 2, 2014
Goats and Soda

One Village's Story: How Ebola Began And How It Ends

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 11:09 am

Each day, a nurse comes to this clearing outside Taylortown, Liberia, to sing a song of mourning, preparing the space for the next burial. So far nearly 100 people are interred here.
Kelly McEvers NPR

There's a clearing in the jungle in central Liberia that now serves as an Ebola burial ground. Every day, a woman who works as a nurse in the nearby Ebola treatment unit, or ETU, changes from her scrubs into traditional dress, walks into that clearing and sings a song of mourning.

The song is meant to prepare the space for the dead. There is a burial every day. So far, nearly 100 people have been buried in this clearing. Sixteen are from one village about 45 minutes away, a place called Taylortown, or Taylata in the local dialect.

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5:29pm

Sun November 30, 2014
Global Health

Campaign Rallies Resume In Liberia, Raising Uncertainty Over Ebola Risk

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 12:54 pm

Supporters of the Congress for Democratic Change party take part in a meeting in Monorovia on Nov. 20 for the opening of political campaign activities for senatorial elections. Elections are due to take place on Dec. 16, after being suspended because of the Ebola epidemic.
Zoom Dosso AFP/Getty Images

In Liberia, the number of new cases of Ebola is going down, but the risk has not been eliminated. To help contain the disease, schools are set to be closed until March.

But a national Senate election, which was postponed once, is now set for mid-December. That means campaigning — which means crowds.

Back in August and September, when a hundred people were getting Ebola a day, Monrovia was a ghost town. Ebola treatment units were full and regular hospitals were closed. Some people died in the streets. A lot of people stayed home.

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5:59pm

Tue November 25, 2014
Goats and Soda

Ebola Is Changing Course In Liberia. Will The U.S. Military Adapt?

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 6:31 pm

A helicopter's eye view of a new ETU, funded by USAID and built by Save the Children.
Kelly McEvers NPR

The Ebola outbreak started in rural areas, but by June it had reached Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

By August, the number of people contracting the Ebola virus in the country was doubling every week. The Liberian government and aid workers begged for help.

Enter the U.S. military, who along with other U.S. agencies had a clear plan in mid-September to build more Ebola treatment units, or ETUs. At least one would be built in the major town of each of Liberia's 15 counties. That way, sick patients in those counties wouldn't bring more Ebola to the capital.

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3:51am

Tue November 25, 2014
Goats and Soda

As Ebola Pingpongs In Liberia, Cases Disappear Into The Jungle

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 8:59 am

A hand-drawn map on the wall of a rural clinic shows health workers where a woman with Ebola may be hiding.
Kelly McEvers NPR

There's a new phase of Ebola in Liberia. Epidemiologists call it pingponging.

Back in March, the disease was found in the rural areas. Then as people came to the capital to seek care, it started growing exponentially there. Now, some sick people are going back to their villages, and the disease has pingponged to the rural areas again.

So that's where we're headed — into the hot, thick jungle of Liberia to investigate a new Ebola hotspot.

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6:25pm

Sun November 23, 2014
Global Health

Ebola Gatekeeper: 'When The Tears Stop, You Continue The Work'

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 2:53 pm

Wencke Petersen, a Doctors Without Borders health worker, talks to a man through a chain link gate in September, when she was doing patient assessment at the front gate of an Ebola treatment unit. "There were days we couldn't take any patients at all," she tells NPR.
Michel du Cille The Washington Post

Wencke Petersen came to Liberia in late August to do what she normally does for Doctors Without Borders in hotspots all over the world — manage supplies.

But the supplies she was meant to organize hadn't arrived yet. So she was asked to help with another job: standing at the main gate of the walled-in compound, turning people away when the unit was full.

For five weeks, she gave people the bad news.

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5:45pm

Mon October 27, 2014
Shots - Health News

Is 'Leaning In' The Only Formula For Women's Success In Science?

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 8:45 am

Caltech biochemical engineer Frances Arnold was awarded a National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama in 2013.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Don't wait to be invited or encouraged to make a career in science, engineering or technology, Frances Arnold advises the young women she teaches at the California Institute of Technology. If you're a scientist, she says, you should know how to solve a problem.

"Bemoaning your fate is not going to solve the problem," she says. "One has to move forward."

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7:57am

Sat October 4, 2014
Iraq

Islamic State Beheads British Aid Worker, Makes New Threat

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 1:50 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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5:59pm

Tue September 30, 2014
U.S.

Where Activists See Gray, Albuquerque Police See Black And White

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 11:54 am

Protesters gather outside the Albuquerque Police Department following the shooting deaths of James Boyd and others on March 25. The Justice Department accused the police of engaging in a pattern of excessive force.
Rita Daniels NPR

To understand the tension between the cops and some people in Albuquerque, you have to go back to a Tuesday in April.

It was after the Justice Department had accused the Albuquerque police of engaging in a pattern of excessive force. In March, a homeless camper named James Boyd was shot and killed. Then a 19-year-old woman was killed.

Music teacher Caro Acuna Olvera was eating dinner when a friend called her with the news.

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5:29pm

Mon August 11, 2014
Men In America

After Factory Layoffs, Struggling To Stay On The Economic Ladder

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 1:51 pm

Lynn Eldredge works as a facilities manager for several fast-food restaurants in Utah. At 50, he has no benefits and no retirement savings.
Courtesy of Lynn Eldredge

Lynn Eldredge has worked hard for the past three decades. But somehow, it's still not quite enough.

Eldredge started his working life in the Air Force, and eventually found a steady job in a factory in Kansas. But then, in 2000, he was laid off — and has had six different jobs since then.

Over the past several decades in the U.S., wages have stayed flat or even gone down, while the cost of living has gone up. Economists say that's because jobs went overseas, technology replaced human labor and labor unions have seen their influence decline.

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4:54pm

Sat July 12, 2014
Remembrances

Tommy Ramone, Co-Founder Of The Ramones, Dies At 65

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 6:30 pm

Tommy Ramone, born Tom Erdelyi, has died at age 65. The drummer was the last living member of the legendary punk band he helped create.

5:52pm

Wed July 9, 2014
Men In America

On Calif. Cattle Ranch, Students Wrangle With Meaning Of Manhood

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:39 pm

For All Things Considered's "Men in America" series, NPR's Kelly McEvers sent this report on Deep Springs College — the all-male college that her husband attended, and where he and McEvers have both taught.

About a hundred years ago, a man named L.L. Nunn was building power plants in the American West. He wanted a place where workers could be educated — and educated people could do work.

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4:07pm

Mon June 23, 2014
Health

Are Life Spans Getting Longer? It Depends On How Wealthy You Are

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:07 pm

While life expectancies are getting longer for those who are well off, life spans for poor women are actually getting shorter. The stories of two women, from two very different places, illustrate the reasons for the gap.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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5:11am

Mon June 2, 2014
Politics

17 Primary Candidates Vie For Rep. Henry Waxman's Seat

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:48 am

When the Democrat from Southern California announced his retirement earlier this year, he opened up a seat that had been occupied for decades. The top-two vote getters will face off in November.

3:31am

Thu May 22, 2014
Law

Albuquerque Police Face Federal Scrutiny, Local Outrage

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 9:40 am

Kenneth Ellis II and family members of people shot by Albuquerque police officers hold a news conference on May 8.
Juan Antonio Labreche AP

Kenneth Ellis III was shot and killed by police in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Albuquerque, N.M.

He is among the dozens of people local police have shot over the last four years, 25 of whom have died. The U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report in April saying Albuquerque police have a pattern of excessive force that violates the Constitution.

Investigations and policy changes are in the works, while families of those who have been shot argue more needs to be done.

Building Cases

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5:15am

Thu May 8, 2014
Politics

Spouses Of H1B Visa Holders May Soon Be Able To Hold U.S. Jobs

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 11:55 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

With immigration reform a non-starter in Congress, those advocating reform have been urging the Obama administration to make changes on its own. And the first of those changes was announced this week. It involves the guest visa program known as H1B that allows highly skilled professionals from other countries to come to work in the U.S. The change would allow nearly 100,000 spouses of H1B visa holders to work as well. NPR's Kelly McEvers has the story.

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4:37pm

Mon March 31, 2014
News

Hoping To Slim POW-MIA Bureaucracy, Hagel Makes One Out Of Two

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:08 pm

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the creation of a new defense agency charged with merging the multiple divisions currently responsible for finding and identifying the more than 80,000 members missing from past conflicts. A five-month investigation by NPR and the independent news agency ProPublica had found the U.S. recovery effort to be slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods.

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3:04am

Tue November 12, 2013
Reporter's Notebook

Dwindling Middle Class Has Repercussions For Small Towns

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:23 pm

When reporter Kelly McEvers stepped off the train in Lincoln, Ill., she asked, "What happened to my hometown?"
Kelly McEvers NPR

My parents moved away from Lincoln, Ill., two decades ago, when I was in college. I hardly ever get back there. But my mom still works in Lincoln, and it was to Lincoln I headed to meet her this fall, after returning to the U.S. from the Middle East.

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6:16pm

Tue August 13, 2013
The Salt

In Iraq, Laying Claim To The Kebab

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 9:54 pm

Many different Middle Eastern cultures claim to have invented the kebab.
iStockphoto.com

When you hear the word "kebab" in America, you might think of skewers with chunks of chicken or beef and vegetables, marinated and grilled on coals or gas. But say "kebab" in the Middle East, and it means a lot of things — chunks of lamb or liver on skewers, or the more popular version of grilled ground meat logs found in Turkey, Iran and much of the Arab world.

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3:19am

Thu July 18, 2013
Parallels

Al-Jazeera Under Fire For Its Coverage Of Egypt

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 7:45 am

Posters in Cairo show Al-Jazeera's logo in red with a bloody hand scratching at it. A bullet can kill a man, the poster says, but a lying camera can kill a nation.
Kelly McEvers NPR

The past two weeks in Egypt have been a real test for the TV network Al-Jazeera. Accusations that the network is biased toward the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have resulted in arrests, threats and resignations.

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7:16am

Sat July 13, 2013
News

Ramadan Takes Political Tinge In Egypt

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 4:08 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's the holy month of Ramadan, usually a time of reflection, prayer and solidarity with fellow Muslims. But this Ramadan, Egypt is divided. The ouster of former president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this month and his current detention by Egyptian security forces, has polarized the country. NPR's Kelly McEvers spent last night in the streets of Cairo as pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi camps broke the fast outdoors and took to the streets in protest.

(SOUNDBITE OF STREET SOUNDS)

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4:54pm

Tue July 9, 2013
Middle East

Syrian Conflict Continues Violent Spillover Into Lebanon

Originally published on Sun July 14, 2013 8:13 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A bomb placed in a parked car caused a massive explosion in Beirut today that injured dozens of people. Later, a Syrian rebel group claimed responsibility for the blast.

NPR's Kelly McEvers was at the scene of the attack. She sent this report on how the Syrian conflict is spilling over into Lebanon.

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9:05am

Sat June 29, 2013
Parallels

War Correspondent's Unflinching 'Diary Of A Bad Year'

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 11:50 pm

A Syrian woman is evacuated after being wounded in shelling by regime forces in the Shaar neighborhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on Oct. 13, 2012.
Fabio Bucciarelli AFP/Getty Images

NPR's Kelly McEvers struggled with intense, unexpected emotions during the Arab Spring, when friends were being kidnapped and worse. It made her wonder, why do otherwise intelligent people risk their lives to report on conflicts?

In early 2011, I started seeing things in slow motion. I cried unpredictably. It was the time of the Arab uprisings. Colleagues and friends were getting kidnapped. Some were getting killed.

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6:05pm

Tue June 25, 2013
Middle East

Dozens Dead After Clashes With Radical Cleric In Lebanon

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 1:46 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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3:20pm

Mon April 8, 2013
World

A Close-Up Of Syria's Alawites, Loyalists Of A Troubled Regime

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 9:59 pm

Director Nidal Hassan spent a year filming in Tartous, a Syrian beach town made up mostly of Alawites who still support embattled President Bashar Assad.
Khaled Al-Hariri Reuters/Landov

The film on Syria's Alawite community isn't finished yet, but filmmaker Nidal Hassan's favorite scenes are beginning to take shape.

It opens with fireworks on New Year's Eve in Tartous, Syria. "May God preserve the president for us," one young man yells in a reference to Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

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2:58am

Fri March 22, 2013
Iraq

Revisiting Iraq: A Sister On The Edge

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:24 pm

It's been 10 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq. This week we're taking a look back, revisiting voices you first heard on NPR in 2007. We brought you the story of two sisters who had lost their parents. The older sister wore conservative clothes and recited poetry. The younger sister, just 13 at the time, appeared on the verge of becoming a prostitute.

Like so many stories in Iraq, especially sensitive ones involving shame and sex, this story has to be peeled away in layers, like an onion.

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5:07pm

Thu March 21, 2013
Middle East

Face-To-Face With Death In Iraq

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 6:21 pm

Residents visit the tomb of a loved one at the New Kerbala cemetery in the holy city of Kerbala, Iraq, in 2007.
Mushtaq Muhammad Reuters /Landov

On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, NPR is catching up with some of the people we encountered during the war. In 2006, at the height of the violence, we brought you the story of a woman who performed the Muslim ritual of washing and preparing the dead for burial. Kelly McEvers has this update on Um Abbas, who is now living in southern Iraq.

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4:43am

Tue March 19, 2013
Iraq

1 Decade Since The War, Where Iraq Stands Now

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 12:00 pm

An Iraqi policeman stands guard at a checkpoint decorated with plastic flowers in Baghdad in 2008.
Ali Yussef AFP/Getty Images

Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, NPR is looking at where the country stands now. NPR's Kelly McEvers recently visited Baghdad and offered this take on how the Iraqi capital feels today.

I think the single word that would best describe Baghdad these days is traffic. It can take hours just to get from one place to another. And I guess that's both good and bad.

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5:14am

Sat March 16, 2013
Iraq

Letters To My Dead Father

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 7:46 am

Guffran, 16, sits on the floor of her home, holding a letter she wrote to her father. A Shiite Muslim, Guffran's father was gunned down on the streets of Baghdad in 2006.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Ten years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, NPR is taking a look back, revisiting people and places first encountered during the war. In 2006, NPR aired a story about a 9-year-old girl who loved her father so much, she wrote him letters to take to work with him. Even after he died, in a carjacking that appeared to have a sectarian motive, she still wrote to him.

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12:23pm

Sat March 9, 2013
The Two-Way

A Chat With A Radical Fighter In Syria

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 6:51 am

Members of Jabhat al-Nusra clean their weapons, in Aleppo in December. The Islamist rebel group has become an increasingly powerful force in Syria's civil war.
Ahmed Jadallah Reuters /Landov

The Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has been secretive, keeping to itself and refusing to meet Western journalists. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the Obama administration and was thought to be made up mostly of foreign fighters, working alongside Syrian rebels.

But lately, members are starting to open up as more Syrians join the group and they make more gains on the ground in the fight against the Syrian government.

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4:39am

Fri March 8, 2013
Middle East

Displaced Syrians Bring Life To Ancient 'Dead Cities'

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:41 pm

The Syrian "Dead City" of Shanshrah, in northern Idlib province. A U.N. World Heritage site, the Dead Cities of northern Syria date back to the first to fifth centuries.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Parts of the northern Syrian province of Idlib are a U.N. World Heritage site, known for its ancient archaeological wonders. Walking along muddy, rocky ground covered in new grass and wild daffodils, we start to see remnants of Roman structures — the columns and doorways of dwellings, temples and churches that date back to the 1st century.

They're known as the Dead Cities, and they trace the transition from ancient pagan Rome to Christian Byzantium. Until recently, they were deserted, frozen in time.

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