Steve Inskeep

Steve Inskeep is host of Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the United States. He co-hosts with Renee Montagne.

Inskeep has traveled across the nation and around the world for Morning Edition and NPR News. From the Persian Gulf to the wreckage of New Orleans, he has interviewed presidents, warlords, authors, and musicians, as well as those who aren't in the headlines — from a steelworker in Ohio to a woman living in poverty in Tehran.

Inskeep's first full-time assignment for NPR was the 1996 presidential primary in New Hampshire. He went on to cover the Pentagon, the Senate, and the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush.

After the September 11 attacks, Inskeep covered the war in Afghanistan, the hunt for al-Qaeda suspects in Pakistan, and the war in Iraq. In 2003, he received a National Headliner Award for investigating a military raid that went wrong in Afghanistan. He has twice been part of the NPR News team that was awarded an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for its coverage of Iraq.

In 2004, Inskeep joined a team that reshaped Morning Edition. Today Morning Edition aggressively covers breaking news, and also, in Inskeep's words, "tries to slow down the news – make sense of information that flies by too quickly, and check glib statements against the facts."

He led Morning Edition teams that hosted the program from New Orleans, Detroit, Karachi, and Tehran; investigated Iraqi police in Baghdad; and received a 2006 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award for "The Price of African Oil," a series on conflict in Nigeria.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Inskeep and NPR's Michele Norris co-hosted "The York Project," a groundbreaking series of conversations about race. Fifteen Pennsylvanians met to talk for hours about a subject that's constantly mentioned, yet not often frankly discussed. This series received a duPont silver baton for excellence.

Although his job often calls for him to deliver bad news, Inskeep looks for the humanity in hard times — and the humor. "I'm inspired," he says, "by the Langston Hughes book Laughing to Keep From Crying. And I'm inspired by people like the Bordelons, who've spoken with us ever since they rode out Hurricane Katrina. At the beginning, they sometimes laughed and cried in the same sentence. Laughter means you survived."

Before coming to NPR, Inskeep worked for public and commercial radio stations in and around New York City. He has written articles for publications including The New York Times and Washington Post. He is also the author of a forthcoming book on the world's growing urban areas, tentatively titled Instant City.

A native of Carmel, Indiana, Inskeep is a 1990 graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky.

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3:28am

Wed June 12, 2013
Middle East

Despite Limited Election Choices, Iranians Eager To Be Heard

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:53 am

Supporters of Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator and a candidate in Iran's June 14 presidential election, attend a street campaign after Friday prayers in Tehran on June 7.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

The day we arrived in Iran's capital, Tehran, billboards along the drive from the airport to the city center were already telling us something about what's happening in the country as it prepared for Friday's presidential elections.

We see typical highway signs for Sony Ericsson, but also billboards featuring the face of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. We also see and drive under giant signs that are from Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urging people to vote.

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1:17pm

Tue June 11, 2013
The Salt

Za'atar: A Spice Mix With Biblical Roots And Brain Food Reputation

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:27 am

Lebanese bread topped with za'atar, a spice mix ubiquitous in the Middle East.
Photostock Israel Getty Images

NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep recently traveled to Damascus for a series of reports on the ongoing war in Syria. He sent this postcard from the road.

Dear Salt:

On my first day in Damascus, I went walking in the ancient bazaar — narrow stone-paved streets surrounding a great stone mosque. The mosque is so old, it used to be a church during the Roman Empire, and before it was a church, it was a pagan temple. The bazaar is surely as old as the mosque, for Damascus is a historic city of trade.

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5:23am

Tue June 11, 2013
Parallels

Inmates In A Venezuelan Prison Build A World Of Their Own

At this prison in Barinas, Venezuela, the inmates are in charge.
Steve Inskeep NPR

In Latin America — home to the vast majority of the world's most violent cities — it's said the only part of a prison a guard controls is the gate, leaving convicts to fend for themselves inside, even running criminal networks from behind bars.

I wanted to understand how a prison like that worked, and I was in luck: A colleague knew a man serving time a Venezuelan prison. The prisoner got in touch with the leader of the inmates, who sent word that he'd be willing to see us.

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7:15am

Mon June 10, 2013
Parallels

In Venezuela, A Family Blames The Police For Their Misery

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:05 pm

Eloisa Barrios visits the humble graves of nine male family members in the Guanayen cemetery. She says all nine were killed by the police, in what was a vendetta against her family. Recently, a 10th member of the family was stabbed to death. He was 17.
Meridith Kohut for NPR

The story of Venezuela's Eloisa Barrios is especially revealing because so many of her relatives have been killed. Revealing because of who she believes pulled the trigger.

Some weeks ago, Barrios climbed into our van for a drive to a cemetery. The burial ground is outside a village in the Venezuelan countryside. We went there to visit the Barrios family dead.

She told us nine relatives had been killed in shootings over the past 15 years. All nine were young men.

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2:50am

Thu June 6, 2013
Parallels

For Venezuelans, Kidnappings Are Simply Business As Usual

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 8:18 pm

Kidnappings and other crime have infiltrated every aspect of daily life in Venezuela, especially the capital, Caracas, which was recently ranked the world's third most violent city.
Rodrigo Abd AP

German Garcia-Velutini got into his car and left work one day. It took him 11 months to get home.

Kidnappers had nabbed the Venezuelan banker. His abduction is part of a problem that's been getting worse every year for the past decade in Venezuela, which belongs to a region riddled with crime and the most violent cities in the world.

Gracia-Velutini tells his story at an outdoor table at a hotel in Caracas, the capital, with a view of a mountainside that climbs into the clouds.

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5:54am

Mon June 3, 2013
Middle East

Fight For Homs Fades From Headlines As War In Syria Rages

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:23 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. We're going to get a glimpse from the front lines of the civil war in Syria now. That war is expected to be the focus of peace negotiations, in the coming weeks. The U.S. is pressing for those talks after brutal fighting, fighting that's begun to spread to neighboring countries.

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5:24am

Sun June 2, 2013
Parallels

A City Of Assad Supporters In War-Ravaged Syria

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 2:33 pm

The port city of Tartous is in a region loyal to President Bashar Assad. The city has been a refuge for supporters to vacation and seek work.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Many people in Syria are accustomed to the sound of daily gunfire. It is normal in battle-scarred cities like Damascus or Qusair.

But along the beaches and in the cafes of Tartous, an area that is a center of support for the embattled President Bashar Assad, the sounds are a bit more peaceful.

Near the water's edge of the Mediterranean, tables, chairs and umbrellas sit upon huge stones. At one of these tables sits a brother and sister on vacation.

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2:58am

Wed May 29, 2013
Parallels

Syria's Civil War: The View From A Damascus Shrine

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 10:47 am

Zeinab
Nishant Dahiya NPR

Traveling to Damascus gives you a view of Syria's war turned inside out.

The international community talks of arming Syria's rebels against President Bashar Assad, but in the capital many people still hope the rebels will lose.

That's the thinking we found around a Muslim shrine in Damascus, a tribute to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She lived centuries ago, but a Damascus doctor we met spoke of her in the present tense.

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12:52am

Tue May 28, 2013
Parallels

In Damascus, A View Of Syria's War Turned Inside Out

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 9:41 am

The Ummayyid Mosque in Damascus has been a mosque for around 1,400 years. It sits in the center of a city where many people are struggling to live normal lives amid war.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Many years ago, the president of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, approved the construction of a new presidential residence on a mountainside above Damascus.

Assad never occupied the building, saying his successor should take it. When his son Bashar Assad became that successor, he didn't move into the house, either. He preferred a residence down the slope.

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4:21am

Mon May 13, 2013
Analysis

Republicans Focus On Democrats' Political Misdeeds

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 8:41 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Again and again, President Obama's administration tries to pivot attention toward East Asia. Administration officials believe China and its neighbors are where the economic future lies.

GREENE: And yet it's the Middle East that keeps demanding the president's attention. It brings to mind that line from F. Scott Fitzgerald: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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5:45am

Fri May 10, 2013
Middle East

U.S. Point Man On Syria Meets With Rebels Inside Syria

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 8:10 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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6:03am

Wed April 24, 2013
Around the Nation

Racin Case: Charges Dropped Against Miss. Man

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 7:20 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Here's another reminder that a fast-moving news story can completely change. Prosecutors have dropped the charges against Paul Kevin Curtis. He's the Elvis impersonator first arrested in the case of ricin being sent to U.S. officials, as we reported last week.

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4:44am

Wed April 17, 2013
National Security

FBI Encourages Public To Turn Over What They May Know

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 2:46 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

The special agent in charge of the FBI Boston office hopes someone somewhere heard something that will point to a suspect in the Boston Marathon attack.

(SOUNDBITE OF STATEMENT)

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7:53am

Fri April 12, 2013
Latin America

Venezuelan Humorist Engages Kidnappers In Election Dialogue

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 1:18 pm

Laureano Marquez, a popular Venezuelan writer and political satirist, says he is always opposed to the government in power. "The mission of humor is to show the people that things can be better," he says.
Nishant Dahiya NPR

Earlier this week in Caracas, we were about to go to an interview when it had to be rescheduled. The man we were going to speak with was unavoidably detained — kidnapped, to be precise.

It took awhile after that for Laureano Marquez to free up his schedule and meet us in a coffee shop.

"I'm so sorry," he said when he finally arrived, as if it was his fault for being thrown into a car and driven off to the far reaches of town.

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5:45am

Thu April 11, 2013
Latin America

How Hugo Chavez's Policies Affected Ordinary Venezuelans

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:46 pm

Maria Colmenares lives in a concrete-block house on a mountainside overlooking the presidential palace in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. Her story says much about the oil-rich and turbulent Latin American nation.
Nishant Dahiya NPR

In the days before elevators, there was no such thing as a penthouse on the top floor. The highest floors of a building had cheaper rents because the stairs were hard to climb.

Caracas, Venezuela, is organized roughly the same way, with many poor neighborhoods climbing up the sides of a mountain valley. Some of the poorest homes are among the most remote, accessible not by any road but by alleyways and long flights of stairs.

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4:56am

Wed April 10, 2013
Latin America

Hugo Chavez's Legacy Looms Over Venezuelan Election

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:20 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep in Caracas, Venezuela. This country is about to hold a presidential election. Voters are replacing the late Hugo Chavez, who shouldered this oil-rich republic onto the world stage. He often denounced the United States as an oppressive empire - even as he sold Americans oil - and imported gasoline from U.S. refineries. The election of his successor this weekend gives us a chance to listen to a changing Latin America.

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6:30am

Thu March 21, 2013
National Security

Pentagon May Take Over CIA's Drone Program

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 9:23 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

We're learning this morning of a possible change in the American use of unmanned drones. The change, if it happens, would affect who gives the orders and possibly how much the public learns.

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7:52am

Tue March 19, 2013
Religion

Installation Mass Launches Pope Francis' Papacy

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS RINGING)

INSKEEP: That's the sound of bells in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, as Pope Francis celebrated his inaugural Mass today. The ceremony was infused with meaning, both in the substance of what the new pope said and the symbolism of how he was presented.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Rome.

Hi, Sylvia.

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4:43am

Tue March 19, 2013
Research News

What Is The Effect Of Asking Americans To Think About The Greater Good?

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When President Obama recently called for stricter gun control laws, he started out by saying this.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is the land of the free, and it always will be.

INSKEEP: The land of the free, he said. But he added this.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

OBAMA: We don't live in isolation. We live in a society, a government of and by and for the people. We are responsible for each other.

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4:31am

Mon March 18, 2013
Sports

Selection Sunday Sets NCAA Tournament Brackets

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 12:38 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. The field is set for the NCAA Division One men's basketball tournament. Top seeds include Kansas, Louisville, Indiana and Gonzaga. The team previously known for its heroic upsets in the NCAA tournament is now one of the teams to beat. NPR's Mike Pesca is here to discuss the selections. Mike, good morning.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

INSKEEP: How'd Gonzaga do it?

PESCA: I know, right? You read those other teams, and it's, like, perennial power, perennial power, perennial power, Jesuit school from Spokane.

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5:26am

Thu March 14, 2013
Remembrances

Pakistani Advocate For The Poor Slain By Gunmen

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 9:34 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Gunmen killed a woman in Pakistan yesterday. The news stories about this were formulaic for Pakistan, she was killed in a customary manner by assassins on motorcycles who rolled away with impunity. What's remarkable is the way she lived. Parveen Rehman came from Karachi, one of the world's largest cities. She helped thousands of poor people obtain basic services.

When I first met her in 2008, she told me she studied to become an architect, but doubted the value of the upscale buildings she learned to design.

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4:39am

Fri March 8, 2013
Latin America

Venezuela To Display Chavez Body For Perpetuity

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 4:32 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Thousands of Venezuelans have been filling the streets this week, listening to music and lining up to see the coffin of their leader, Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday. Leaders from around the world have also come to the capital city, Caracas, for a funeral which formally takes place today. And in keeping with his often larger-than-life persona, the Venezuelan government plans to embalm Chavez and keep his body on display under glass, in perpetuity. NPR's Juan Forero is in Caracas, following events there. Hi, Juan.

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5:41am

Fri March 1, 2013
Analysis

Vatican Is Without Sitting Pope

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. In Italy the papacy is officially vacant. The Vatican is now under the control of the cardinals who will elect a new leader of the Catholic Church. Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI gave up his ring, his cape and red papal shoes to become Pope Emeritus. Cokie Roberts was there, joins us from Rome. Hi, Cokie.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

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5:58am

Fri February 8, 2013
Around the Nation

Ex-LAPD Officer, Who Vowed Revenge, Suspected In Murders

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 12:28 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

It's been a tense 24 hours in Southern California. The former Los Angeles police officer wanted in connection with three murders is still at large this morning, despite a manhunt that has spanned hundreds of miles.

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6:11am

Mon January 28, 2013
Africa

Egypt's Morsi Declares State Of Emergency

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Just under two years after Egyptian protesters overthrew their government, Egypt's new government faces spreading protests. These demonstrations have led to violence near the Suez Canal; and they've prompted Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, to do what former Egyptian presidents used to do - declare a state of emergency. NPR's Leila Fadel is covering this story. Hi, Leila.

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6:00am

Mon January 28, 2013
Analysis

Bipartisan Group Agrees To Overhauling Immigration

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We have a clearer picture this morning of just what an immigration overhaul might look like.

INSKEEP: A bipartisan group of senators is spreading word that they have agreed on principles for change.

MONTAGNE: The proposal would include a pathway to citizen for millions of people now in the U.S. illegally. Republicans have led the opposition to that change, up to now, commonly calling it amnesty.

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5:14am

Wed January 23, 2013
National Security

Gen. John Allen Cleared In Email Probe

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:13 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, the Pentagon says the U.S. commander in Afghanistan is cleared. Gen. John Allen was caught in a scandal last fall. You may recall, he'd been corresponding by email with a Florida socialite; and the question for the Pentagon was whether Gen. Allen's emails were inappropriate. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman followed the story back then. He's with us now. Tom, good morning.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

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5:55am

Fri January 11, 2013
Sports

Major League Baseball Enacts Anti-Doping Policies

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Major League Baseball has enacted new anti-doping policies that are being described as unprecedented in American professional sports. Yesterday, Major League Baseball and its Players Union said that starting next year they will be fighting the use of human growth hormone and testosterone - two allegedly popular banned substances.

NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman has been covering this story. Tom, good morning.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

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5:39am

Thu January 10, 2013
NPR Story

Baseball Writers Vote For No Hall Of Fame Candidates

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Baseball writers send a message when they vote for candidates for the Hall of Fame, both in who they select and in who they pass up. And for the first time since 1996, only the eighth time in baseball history that baseball writers decided not to nominate anyone for induction. The winners are no one. The pool of candidates was one of the most star-studded ever. It included Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa - players all linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins me. Good morning.

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6:06am

Tue January 8, 2013
Around the Nation

How Do gun Bans Affect Violent Crime Rates?

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:28 am

On Monday, Morning Edition explored crime rates in Chicago and how the murder rate went up in 2012. That was against national trends and even against Chicago's long-range decline in crime. We discussed police focus on "hot spots," and the dissolution of gangs. But listeners asked: What about gun bans?

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