Kelly McEvers

After three years covering the Middle East for NPR, Kelly McEvers is taking on a new country: the U.S. In the fall of 2013, she will become a correspondent for NPR's National Desk.

Previous to this role, she was NPR's international correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to moving into that reporting location in January 2012, McEvers was based at NPR's Baghdad Bureau.

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns quickly followed the early euphoria of protests. While colleagues were celebrating with protesters in Egypt or rebels in Libya, McEvers was hunkered down with underground activists in Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. 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 has spent long hours with the shadowy group of 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 has gripped the country since. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She also covered Yemen and other Persian Gulf countries.

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 filed sound-rich profiles of 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.

From 2004-2006, McEvers covered the former Soviet Union for PRI's The World. She investigated the Russian military's role in the violent end to the three-day school siege by Chechen militants in the Russian town of Beslan. She was later accused of spying and detained for three days by Russian security forces near the border with Chechnya.

After 9/11, McEvers covered Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore for NPR and other outlets — including in-depth stories on Jemaah Islamiyah, the region's Al Qaeda-linked terrorist network that planned and executed deadly attacks at two Bali nightclubs in 2002.

McEvers was based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 1999-2000 for the BBC World Service. From there, she filed her first NPR story on then-emerging plans to try former members of the Khmer Rouge. She is one of the first reporters to knock on the door of Nuon Chea, the so-called "Brother No. 2" who served under Pol Pot.

Beginning her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, McEvers worked as a metro reporter and spent nearly a year documenting the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

In addition to NPR, her radio work has appeared on PRI/Chicago Public Radio's This American Life, NPR's Hearing Voices and On the Media, American Public Media's Weekend America, and the CBC. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books Online, The Washington Monthly, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a founder of Six Billion, an online magazine that was a regular feature at Harvard University's Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism.

McEvers served as a fellow with the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. She earned a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and has been a professor of journalism at universities in the U.S. and abroad. She has a bachelor's in English literature and political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Around the Nation
4:28 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Immigrants Feel Like Targets As Deportations Increase

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 9:10 am

Morning Edition spent a lot of time recently reporting from the U.S.-Mexico border. President Obama has deported 2 million people from the U.S. But many say that number is misleading.

NPR News Investigations
8:19 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Pentagon Reorganizing How It Brings Home America's War Dead

The Central Identification Laboratory of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Pentagon announced that it will overhaul how the organization finds, identifies and returns the remains of thousands of service members lost in past wars.
Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 6:23 am

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced an overhaul Monday of the agencies responsible for finding, identifying, and returning the remains of servicemen lost in past wars.

The Pentagon spends more than $100 million a year on the effort, but last year only identified 60 of the more than 80,000 missing.

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News
2:13 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 4:52 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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Latin America
3:05 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Deportees To Mexicali Wait For Another Chance To Cross Into U.S.

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 7:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

It was the middle of a sunny day when our road trip along the U.S.-Mexico border led us to one of the driest regions we'd seen.

(SOUNDBITE OF A VEHICLE)

INSKEEP: For a moment there, the landscape made our producer, Selena Simmons-Duffin, think of "Lawrence of Arabia." We had sand dunes over sand dunes over sand dunes. But in that landscape was a slash of blue.

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Politics
2:27 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Capitol's Immigration Stagnation Gets Dreamers Moving On The Border

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:59 pm

With deportations at a record high under the Obama administration, and with immigration reform stalled in Congress, Dreamer protest groups are trying to keep the issue alive with actions of their own.

NPR News Investigations
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

U.S. Grave Science Marked By Risk Aversion And Bureaucracy

Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:02 am

In part two of a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica, we look at the agency charged with bringing home and identifying the 83,000 American war dead. It's stymied by an extreme aversion to risk. See the

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

Transcript

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NPR News Investigations
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Dated Methods Mean Slow Return For Fallen Soldiers — Or None At All

Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 8:20 am

The agency charged with bringing home and identifying American war dead is slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods, according to a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica.

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

Transcript

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Economy
5:30 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Thousands Fall From Middle Class After RV Industry Collapse

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We're going to take a close look, now, at the human cost when an industry shuts down. Oregon has kept detailed records on what happened to thousands of people who lost their jobs when the state's RV manufacturing industry imploded during the recession. Since then, many workers dropped from middle wage to low wage earners, a trend playing out across the United States. Some fared even worse. NPR's Kelly McEvers when to Oregon to meet the people behind the numbers.

BRADLEY WARING: Entering Junction City, 5,460 people.

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Reporter's Notebook
1:04 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Dwindling Middle Class Has Repercussions For Small Towns

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

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 12:23 pm

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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The Salt
4:44 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

In Iraq, Laying Claim To The Kebab

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

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 7:54 pm

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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Parallels
1:19 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Al-Jazeera Under Fire For Its Coverage Of Egypt

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

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 5:45 am

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Middle East
3:06 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Syrian Refugees Caught Up In Egypt's Political Crisis

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 1:27 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Egypt, the ouster of President Mohammad Morsi has changed things - not just for Egyptians but also for another group of Arabs living in that country. It's a story of how when one group falls from grace, so do those who are perceived to be its supporters. Under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt was a safe haven for Syrians fleeing the war in their country.

Now, as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports from Cairo, the power shift in Egypt is putting Syrians in danger.

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News
5:16 am
Sat July 13, 2013

Ramadan Takes Political Tinge In Egypt

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 2:08 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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NPR Story
2:45 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Syrian Conflict Continues Violent Spillover Into Lebanon

Originally published on Sun July 14, 2013 6:13 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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Parallels
6:08 am
Sat June 29, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 9:50 pm

  • Listen to Kelly McEvers' Hourlong Documentary

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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Middle East
4:05 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Dozens Dead After Clashes With Radical Cleric In Lebanon

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 11:46 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

Calm has been restored in southern Lebanon for now. Clashes between the army and followers of a radical Sunni cleric have left dozens dead over the past two days. It's been called the most violent spillover from the conflict in Syria to a neighboring country. And now, a manhunt is under way for that cleric, Ahmed al-Assir.

NPR's Kelly McEvers traveled from Beirut to the scene of the violence today in Sidon, also known as Saida in Arabic.

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Middle East
3:23 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Shiite Fighters Drawn To Fight In Syria By Islamic Prophecy

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

For the first time in modern history, Shiite fighters are crossing borders to wage jihad, much as Sunnis traveled to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and to Iraq to fight Americans. These days, the draw is Syria. The cause is not a foreign invader but a rival sect. And some say, it's about fulfilling a thousand-year-old prophecy, as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

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Iraq
4:04 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Sectarian Violence Rises Sharply In Iraq

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 11:52 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's easy for us to overlook, given the violence elsewhere in the Middle East, but violence in Iraq has risen sharply. Since the start of April, more than 2,000 people have been killed in car bombings and other attacks. Iraq has not seen that level of killing since the worst of the sectarian war back in 2006 and 2007. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

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Middle East
3:16 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Rebels Lose Key Town To Syrian Forces

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 8:26 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In Syria, the battle for Qusair is over. The strategically important town has fallen back under government control. That was confirmed early today by Syrian state media and rebel sources.

For three weeks, Qusair has been the scene of fierce fighting, including not only Syrians, but also the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah. NPR's Kelly McEvers tells us more from Beirut.

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Middle East
3:54 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Sons, Who Belonged To Hezbollah Died 'Heroically' In Syria

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 6:30 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.N. says hundreds of wounded, along with thousands more civilians, are trapped inside the embattled Syrian town of Qusair. The Syrian army, along with fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, have the town surrounded. Up until recently Hezbollah's involvement in the fight was kept secret. But now, as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports, the group's supporters are readying for what could be a bigger, more regional fight.

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Middle East
3:16 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Hezbollah Sends Fighters To Qusayr From Lebanon

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 6:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's Kelly McEvers has also been reporting on the fight, and the involvement of Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. She sends this report.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: So, we're just on the other side of the border from where Steve just was. We're in Lebanon. We're standing on top of an unfinished house. It's basically bare concrete with rebar sticking up. And I can see into Qusayr. Just beyond a berm that forms the border between Lebanon and Syria is the city of Qusayr.

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Middle East
2:28 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Syrian Conflict Continues Spread Into Neighboring Lebanon

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

The Syrian town of Quseir sits just miles from the border with Lebanon and the fierce fighting there is evidence of how the war is reaching beyond Syria's borders. Lebanese militants from Hezbollah are now openly fighting alongside Syrian soldiers in Quseir. And this weekend, rockets were fired on Hezbollah areas inside Lebanon's capital Beirut. Here's NPR's Kelly McEvers.

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Middle East
2:47 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Syrian Rebels Want Enough Help To Turn The Tide

Audie Cornish talks to Kelly McEvers about her reporting out of Syria and what people there are saying about U.S. intervention.

World
2:03 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 7:59 pm

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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Middle East
3:39 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Members Of Assad's Sect Break Ranks With Syrian Regime

A Syrian woman walks past a poster for President Bashar Assad in an Alawite-dominated neighborhood in the western city of Homs, on Jan. 11, 2012. Support among the president's own minority sect is waning.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 7:56 pm

The Alawites of Syria were a poor, little-known Shiite minority until longtime dictator Hafez Assad, a member of the sect, rose to power in 1970. His son, President Bashar Assad, is now fighting to maintain that power in a country that has risen up against him. Now, even some Syrian Alawites say they are willing to denounce the regime, despite the risks.

A recent gathering in Cairo was much like other conferences hosted by the Syrian opposition — a flurry of activity in the hotel lobby, late-night conversations and lots of cigarettes.

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Middle East
2:42 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Syrian Government Stronghold Raqqa Falls To Rebels

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 4:16 am

The Syrian provincial capital of Raqqa is the first city to fall entirely to rebels who are fighting to bring down President Bashar Assad's regime. We have the story of Mohammad Abdel Aziz, who witnessed the fall of Raqqa from inside a prison cell.

Iraq
12:58 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Revisiting Iraq: A Sister On The Edge

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 8:24 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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Middle East
4:21 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Face To Face With Death In Iraq

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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Iraq
2:43 am
Tue March 19, 2013

1 Decade Since The War, Where Iraq Stands Now

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

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:00 am

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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Iraq
3:14 am
Sat March 16, 2013

Letters To My Dead Father

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

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 5:46 am

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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