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.

Pages

Around the Nation
3:32 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

At Venice Beach, Rich, Poor And Middle Class Coexist

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 4:22 pm

Economists say lower-income Americans are better off when they live in an area with a diversity of income levels. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports on an area with a wide range of economic diversity, California's Venice Beach.

Remembrances
2:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

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

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 4:30 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.

Men In America
3:52 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:39 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.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Pentagon Decides To Dig Up Remains Of Long-Lost Soldier

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:48 pm

After years of refusing to act, the U.S. military has decided to disinter the possible grave of Pvt. Arthur "Bud" Kelder, a POW from World War II who is buried anonymously in an American war cemetery in the Philippines.

Military officials also plan to disinter the remains of 10 other men in the same unmarked grave, says Navy Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost, a Defense Department spokeswoman. Derrick-Frost did not say what led the Pentagon to change its stance.

Read more
Economy
3:08 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Farm Workers' Low Wages Hinder San Joaquin Valley's Economy

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 9:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, that's the national picture. Let's zoom in on a region that stands out for its high unemployment, Central California's San Joaquin Valley. NPR's Kelly McEvers went to find out why it's so hard to get a job amid some of the most productive farmland on earth.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Employment Development Department, work force services.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: It's first thing in the morning. And people are calling and lining up to sign up for unemployment benefits and look for jobs.

Read more
Politics
3:11 am
Mon June 2, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:48 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.

Law
1:31 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Albuquerque Police Face Federal Scrutiny, Local Outrage

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

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 7:40 am

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

Read more
Politics
3:15 am
Thu May 8, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 9:55 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.

Read more
Economy
4:12 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Why Is A French Economist's 700-Page Book So Popular?

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 10:22 pm

French economist Thomas Piketty's book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has become a sensation. He's been all over the media, and he's lecturing to packed houses on his current U.S. tour.

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

Immigrants Feel Like Targets As Deportations Increase

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:29 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Read more
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.

Read more
News
2:13 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

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

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

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.

Read more
Latin America
3:05 am
Thu March 27, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:18 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.

Read more
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

Read more
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

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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)

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages