Mandalit del Barco

As a general assignment correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco has reported and produced radio stories and photographed everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR. Her news reports, feature stories and photos filed from Los Angeles and abroad can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, alt.latino and npr.org.

Her reporting has taken her throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Miami. Reporting further afield as well, del Barco traveled to Haiti to report on the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. She chronicled street gangs exported from the U.S. to El Salvador and Honduras and went to Mexico to report about immigrant smugglers, musicians, filmmakers and artists. In Argentina, del Barco profiled on tango legend Carlos Gardel and in the Philippines she reported a feature on balikbayan boxes and has Reporting from China, del Barco contributed to NPR's coverage of the United Nations' Women's Conference. She spent a year in Peru working on a documentary and teaching radio journalism as a Fulbright Fellow and on a fellowship with the Knight International Center For Journalists.

In addition to reporting daily stories, del Barco has created half-hour radio documentaries about gangs in Central America, Latino hip hop, L.A. Homegirls, artist Frida Kahlo, New York's Palladium ballroom and Puerto Rican "Casitas.” She has served as a guest host on Latino USA and Tell Me More.

Before moving to Los Angeles, del Barco was a reporter for NPR Member station WNYC in New York City. She started her radio career on the production staff of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon. However her first taste for radio came as a teenager, when she and her brother won an award for an NPR children’s radio contest.

del Barco's reporting experience extends into newspaper and magazines. She served on the staffs of The Miami Herald and The Village Voice and has done freelance reporting. She has written articles for Latina magazine and reported for the weekly radio show Latino USA.

Stories written by del Barco have appeared in several books including "Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share their Holiday Memories" (Vintage Books) and "Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember their Mothers” (Vintage Books). del Barco contributed to an anthology on rap music and hip hop culture in the book, “Droppin’ Science” (Temple University Press).

Peruvian writer Julio Villanueva Chang profiled del Barco’s life and career for the book “Se Habla Espanol: Voces Latinas en USA.” (Alfaguara press)

She mentors young journalists through NPR's "Next Generation", Global Girl, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and on her own throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

A fourth generation journalist, del Barco was born in Lima, Peru, to a Peruvian father and Mexican-American mother. She grew up in Baldwin, Kansas, and in Oakland, California, and has lived in Manhattan, Madrid, Miami, Lima and Los Angeles. She began her journalism career as a reporter, columnist and editor for the Daily Californian while studying anthropology and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University with her thesis, "Breakdancers: Who are they, and why are they spinning on their heads?"

For those who are curious where her name comes from, "Mandalit" is the name of a woman in a song from Carmina Burana, a musical work from the 13th century put to music in the 20th century by composer Carl Orff. The guys from Car Talk also pay homage to her in their phony end credits as "inventory manager Mandalit del Barcode."

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Remembrances
3:28 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Who Gave Voice To Latin America, Dies

Admirers ask Gabriel Garcia Marquez --€” seated alongside his wife, Mercedes Barcha €-- to sign books in Santa Marta, Colombia, in 2007.
Alejandra Vega AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:06 pm

Latin American author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982, died Thursday. He was 87. Garcia Marquez, the master of a style known as magic realism, was and remains Latin America's best-known writer.

His novels were filled with miraculous and enchanting events and characters; love and madness; wars, politics, dreams and death. And everything he had written, Garcia Marquez once said, he knew or heard before he was 8 years old.

A Writer Shaped By His Beginnings

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Business
3:01 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Sony Pictures To Lay Off Interactive Group

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Hollywood layoffs.

Sony has notified California's Labor Board that come June it will lay off more than 200 employees at its movie and television studios.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports this is happening in a film industry that's facing across the board cost cutting.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Sony Pictures Entertainment will reportedly lay off its entire interactive marketing team responsible for online movie promos like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE PROMO)

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Code Switch
3:59 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

New Academy President Pushes For More Diverse Voting Members

Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and only the third female president.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:57 pm

For the first time, this year's best director Oscar could go to a Mexican (Alfonso Cuaron, for Gravity) or a black Brit (Steve McQueen, for 12 Years a Slave). That film's lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is also in the running for an award; so is his Kenyan co-star Lupita Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico. This year's nominees are diverse, but the people who vote for the Oscars are not.

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Around the Nation
2:20 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Alice Herz-Sommer, Pianist And Holocaust Survivor, Dies At 110

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:02 pm

Renowned concert pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, once thought to be the oldest living Holocaust survivor, has died at age 110. Her story is told in the Oscar-nominated film, The Lady in Number 6.

The Record
4:04 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

How The Organization Behind The Grammys Spends The Other 364 Days

Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow, host LL Cool J and Executive Vice President of Specials, Music and Live Events at CBS Entertainment Jack Sussman pose at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 23, a few days before the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Kevin Winter WireImage

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:29 pm

This Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony is the annual big-ticket item for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. More than 28 million people around the world tuned in to watch the concert show last year. And this year's telecast is once again being touted as the most complicated — and expensive — production on TV.

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Business
2:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

DirecTV: Customers Balked At Weather Channel's Reality Shows

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 2:36 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story began as pretty much your standard contract dispute. The Weather Channel wanted more money for its programming, and DirectTV wanted to pay less.

So, at 12:01 Tuesday morning, the satellite service dropped the Weather Channel and replaced it with a smaller producer of weather programming, which raises the question: How much do TV viewers really want or need weather information when they can get it from other sources?

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

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Around the Nation
12:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam

Ian Dodd (center), co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Sunday Assembly, sings with other attendees. Chapters of the godless church, founded by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, have been spreading since launching in London in January 2013.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:41 pm

It sometimes feels like church in the auditorium of the Professional Musicians union in Hollywood. It's a Sunday morning, and hundreds of people are gathered to meditate, sing and listen to inspirational poetry and stories.

But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there's a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation.

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Television
3:37 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Fielder Offers Absurd Marketing Advice On Comedy Central

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 12:01 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's hear now about a new reality show featuring a mild-mannered Canadian who gives outlandish advice to companies looking to up their game. It's called "Nathan for You." And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, it's become an unlikely hit for Comedy Central.

(SOUNDBITE OF A BARKING DOG)

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: On a sunny winter day in North Hollywood, Nathan Fielding is directing his latest quirky marketing ploy, this one for a new housecleaning service.

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A Blog Supreme
3:29 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Drummer Chico Hamilton, West Coast Jazz Pioneer, Dies

Chico Hamilton.
Todd Boebel Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:17 pm

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Music News
12:03 am
Tue November 26, 2013

AK-47s, Accordions And Angels Of Death: Narcocorridos Hit The Big Screen

Edgar Quintero of the band Los Bukanas de Culiacan likens what he does in the narcocorrido genre to gangster rap.
Shaul Schwarz Cinedigm

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

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Television
1:08 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Comcast Deal Puts New Minority-Run Channels In Play

El Rey, which will be targeting a young Latino audience, is being spearheaded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, shown at the premiere of his recent film Machete Kills in October.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Rapper and producer Sean "Diddy" Combs, director Robert Rodriguez, and basketball legend Magic Johnson each now has his own new cable TV networks. Their channels were part of a merger deal Comcast made with the FCC to give a shot to new networks owned by African Americans, Latinos and others.

Last month, Combs threw on his classic Puff Daddy alias to welcome millennial viewers to his new music network, Revolt.

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Television
3:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Canada Takes Cable A La Carte, But Don't Expect U.S. To Follow

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 1:37 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

If you want to watch MTV, you have to pay for ESPN, even if you don't want to watch sports, and a lot of cable customers don't like it. In the cable TV business, it's called bundling. Now, the government of Canada is requiring cable companies to take those bundles apart. NPR's Mandelit del Barco reports on why that is unlikely to happen in the U.S.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Channel surfing in, say, Montreal, you can find everything from American TV sitcoms to shows in French.

(SOUNDBITE FROM TV SHOW)

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Business
3:06 am
Thu September 26, 2013

1 In 7 American Adults Don't Go Online

Fifteen percent of Americans don't use the Internet, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. Most of these "offline adults" are 65 years old or older, many live in rural areas and have incomes lower than $30,000 a year.

Code Switch
3:05 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

East LA Homegirl Goes Hollywood

Evangeline Ordaz (center) stands with teens from Legacy LA who were her script consultants and extras for East Los High. From left: Rebecca Hernandez, Brenda Flores, Ordaz, Wesley Michua, Marlene Arazo.
Mandalit del Barco NPR

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 4:04 pm

Evangeline Ordaz is no ordinary Hollywood show runner. When she's not teaching constitutional law or rehabbing historic buildings, she's writing for a racy soap opera about Latino teens in East Los Angeles. East Los High was a big summer success for the TV-on-demand website Hulu, and much of the credit for keeping the show real goes to its multitalented main writer.

Ordaz was born and bred in East Los Angeles — East Los, as it's known. She still lives there, and you can hear the neighborhood cadence in her voice.

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Remembrances
2:58 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Sound Pioneer Ray Dolby Dies At 80

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 6:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Ray Dolby, whose inventions revolutionized the way audiences listen to entertainment, has died. He was 80 years old.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports the sound pioneer - whose name became synonymous with sound - died at home in San Francisco.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Thank Ray Dolby for inventing the system that surrounds you with sound at the movie theater and in your headphones.

(SOUNDBITE OF VARIOUS DOLBY SOUNDS)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Whispering) Surround you.

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Media
11:36 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Tina Brown To Leave The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown plans to leave the website to produce live forums on news topics.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:41 am

Celebrity editor Tina Brown announced Wednesday that she's leaving The Daily Beast to launch her own media company. She has been a regular guest on Morning Edition. Brown, 59, plans to produce live forums on news topics.

Brown has edited some of the most prestigious publications: Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Tattler. Five years ago, she helped found The Daily Beast — a news and opinion website. Now, the editor-in-chief says she's leaving to do what she calls "theatrical journalism" before live audiences.

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Around the Nation
4:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

New HIV Cases Spotlight Adult Film Industry's Testing System

Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (left) at a press conference in February to introduce AB 332, a statewide bill to require condom use by adult film performers.
Bret Hartman AP

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:49 pm

Adult film production in California is now suspended after a number of performers tested positive for HIV. Four cases have been reported in the past few months, including one on Monday.

If ever there was an "I told you so moment" for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, it's now. The organization has been campaigning for condoms to be mandatory during porn shoots. Last year, it sponsored a measure in Los Angeles County to that effect, which voters approved.

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Television
3:45 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Time Warner Cable Customers Miss Out On CBS

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 4:34 am

For two weeks, customers with Time Warner Cable in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas have been unable to watch CBS with their cable box. Time Warner and CBS disagree over how much the cable company should be paying the television network for transmitting its shows.

Crime In The City
12:58 am
Thu August 15, 2013

In 'Alphabet' Mysteries, 'S' Is Really For Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a Spanish-Moorish landmark, was built in 1929.
Anna Fox (harshlight) Flickr

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:27 am

Novelist Sue Grafton is a real hoot. She's just as likely to talk, in that native Kentucky drawl of hers, about her prized silver-coin mint julep cups as about a juicy murder mystery. But she does have a crime writer's imagination.

"I always say to people, 'Don't cross me, OK? Because you will be so sorry,'" she says. "'I have ways to kill you you ain't even thought of yet.'"

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Monkey See
1:53 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Karen Black, Strange And Lovely, And Always Game

Karen Black and Kris Kristofferson were photographed together in 1972, when they co-starred in Cisco Pike, a saga of drug-ruined rockers and crooked cops.
John Springer Collection/CORBIS

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 11:26 am

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Race
1:01 am
Tue July 23, 2013

In The Summer, Univision Is Numero Uno

Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez recently performed on Univision's Premios Juventud.
Rodrigo Varela Univision

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 7:32 am

For three consecutive weeks this summer, Spanish-language TV network Univision won the prime-time ratings among young adult viewers. The network is bragging about its prime-time ratings domination with full-page ads in the LA Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Its English-language video exclaims: "For the first time ever, Univision is now the number one network in any language."

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Code Switch
2:05 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Does Disney's Tonto Reinforce Stereotypes Or Overcome Them?

Johnny Depp says that with his portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger, he tried to "right the wrongs of what had been done with regards to the representation of Native Americans in cinema."
Disney

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:00 am

The Lone Ranger has long been a fictional hero, taming the Wild West with his trusty Indian guide, Tonto. The faithful companion helps the white man fight bad guys, and does so speaking in pidgin English.

Tonto made his first appearance on the radio in the 1930s, voiced by a non-Native American actor, John Todd. In the series, Western settlers face down what they call "redskins" and "savages." And trusty Tonto is always on hand to interpret the smoke signals.

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Monkey See
6:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Telemundo's 'La Voz' Hands Latino Kids The Mic

Paola Guanche debuted with Adele's "Turning Tables."
Courtesy Telemundo

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:34 am

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Music News
1:16 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Spotlighting Background Singers In 'Twenty Feet From Stardom'

Darlene Love, one of the background singers featured in Twenty Feet From Stardom, didn't receive credit for singing hits in the 1950s and '60s and says her career was derailed by legendary producer Phil Spector.
Radius/TWC

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:22 am

Twenty Feet from Stardom, filmmaker Morgan Neville's new documentary, is a reminder that most of pop music's catchiest hooks, riffs and refrains were sung by voices harmonizing in the background. Neville says he wanted to put backup singers — black, female and honed in church — front and center.

"I was really more interested in people who were voices for hire," he says, "who were able to walk into sessions never knowing what they had to do and could bring it."

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The Record
1:15 am
Tue May 21, 2013

The Doors' Keyboard Counterpoint Goes Silent: Remembering Ray Manzarek

Ray Manzarek (far right) stands with fellow members of The Doors Jim Morrison (from right), Robby Krieger and John Densmore in 1968. Manzarek died Monday in Germany. He was 74.
Express Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 11:43 am

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Arts & Life
1:06 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Nostalgia For Sale As Captain Kangaroo's Pals Are Auctioned Off

More than 500 items from the Captain Kangaroo show — including Dancing Bear's life-sized costume.
Nate D. Sanders Auction House

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 8:38 am

The classic children's show Captain Kangaroo aired on TV for nearly 30 years, starting in 1955. After its creator and star, Bob Keeshan, died in 2004, his estate donated a few of his beloved hand puppets to the Smithsonian.

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Music News
10:03 am
Sat May 18, 2013

Draco Rosa: A Pop Survivor Returns From The Brink, With Friends

Former bandmates Draco Rosa and Ricky Martin, seen here on stage at Univision's 2013 Premio Lo Nuestro awards celebration, reunite on Rosa's new album, Vida.
John Parra Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 5:47 pm

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Television
4:12 am
Fri May 10, 2013

How Does NBC Plan To Climb Back Up Rating's Ladder?

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 6:10 am

NBC was once must-see TV. Now, the network's ratings have slipped behind Spanish Language TV. What happened to this once mighty TV network?

Monkey See
3:59 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

A Tip Of The Mouse Ears To Annette Funicello, 1942-2013

The American actress and singer Annette Funicello, photographed here circa 1960, died April 8, more than two decades after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Henry Gris, FPG Getty Images

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

Now it's time to say goodbye to former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The singer, dancer and actress died April 8 at the age of 70, having battled multiple sclerosis for more than two decades.

Throughout her career, she was devoted to Walt Disney, who famously discovered her during a Swan Lake dance recital when she was just 12 years old.

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Business
2:43 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Visual Effects Firms Miss Out On A Film's Success

Guillaume Rocheron, Bill Westenhofer, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott at the 85th Annual Academy Awards in February. Rhythm & Hues Studios, the company that produced the effects for winning film Life of Pi, recently declared bankruptcy.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 3:20 pm

Hollywood studios are demanding more and more visual effects to make blockbuster films. But the artists who create this movie magic are protesting that they and their entire industry are in deep financial trouble. Even the most celebrated visual-effects companies face the risk of going under, and there are calls to revamp the way they do business.

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