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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Book Your Trip
1:06 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Vroom, Vroom, Hmmmm: Motorcycles As Literary Metaphor

Biker Ron Hamberg says he's read Dickens, Twain and Gandhi's autobiography, but as for books about motorcycles, "I just ride 'em, I don't read about 'em."
Solvejg Wastvedt

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 10:28 am

Motorcycles provide an open road for literature — literally and figuratively. They're sometimes the dramatic device writers use to talk about many things: adventure, rebellion, even inner peace. But motorcycles aren't just a metaphor at Bartel's Harley-Davidson shop in Marina Del Rey, Calif. They're loud and shiny and very real.

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Business
3:22 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Amazon Relents: Begins Selling Rowling's 'Silkworm'

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 9:11 am

J.K. Rowling's new book, The Silkworm, has been caught up in Amazon's ongoing fight with publisher Hachette Book Group. Amazon has been delaying delivery on more than 5,000 of Hachette's titles

Law
2:06 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Settlement Brings An Early End To Apple's Price-Fixing Case

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 6:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Apple has reached an out-of-court settlement with dozens of states and a number of other plaintiffs over e-book price fixing. The company was facing more than $800 million in damages. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Apple introduced its entry into the e-book market in 2010 and kept upgrading its features.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Music News
6:04 am
Sat June 14, 2014

Jazz Balladeer Influenced Better-Known Singers

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 6:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Jimmy Scott died this week. The jazz balladeer died of natural causes at his home in Las Vegas. He was 88. His ethereal contralto influenced countless singers, men and women. But his career was a series of up, downs and finally, ups, as NPR's Mandalit del Barco explains.

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Code Switch
5:43 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Ruby Dee: An Actress Who Marched On Washington And Onto The Screen

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee at the 1989 Cannes Festival for the showing of Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.
Courtesy of David Lee/All Rights Reserved

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 6:58 am

Born Ruby Ann Wallace in the early 1920s in Cleveland, actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee most identified with the part of New York City where she was raised.

"I don't know who I would be if I weren't this child from Harlem, this woman from Harlem. It's in me so deep," Dee told NPR's Tell Me More in 2007.

She died Wednesday of natural causes at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y., surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was 91.

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Business
3:24 am
Thu June 12, 2014

'Lego Movie' Caught In Amazon's Battle With Warner Home Video

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 7:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: We begin NPR's Business News with another Amazon standoff. Amazon, the giant online retailer, is in a battle with Warner Home Video. Amazon says it deserves a bigger piece of the pie, and until the company gets it it's refusing to sell Warner's forthcoming DVDs. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYTHING IS AWESOME")

TEGAN AND SARA: (Singing) Everything is awesome...

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: For fans of "The Lego Movie" hoping to order a DVD through Amazon, everything is not so awesome.

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Movies
3:00 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

'Nerdfighters' Mobilize For Film Premiere, Armed With Favorite Lines

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 5:18 pm

John Green's love story, The Fault in Our Stars, is a cult classic for young readers. The film adaptation comes out Friday, and excitement has reached a fever pitch among middle-schoolers obsessed with the book.

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Author Interviews
2:16 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

In Hollywood, 50 Is The New 80: What Happens When 'It Girls' Get Old

Originally published on Sat May 31, 2014 8:56 pm

There's no shortage of "it girls" in Hollywood — there's 31-year-old Lupita Nyongo, 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, 21-year-old Shailene Woodley, and even 16-year-old Elle Fanning. But what will become of their careers when they're older?

The industry is notoriously young; acting roles for women often dry up by the time they're 40. And in her new book I See You Made an Effort, Annabelle Gurwitch shares "compliments, indiginities, and survival stories" from the other side of 50.

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Book News & Features
3:25 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Authors Angered Over Amazon's Dispute With Publisher Hachette

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've reached a moment that probably shouldn't surprise us when it comes to the modern publishing industry. A lot of people are addicted to buying books online using Amazon. But Amazon is now in a pricing dispute with the publisher Hachette. The online giant is refusing to accept orders for upcoming books from Hachette, which has a heavy-hitting roster of authors. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Some authors are furious at Amazon.

NINA LADEN: They don't really care. It's all about money.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:35 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

How Do You Get Latino Kids Into Classical Music? Bring The Parents

The 85 musicians in the Santa Cecilia Orchestra are paid professionals who play with other symphonies and in Hollywood studios.
Courtesy of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:37 pm

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

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Business
3:21 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Calif. Gov. Brown Urged To Expand Tax Credits For Movie Industry

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:28 am

The state Assembly passed a bill to offer tax incentives to film and TV production companies. Big city mayors signed a letter in support, but it's not clear Gov. Jerry Brown will sign on.

Around the Nation
3:11 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Hollywood Protests Against Owners Of Beverly Hills Hotel

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 1:26 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A landmark hotel in Hollywood has become the focus of protest. The hotel is part of an international chain. The hotel chain is owned by the Sultan of Brunei. He's the ruler of a tiny Southeast Asian country that recently introduced a strict form of Islamic Sharia laws. Celebrities who once stayed in that Hollywood hotel say they cannot accept the politics of its owner.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "HOTEL CALIFORNIA")

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Book News & Features
2:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

A Film And Fashion Icon On Aging, And The Power Of Turtlenecks

Diane Keaton lives with her daughter and son in Los Angeles.
Ruven Afanador Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 6:07 pm

Actress Diane Keaton remains an icon, decades after her Oscar-winning performance in Annie Hall. At 68, she's a single mother of two, once romantically linked to some of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs and still starring in films. And she still rocks her trademark look: a bowler hat, tinted glasses, oversized clothes, scarves, gloves, long sleeves and boots — "Clothing that actually hides the body," she says. "There's a lot to hide in my case. I'm the only remaining person on earth with this particular look."

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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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