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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Pop Culture
3:12 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Angry Birds TV, Coming To A Mobile Screen Near You

A scene from the upcoming animated series based on the popular game Angry Birds. The show will be distributed to existing users of the digital game.
Rovio

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 9:57 am

People of all ages have been passing the time playing Angry Birds on their mobile devices. Now Rovio, the company that created the best-selling app, is offering fans a new cartoon series based on the game, which has so far been downloaded 1.7 billion times.

The concept behind Angry Birds is extremely simple: There are these colorful cartoon birds that are angry because some green pigs are after their eggs. Players of the digital game use slingshots to catapult the birds — who don't fly — to destroy structures hiding the pigs.

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Movies
2:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Will 'Oz The Great And Powerful' Gain Emerald Status?

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 3:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

"The Wizard of Oz" means to a lot of people, a young Judy Garland in sparkly ruby slippers. But in the hundred years since L. Frank Baum wrote the Oz stories, they, or stories featuring Oz characters, have been produced dozens of times. The latest, a prequel that opens in theaters this weekend, called "Oz the Great and Powerful."

NPR's Mandalit Del Barco has more.

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Television
3:16 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Spanish-Language Network Univision Ranks 3rd In U.S. Ratings

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 3:41 am

The latest TV ratings are out and CBS captured the top spot with help from its Super Bowl broadcast. Last fall, NBC was No. 1 but now it's fourth. What's surprising is that Spanish-language network Univision has surpassed NBC's ratings.

Movies
7:11 am
Mon February 25, 2013

'Argo,' 'Life Of Pi' Win Top Oscars

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:26 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Okay. The movies "Argo" and "Life of Pi" and the actors Daniel Day Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence were among the winners at last night's Academy Awards. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco was backstage.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: It wasn't a Hollywood star who announced this year's Best Picture. That honor went to First Lady Michelle Obama via satellite from the White House.

MICHELLE OBAMA: And the Oscar goes to "Argo."

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Monkey See
6:44 am
Mon February 25, 2013

What You Didn't See At The Academy Awards

Actress Jennifer Lawrence stumbles as she walks on stage.
Chris Pizzelo AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:06 pm

NPR's Sam Sanders and Mandalit del Barco were backstage at the Oscars on Sunday, covering the awards show. They sat in the press room, where winners go for interviews during and after the show. Here's a roundup of what they saw that you didn't see, in senior superlative form.

Most Likely To Stand By Her Man Until The End Of All Natural Time: Jennifer Garner

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Movie Interviews
12:31 am
Fri February 15, 2013

The Story Of 'No' Is The Story Of Modern Chile

The bright colors and throwback feel of the Chilean drama No mask the very real political consequences of the 1988 plebiscite it depicts. (Pictured: Gael Garcia Bernal as Rene Saavedra)
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

The film No revisits the moment in Chile's history when 56 percent of the country voted to oust a dictator from power. It's the tale of the ad campaign that helped persuade Chileans to cast their ballots against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a national referendum.

"This is an epic story, the story of a triumph," says Director Pablo Larrain. "It's how they defeat a dictator — probably one of the biggest bastards that we ever had in humankind."

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The Record
3:16 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Famous Behind The Scenes, A Hitmaker Covets The Spotlight

Producer and songwriter Jeff Bhasker is nominated for four Grammy Awards this weekend, including producer of the year, non-classical division.
Ninelle Efremova Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 5:09 pm

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The Record
1:29 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Why Al Walser Got A Grammy Nomination And Justin Bieber Didn't

Justin Bieber on stage in December. Bieber's 2012 album Believe, despite selling over 1,000,000 copies, wasn't nominated for a single Grammy Award.
Michael Kovac Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 2:49 pm

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Around the Nation
3:05 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

South L.A. Teens Doubt New Laws Will Change Gun Culture

Handguns collected in South-Central Los Angeles as part of a Gun for Gift Card exchange in 2009. One teenager here says getting a gun on the streets is just "one phone call away."
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:04 am

On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation. This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common — and so are guns.

"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."

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Around the Nation
3:45 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Porn Industry Turned Off By L.A. Mandate For Condoms On Set

The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation says a county law requiring condom use at porn shoots is necessary to protect actors from sexually transmitted diseases.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 5:54 pm

In November, more than 1.5 million Los Angeles County voters passed the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. The new law orders porn actors to wear condoms during sex scenes.

"The porn industry has been sending a very bad message by saying the only kind of sex that's hot is unsafe," says Michael Weinstein, CEO of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which sponsored the measure.

Sitting in his office, just over the hills from the nation's porn film capital, Weinstein says the new law was meant to protect both performers and those who watch the movies.

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Business
2:22 am
Tue January 15, 2013

South Park Duo Creates Production Studio

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 4:44 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in other news, the creators of "South Park" and "The Book of Mormon" have announced they are forming their own production studio. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Having success in TV, movies and Broadway, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are now branching out with their own, $300 million production company. They've named it Important Studios, and it's poised to approve TV movie and theater projects. It will give the moguls creative and financial control over what they do.

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U.S.
2:04 am
Tue December 25, 2012

In Pursuit of Recognition: An Undocumented Immigrant's Resilient Fight

Sofia Campos, 23, is the head of the United We Dream campaign — a national network of youth-led immigrant organizations. Campos was born in Peru, but grew up in California, entirely unaware of her undocumented status until she tried applying for college scholarships.
Courtesy of Sofia Campos

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Unlike many undocumented immigrants, Sofia Campos is not afraid to give her real name.

"It's deliberate, and it's liberating," she says. "It's kind of a shock to hear somebody say, 'I am undocumented' or wear the 'I am undocumented' T-shirt, just in your face."

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Arts & Life
2:31 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Hollywood Execs Shift Programming After Newtown Shooting

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:43 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

For decades, Hollywood has been in the business of selling violence. But in the aftermath of Friday's school shooting in Connecticut, it's time to prove it's sensitive, too. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco reports that movie studios, TV networks and radio stations have shifted some programming and high profile premieres.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Quentin Tarantino's new spaghetti western "Django Unchained" stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave in the Deep South working with a bounty hunter to find his wife.

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The Record
1:17 am
Wed November 14, 2012

A&M Records: Independent, With Major Appeal

Herb Alpert (left) and Jerry Moss, who founded A&M Records in Alpert's garage in 1962.
Courtesy of A&M Records

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 3:12 pm

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Election 2012
3:51 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Calif. Affirms Death Penalty, Amends 'Three Strikes'

Mike Reynolds authored California's three-strikes law after his daughter, Kimber, was killed in a 1992 purse snatching. On Tuesday, Californians approved a ballot initiative that weakens the law — a measure Reynolds opposed.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:15 am

Several thousand prisoners in California may be eligible to apply for sentence reductions, after voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative Tuesday that alters the state's controversial three-strikes law.

But voters also rejected a proposition that would abolish the death penalty in the state. Proposition 34 would have replaced capital punishment with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

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Business
3:21 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Walt Disney Co. To Buy Lucasfilm

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 2:43 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Oh my gosh. You create the social equivalent of nuclear fusion when you combine the people who are obsessed with Star Wars and the people obsessed with Disney. The Walt Disney Company is apparently willing to take that risk. In a move that surprised industry observers, Disney announced, yesterday, it is buying Lucasfilm, the studio founded by George Lucas and home to the Star Wars franchise. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports there are already plans for a new "Star Wars" movie.

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Television
2:07 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Sábado Gigante' Celebrates 50 With Lots Of Variety

Mario Kreutzberger, aka Don Francisco, has served as host of Sábado Gigante since the show's debut in 1962. The variety show will mark its 50th anniversary on Saturday.
Alan Diaz AP

For 50 years, Spanish-speaking TV viewers have tuned into the weekly variety show Sábado Gigante. Host Don Francisco commands a festive live audience in Miami, with celebrity interviews, musical performances, goofy sidekicks and scantily clad dancers. The three-hour show is broadcast throughout the Americas.

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Movies
1:43 am
Thu October 4, 2012

From Tim Burton, Another Signature Lovable Loner

After his best friend and beloved dog dies, Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) decides to harness the power of mad science to bring Sparky back to life — albeit a little the worse for wear.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

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The Record
4:14 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

'Moon River' Singer Andy Williams Has Died

Andy Williams, shown here performing, died Tuesday at the age of 84.
Tony Russell Redferns

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Space
3:30 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes Final Landing

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 4:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally this hour, to California, where space shuttle Endeavour made its final flight today. Endeavour left Andrews Air Force Base this morning on the back of a 747. It flew over San Francisco and Sacramento before heading south to Los Angeles. There, it will find new life as an exhibit in a science museum. Before Endeavour touched down, it made a low-level pass over a number of Southern California landmarks. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was with some elementary school students as the shuttle flew by.

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Movies
2:32 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

The Straight-To-DVD World Of 'Mockbusters'

Paul Bales, David Rimawi and David Latt of The Asylum call their films "mockbusters."
Mike Digrazia

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 7:32 am

Dreamworks' animated movie Puss in Boots was a big deal. It won an Oscar, and its swashbuckling, sloe-eyed kitty was voiced by Antonio Banderas.

The meticulous computer-generated animation took four years and something like $130 million to make. But another cartoon, Puss In Boots: A Furry Tail, was hand-drawn in six months for less than $1 million. It went straight to DVD — one of the many low-budget productions riding the coattails of Hollywood blockbusters.

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