Steve Inskeep

Steve Inskeep is host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the United States. He co-hosts the program with Renee Montagne.

Known for his probing questions to presidents, warlords, authors, and musicians, Inskeep has a passion for the stories of the less famous—like an American soldier who lost both feet in Afghanistan; the Bordelons, who remained in their home even when it flooded during Hurricane Katrina; or New Hampshire women at a dining-room table, pondering how to vote.

Since joining Morning Edition in 2004, Inskeep has hosted the program from New Orleans, Detroit, Karachi, Cairo, and Tehran; investigated Iraqi police in Baghdad; and received a 2006 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award for "The Price of African Oil," a series on conflict in Nigeria.

Above all, Inskeep and the rest of the Morning Edition team work daily to, as he puts it, "slow down the news," to make sense of fast-moving events and focus on the real people affected.

A prime example came during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when Inskeep and Michele Norris, host of NPR's All Things Considered, conducted "The York Project," groundbreaking conversations about race, which received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence.

A veteran of public and commercial radio stations in and around New York, Inskeep was hired by NPR in 1996. His first full-time assignment was the 1996 presidential primary in New Hampshire. He went on to cover the Pentagon, the Senate, and the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Inskeep covered the war in Afghanistan, the hunt for al-Qaeda suspects in Pakistan, and the war in Iraq for NPR. In 2003, he received a National Headliner Award for investigating a military raid that went wrong in Afghanistan. He has twice been part of the NPR News team that was awarded an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for its coverage of Iraq.

On days filled with bad news, Inskeep is often inspired by the Langston Hughes book, Laughing to Keep From Crying. Of hosting Morning Edition during the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, he told Nuvo magazine when "the whole world seemed to be falling apart, it was especially important for me ... to be amused, even if I had to be cynically amused, about the things that were going wrong. Laughter is a sign that you're not defeated."

Inskeep is the author of Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi, published in 2011 by The Penguin Press, a story of ordinary, often heroic people and their struggles to build one of the world's great megacities. In addition, Inskeep has written for publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. He has been a guest on TV programs including MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports and the PBS Newhour.

A native of Carmel, Indiana, Inskeep is a graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky.

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Politics
2:11 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Congress Keeps Working As Debt Ceiling Deadline Nears

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 5:54 am

This could be the last day the United States is assured of its borrowing authority. Congress could forestall this crisis by raising the debt ceiling, as it has roughly a hundred times before. But the debt ceiling is tied to the same confrontation that's kept much of the federal government shut down.

Middle East
2:50 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Talks Begin In Geneva On Iran's Nuclear Program

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 3:31 am

Negotiators from the U.S. and five other world powers expect Iran to outline how it can guarantee its program is for peaceful purposes — and not aimed at producing nuclear weapons. In exchange, Iranians hope for relief from economic sanctions.

Business
5:46 am
Mon October 14, 2013

3 American Economists Win Nobel Prize

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics was awarded today to three American men - Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen, Robert Shiller. The Nobel committee cited their research in the predictability of stock prices, as well as other asset prices. We're going to find out more now from Zoe Chace of NPR's Planet Money team. She's on the line. Hi, Zoe.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: Each of these guy's names is a little familiar, I think to the layman, especially maybe Shiller. Who are they?

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Planet Money
2:21 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Prize In Economics A Latecomer To Nobel Lineup

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Later this morning, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics will be announced in Sweden. Unlike some other Nobel Prizes we've heard about in recent days, this one comes with an asterisk. And NPR's Robert Smith is covering the story. He's in New York. Hi, Robert.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Hey, it's good to be here.

INSKEEP: Why is there an asterisk over the Nobel Prize in Economics?

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Politics
2:02 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Reason For Optimism? Two Sides Talking On Debt Ceiling

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 9:02 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Let's sort out the talks over the partial government shutdown and the debt ceiling with NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson, who's on the line. Mara, good morning.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning.

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Research News
2:44 am
Wed October 9, 2013

3 Scientists Share 2013 Nobel Prize For Chemistry

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 4:08 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be shared by three scientists who took chemistry inside the world of computing. This powerful technology is now used to develop drugs and perform all sorts of vital tasks in chemistry. The three winners were all born overseas but collaborated in the United States and elsewhere in the 1970s, where they started their work.

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Research News
2:37 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Theorists Compare Government Shutdown To A Not-So-Fun Game

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 6:26 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So, we're in the second week of the government shutdown, and just over a week from now, federal borrowing authority expires, making it possible the federal government could fail to pay many of its legal obligations that Congress previously approved. At the center of both issues is House Speaker John Boehner, who last week accused Democrats of letting the shutdown continue because Democrats felt they were winning.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: This isn't some damn game.

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Africa
2:55 am
Mon October 7, 2013

U.S. Special Forces Operation In Libya Nabs Al-Qaida Suspect

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 3:15 am

The United States military struck twice over the weekend in Africa. Commando raids in Somalia and Libya targeted terrorists. The mission in Libya resulted in the capture of a top al-Qaida operative. He was a key figure in bombings of two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania back in 1998. The outcome in Somalia is not as clear.

Research News
2:55 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Nobel Prize Awarded In Medicine

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 3:55 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. This year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine will go to three scientists who have figured out how cells package up material - like hormones - and how they deliver those materials to other cells. This is one of the most basic functions for living cells and diseases can result when the machinery goes awry, so it's important to understand.

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The Two-Way
11:38 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Netanyahu's Push: Countering Iranian Leader's Charm Offensive

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 7:07 am

It must be draining to do eight interviews in a row, but Benjamin Netanyahu seemed energized by it. The Israeli prime minister walked into our meeting in a New York hotel room bantering and smiling. He commented on the shades (pulled down to avoid a backlit photo) and noticed a novel that our engineer had brought along. Netanyahu picked it up and looked it over — a novel by Joe Hill, the pen name for the son of Stephen King.

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Politics
2:52 am
Wed October 2, 2013

U.S. Government Closes For Another Day, No End In Sight

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:18 am

It's Day 2 of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Republicans do not seem ready to compromise on defunding the Affordable Care Act. There are no negotiations between the White House and Congress.

The Two-Way
3:09 am
Tue October 1, 2013

After Shutdown, A Familiar Feeling At The White House

Steve Inskeep interviews President Obama in the Oval Office on Monday for NPR's Morning Edition.
Pete Souza The White House

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 9:17 am

President Obama spoke with NPR in the Oval Office on Monday, as a visiting group of young people in suits got a tour of the Rose Garden outside the windows. The most striking part of our encounter in this moment of crisis was how familiar the atmosphere seemed.

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World
2:47 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Obama To Appear Before U.N. General Assembly

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 2:52 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. This week's gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly coincides with at least three world crises.

GREENE: One is the assault on a mall in Kenya. Another is Syria's war and the use of chemical weapons there. The third: the world confrontation with Iran and Iran's introduction of a new president.

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Africa
3:17 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Mall Siege In Kenya Enters Its Third Day

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:35 am

In Nairobi, the military says it has rescued "most" of the remaining people trapped inside the high-end shopping mall. At least 68 people have been killed and 175 injured. The militant group al-Shabab from neighboring Somalia has claimed responsibility.

Law
4:10 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Holder Makes Moral Argument Against Mandatory Sentences

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The nation's top law enforcement officer says the criminal justice system is broken. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus yesterday.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: Throughout this country, too many Americans are trapped and too many Americans are weakened by a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration.

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Middle East
2:58 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Are Weapons Getting To Syrian Rebels?

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 4:13 am

We're going look more closely at whether the United States is providing arms to Syria's rebels. The commander of the Free Syrian Army General told Morning Edition on Thursday that his group was not receiving weapons. But American officials contend they are providing weapons to the rebels.

Middle East
3:11 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Syrian Refugees Voice Opinions On Airstrike Debate

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 12:56 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Nobody has a bigger stake in this debate than the people of Syria. Their civil war has killed more than 100,000 people. Millions are refugees inside and outside their country.

NPR's Rima Marrouch has been talking with Syrians inside and outside of the country. And she's on the line from Beirut. Hi, Rima.

RIMA MARROUCH, BYLINE: Hello.

INSKEEP: How closely are refugees following all this?

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National Security
3:11 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Pentagon Prepares For Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 5:25 am

President Obama has asked Congress for the authority to attack, citing evidence that Syria's government used chemical weapons against its own people. Planners must tailor strikes that are not too aggressive to satisfy legislators who don't want the Syria crisis to escalate. But they must develop plans that would be robust enough to make a difference in the war to satisfy others.

Europe
3:20 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Obama Uses G-20 Summit To Gather Support On Syria

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 10:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Economy
3:05 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Fed Watches Friday's Jobless Data For Signs To End Stimulus

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 10:40 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Let's try to figure out what today's unemployment report means. NPR's John Ydstie has been following the story. He's in our studios. John, good morning once again.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK. What are the numbers first?

YDSTIE: Well, 169,000 new jobs were added to payrolls in August, according to the government report.

INSKEEP: OK.

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Europe
2:46 am
Wed September 4, 2013

French Parliament To Debate U.S.-Led Strikes In Syria

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:42 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Francois Hollande, the president of France, says his country will join in any U.S.-led strikes in Syria. The French parliament is set to take up that issue today. Unlike Britain, which ruled out military action, and the U.S. Congress where President Obama still has to win the votes, it seems like parliament probably should provide very little trouble for Hollande. His party dominates there.

So let's go to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley. She's in Paris, and she's following this story. Hi, Eleanor.

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Middle East
2:34 am
Fri June 21, 2013

2 Syrian Rebels Share Their Stories

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 4:53 am

U.S. and European officials meet on Saturday to decide how to increase their aid to the rebels in Syria. The U.S. is deepening its involvement in Syria's Civil War. Steve Inskeep, who recently was in Syria reporting for Morning Edition, has the story of two rebels.

Europe
3:27 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Obama To Renew Call To Reduce Nuclear Weapons

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:40 am

President Obama met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday before giving a speech at Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate. Fifty years ago next week, President Kennedy declared his support for the citizens of West Germany in his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.

Europe
4:04 am
Tue June 18, 2013

G-8 Leaders Wrap Up Summit In Nothern Ireland

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

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Middle East
3:14 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Voters Head To The Polls To Pick New President In Iran

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The voting is over in Iran's presidential election to choose a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The vote comes amid controversy over Iran's nuclear program, ever-tightening sanctions led by the U.S. and economic trouble. This is the first presidential election since 2009, when the disputed result sparked months of protest, followed by intense repression.

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Parallels
3:28 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

As Sanctions Squeeze, Iranians Keep Improvising

Female supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, chant slogans at a campaign rally in Tehran on Wednesday, two days ahead of the election.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:59 pm

Iranians have lived with American sanctions for many years, and we could see the evidence of this when we stepped into a Tehran shop called GM Auto Parts.

It had the famous blue and white General Motors logo, though the sign, like almost everything in the spare parts shop for American cars, looked decades old.

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Parallels
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Iran's Election May Not Really Be About Picking A President

Female supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, hold up posters and national flags at a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, on May 24. Jalili advocates for traditional roles for women and resistance against the U.S.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 7:55 am

When Iranians vote Friday for president, it will be an election unlike any other.

Clerics who hold supreme power in the Islamic Republic have allowed elections for decades.

But while the people vote, clerics and their allies make the rules. Those already in power choose who can run for office and limit what they do if elected.

Restrictions are tighter than ever after massive protests that followed a disputed election in 2009. In fact, the country has come to redefine the whole purpose of an election.

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Middle East
1:28 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Despite Limited Election Choices, Iranians Eager To Be Heard

Supporters of Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator and a candidate in Iran's June 14 presidential election, attend a street campaign after Friday prayers in Tehran on June 7.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:53 am

The day we arrived in Iran's capital, Tehran, billboards along the drive from the airport to the city center were already telling us something about what's happening in the country as it prepared for Friday's presidential elections.

We see typical highway signs for Sony Ericsson, but also billboards featuring the face of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. We also see and drive under giant signs that are from Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urging people to vote.

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The Salt
10:40 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Za'atar: A Spice Mix With Biblical Roots And Brain Food Reputation

Lebanese bread topped with za'atar, a spice mix ubiquitous in the Middle East.
Photostock Israel Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 9:27 am

NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep recently traveled to Damascus for a series of reports on the ongoing war in Syria. He sent this postcard from the road.

Dear Salt:

On my first day in Damascus, I went walking in the ancient bazaar — narrow stone-paved streets surrounding a great stone mosque. The mosque is so old, it used to be a church during the Roman Empire, and before it was a church, it was a pagan temple. The bazaar is surely as old as the mosque, for Damascus is a historic city of trade.

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Parallels
3:23 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Inmates In A Venezuelan Prison Build A World Of Their Own

At this prison in Barinas, Venezuela, the inmates are in charge.
Steve Inskeep NPR

In Latin America — home to the vast majority of the world's most violent cities — it's said the only part of a prison a guard controls is the gate, leaving convicts to fend for themselves inside, even running criminal networks from behind bars.

I wanted to understand how a prison like that worked, and I was in luck: A colleague knew a man serving time a Venezuelan prison. The prisoner got in touch with the leader of the inmates, who sent word that he'd be willing to see us.

Read more

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