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 and David Greene.

Known for probing questions to everyone from presidents to warlords to musicians, Inskeep has a passion for stories of the less famous—like an American soldier who lost both feet in Afghanistan, or an Ethiopian woman's extraordinary journey to the United States.

Since joining Morning Edition in 2004, Inskeep has hosted the program from New Orleans, Detroit, Karachi, Cairo, Houston and Tehran; investigated Iraqi police in Baghdad; and received a 2006 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award for "The Price of African Oil," on conflict in Nigeria. In 2012 he traveled 2,700 miles across North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring. In 2013 he reported from war-torn Syria, and on Iran's historic election. In 2014 he drove with colleagues 2,428 miles along the entire U.S.-Mexico border; the resulting radio series, "Borderland," won widespread attention, as did the acclaimed NPR online magazine of the same name.

Inskeep says Morning Edition works to "slow down the news," making sense of fast-moving events. A prime example came during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when Inskeep and NPR's Michele Norris conducted "The York Project," groundbreaking conversations about race, which received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence.

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, he covered the war in Afghanistan, turmoil in Pakistan, and the war in Iraq. In 2003, he received a National Headliner Award for investigating a military raid gone wrong in Afghanistan. He has twice been part of NPR News teams awarded the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for coverage of Iraq.

On days of bad news, Inskeep is 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, a 2011 book on one of the world's great megacities. He is also author of Jacksonland, a forthcoming history of President Andrew Jackson's long-running conflict with John Ross, a Cherokee chief who resisted the removal of Indians from the eastern United States in the 1830's.

He has been a guest on numerous TV programs including ABC's This Week, NBC's Meet the Press, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, CNN's Inside Politics and the PBS Newhour. He has written for publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic.

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

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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.

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Parallels
5:15 am
Mon June 10, 2013

In Venezuela, A Family Blames The Police For Their Misery

Eloisa Barrios visits the humble graves of nine male family members in the Guanayen cemetery. She says all nine were killed by the police, in what was a vendetta against her family. Recently, a 10th member of the family was stabbed to death. He was 17.
Meridith Kohut for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 3:05 pm

The story of Venezuela's Eloisa Barrios is especially revealing because so many of her relatives have been killed. Revealing because of who she believes pulled the trigger.

Some weeks ago, Barrios climbed into our van for a drive to a cemetery. The burial ground is outside a village in the Venezuelan countryside. We went there to visit the Barrios family dead.

She told us nine relatives had been killed in shootings over the past 15 years. All nine were young men.

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Parallels
12:50 am
Thu June 6, 2013

For Venezuelans, Kidnappings Are Simply Business As Usual

Kidnappings and other crime have infiltrated every aspect of daily life in Venezuela, especially the capital, Caracas, which was recently ranked the world's third most violent city.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:18 pm

German Garcia-Velutini got into his car and left work one day. It took him 11 months to get home.

Kidnappers had nabbed the Venezuelan banker. His abduction is part of a problem that's been getting worse every year for the past decade in Venezuela, which belongs to a region riddled with crime and the most violent cities in the world.

Gracia-Velutini tells his story at an outdoor table at a hotel in Caracas, the capital, with a view of a mountainside that climbs into the clouds.

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Middle East
3:54 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Fight For Homs Fades From Headlines As War In Syria Rages

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 8:23 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. We're going to get a glimpse from the front lines of the civil war in Syria now. That war is expected to be the focus of peace negotiations, in the coming weeks. The U.S. is pressing for those talks after brutal fighting, fighting that's begun to spread to neighboring countries.

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Parallels
3:24 am
Sun June 2, 2013

A City Of Assad Supporters In War-Ravaged Syria

The port city of Tartous is in a region loyal to President Bashar Assad. The city has been a refuge for supporters to vacation and seek work.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 12:33 pm

Many people in Syria are accustomed to the sound of daily gunfire. It is normal in battle-scarred cities like Damascus or Qusair.

But along the beaches and in the cafes of Tartous, an area that is a center of support for the embattled President Bashar Assad, the sounds are a bit more peaceful.

Near the water's edge of the Mediterranean, tables, chairs and umbrellas sit upon huge stones. At one of these tables sits a brother and sister on vacation.

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Middle East
3:16 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Watching Battle For Qusayr From A Syrian Rooftop

A Syrian soldier walks through the hotly contested city of Qusair on May 22. The Syrian army, backed by Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, has been waging a fierce fight with rebels in the key western city for the past two weeks.
STR STR/AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 6:42 am

Syria's government appears to be making gains this week in a battle against rebel forces in the key city of Qusair, along the border with Lebanon. NPR's Steve Inskeep traveled to the edge of the city, and we hear from him first, followed by Kelly McEvers, who reports from just across the frontier in Lebanon.

A Syrian provincial governor told us this week that the government army has largely retaken Qusair, though a battle continues for the airport. We asked to see for ourselves.

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Parallels
12:58 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Syria's Civil War: The View From A Damascus Shrine

Zeinab
Nishant Dahiya NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am

Traveling to Damascus gives you a view of Syria's war turned inside out.

The international community talks of arming Syria's rebels against President Bashar Assad, but in the capital many people still hope the rebels will lose.

That's the thinking we found around a Muslim shrine in Damascus, a tribute to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She lived centuries ago, but a Damascus doctor we met spoke of her in the present tense.

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Parallels
10:46 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

In Damascus, A View Of Syria's War Turned Inside Out

The Ummayyid Mosque in Damascus has been a mosque for around 1,400 years. It sits in the center of a city where many people are struggling to live normal lives amid war.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 7:41 am

Many years ago, the president of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, approved the construction of a new presidential residence on a mountainside above Damascus.

Assad never occupied the building, saying his successor should take it. When his son Bashar Assad became that successor, he didn't move into the house, either. He preferred a residence down the slope.

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Asia
3:09 am
Mon May 20, 2013

After Nearly 50 Years, Burmese Leader Comes To Washington

It's been a while since the last visit by a head of state from Myanmar. The last time was 47 years ago, when the country was still known as Burma. As President Thein Sein arrives at the White House Monday, some will hail him as a reformer who set his country on the path to democracy. Others may protest his arrival, as excessive recognition for a head of state that has presided over continuing human rights abuses.

Analysis
2:21 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Republicans Focus On Democrats' Political Misdeeds

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 6:41 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Again and again, President Obama's administration tries to pivot attention toward East Asia. Administration officials believe China and its neighbors are where the economic future lies.

GREENE: And yet it's the Middle East that keeps demanding the president's attention. It brings to mind that line from F. Scott Fitzgerald: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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Middle East
3:43 am
Fri May 10, 2013

U.S. Point Man On Syria Meets With Rebels Inside Syria

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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Asia
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Violence Mutes Campaigning Ahead Of Pakistani Elections

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 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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Europe
3:34 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Italian Government Update

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 5:03 am

Eight weeks after an exceptionally tight election, Italy still has no government. While the deadlock may be broken this week, the battle has wounded Italy's political establishment.

Around the Nation
3:59 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Blast Rips Through West, Texas, Fertilizer Plant

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 10:22 am

A fertilizer plant exploded near Waco, Texas, Wednesday night. The explosion at West Fertilizer in downtown West, a community about 20 miles north of Waco, happened around 7 p.m. and could be heard as far away as Waxahachie, 45 miles to the north.

Asia
2:44 am
Wed April 17, 2013

IAEA Team Probes Fukushima's Radioactive Water

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:46 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Latin America
3:41 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Venezuela's Presidential Election Remains Disputed

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, Venezuela's presidential election is not precisely tied, but remains in dispute. The government declared Nicolas Maduro the winner on Sunday night. He's the man picked by the late President Hugo Chavez to become his successor. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is challenging his narrow defeat, less than a percentage point, and Capriles' supporters clashed with police yesterday.

NPR's Juan Forero is on the line from Caracas. And, Juan, what is the opposition case here that something was wrong with the election?

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Latin America
3:01 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Presidential Candidates Wrap Up Campaigns In Venezuela

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 3:49 pm

Audie Cornish talks to Steve Inskeep of Morning Edition from Venezuela about the country's presidential election. Thursday is the last day for the candidates to campaign. Venezuelans will choose a new president, replacing the late Hugo Chavez, on Sunday.

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