Kelly McEvers

After many years in the Middle East, Kelly McEvers is back home and working as a national correspondent based at NPR West. She previously ran NPR's Beirut bureau, where she earned a George Foster Peabody award, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, a Gracie award, and an Overseas Press Club mention for her 2012 coverage of the Syrian conflict. She recently made a radio documentary about being a war correspondent with renowned radio producer Jay Allison of Transom.org.

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns followed the early euphoria of protests. She has been tear-gassed in Bahrain; she has spent a night in a tent city with a Yemeni woman who would later share the Nobel Peace Prize; and she spent weeks inside Syria with anti-government rebels known as the Free Syrian Army.

In Iraq, she covered the final withdrawal of U.S. troops and the political chaos that gripped the country afterward. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In 2008 and 2009, McEvers was part of a team that produced the award-winning "Working" series for American Public Media's business and finance show, Marketplace. She profiled a war fixer in Beirut, a smuggler in Dubai, a sex-worker in Baku, a pirate in the Strait of Malacca and a marriage broker in Vietnam.

She previously covered the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia as a freelancer for NPR and other outlets. She started her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, where she worked as a metro reporter and documented the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

Her writing also has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Monthly, Slate and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has aired on This American Life, The World, and the BBC. She's taught radio and journalism in the U.S. and abroad.

She lives with her family in California, where she's still very bad at surfing.

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National Security
3:35 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

To Fight ISIS, You Have To Understand Its Ideology

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 5:39 pm

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

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Goats and Soda
5:14 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

One Village's Story: How Ebola Began And How It Ends

Each day, a nurse comes to this clearing outside Taylortown, Liberia, to sing a song of mourning, preparing the space for the next burial. So far nearly 100 people are interred here.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 10:09 am

There's a clearing in the jungle in central Liberia that now serves as an Ebola burial ground. Every day, a woman who works as a nurse in the nearby Ebola treatment unit, or ETU, changes from her scrubs into traditional dress, walks into that clearing and sings a song of mourning.

The song is meant to prepare the space for the dead. There is a burial every day. So far, nearly 100 people have been buried in this clearing. Sixteen are from one village about 45 minutes away, a place called Taylortown, or Taylata in the local dialect.

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Global Health
4:29 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

Campaign Rallies Resume In Liberia, Raising Uncertainty Over Ebola Risk

Supporters of the Congress for Democratic Change party take part in a meeting in Monorovia on Nov. 20 for the opening of political campaign activities for senatorial elections. Elections are due to take place on Dec. 16, after being suspended because of the Ebola epidemic.
Zoom Dosso AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 11:54 am

In Liberia, the number of new cases of Ebola is going down, but the risk has not been eliminated. To help contain the disease, schools are set to be closed until March.

But a national Senate election, which was postponed once, is now set for mid-December. That means campaigning — which means crowds.

Back in August and September, when a hundred people were getting Ebola a day, Monrovia was a ghost town. Ebola treatment units were full and regular hospitals were closed. Some people died in the streets. A lot of people stayed home.

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Goats and Soda
5:31 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Ebola Is Changing Course In Liberia. Will The U.S. Military Adapt?

A helicopter's eye view of a new ETU, funded by USAID and built by Save the Children.
Kelly McEvers NPR

The Ebola outbreak started in rural areas, but by June it had reached Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

By August, the number of people contracting the Ebola virus in the country was doubling every week. The Liberian government and aid workers begged for help.

Enter the U.S. military, who along with other U.S. agencies had a clear plan in mid-September to build more Ebola treatment units, or ETUs. At least one would be built in the major town of each of Liberia's 15 counties. That way, sick patients in those counties wouldn't bring more Ebola to the capital.

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Goats and Soda
2:51 am
Tue November 25, 2014

As Ebola Pingpongs In Liberia, Cases Disappear Into The Jungle

A hand-drawn map on the wall of a rural clinic shows health workers where a woman with Ebola may be hiding.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 7:59 am

There's a new phase of Ebola in Liberia. Epidemiologists call it pingponging.

Back in March, the disease was found in the rural areas. Then as people came to the capital to seek care, it started growing exponentially there. Now, some sick people are going back to their villages, and the disease has pingponged to the rural areas again.

So that's where we're headed — into the hot, thick jungle of Liberia to investigate a new Ebola hotspot.

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Global Health
5:25 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Ebola Gatekeeper: 'When The Tears Stop, You Continue The Work'

Wencke Petersen, a Doctors Without Borders health worker, talks to a man through a chain link gate in September, when she was doing patient assessment at the front gate of an Ebola treatment unit. "There were days we couldn't take any patients at all," she tells NPR.
Michel du Cille The Washington Post

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 1:53 pm

Wencke Petersen came to Liberia in late August to do what she normally does for Doctors Without Borders in hotspots all over the world — manage supplies.

But the supplies she was meant to organize hadn't arrived yet. So she was asked to help with another job: standing at the main gate of the walled-in compound, turning people away when the unit was full.

For five weeks, she gave people the bad news.

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Shots - Health News
4:15 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Is 'Leaning In' The Only Formula For Women's Success In Science?

Caltech biochemical engineer Frances Arnold was awarded a National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama in 2013.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 7:45 am

Don't wait to be invited or encouraged to make a career in science, engineering or technology, Frances Arnold advises the young women she teaches at the California Institute of Technology. If you're a scientist, she says, you should know how to solve a problem.

"Bemoaning your fate is not going to solve the problem," she says. "One has to move forward."

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Iraq
6:55 am
Sat October 4, 2014

Islamic State Beheads British Aid Worker, Makes New Threat

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 12:50 pm

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

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U.S.
5:28 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Where Activists See Gray, Albuquerque Police See Black And White

Protesters gather outside the Albuquerque Police Department following the shooting deaths of James Boyd and others on March 25. The Justice Department accused the police of engaging in a pattern of excessive force.
Rita Daniels NPR

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 10:54 am

To understand the tension between the cops and some people in Albuquerque, you have to go back to a Tuesday in April.

It was after the Justice Department had accused the Albuquerque police of engaging in a pattern of excessive force. In March, a homeless camper named James Boyd was shot and killed. Then a 19-year-old woman was killed.

Music teacher Caro Acuna Olvera was eating dinner when a friend called her with the news.

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Men In America
4:29 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

After Factory Layoffs, Struggling To Stay On The Economic Ladder

Lynn Eldredge works as a facilities manager for several fast-food restaurants in Utah. At 50, he has no benefits and no retirement savings.
Courtesy of Lynn Eldredge

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 12:51 pm

Lynn Eldredge has worked hard for the past three decades. But somehow, it's still not quite enough.

Eldredge started his working life in the Air Force, and eventually found a steady job in a factory in Kansas. But then, in 2000, he was laid off — and has had six different jobs since then.

Over the past several decades in the U.S., wages have stayed flat or even gone down, while the cost of living has gone up. Economists say that's because jobs went overseas, technology replaced human labor and labor unions have seen their influence decline.

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Remembrances
3:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Tommy Ramone, Co-Founder Of The Ramones, Dies At 65

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 5:30 pm

Tommy Ramone, born Tom Erdelyi, has died at age 65. The drummer was the last living member of the legendary punk band he helped create.

Men In America
4:52 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

On Calif. Cattle Ranch, Students Wrangle With Meaning Of Manhood

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:39 pm

For All Things Considered's "Men in America" series, NPR's Kelly McEvers sent this report on Deep Springs College — the all-male college that her husband attended, and where he and McEvers have both taught.

About a hundred years ago, a man named L.L. Nunn was building power plants in the American West. He wanted a place where workers could be educated — and educated people could do work.

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Health
3:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Are Life Spans Getting Longer? It Depends On How Wealthy You Are

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:07 pm

While life expectancies are getting longer for those who are well off, life spans for poor women are actually getting shorter. The stories of two women, from two very different places, illustrate the reasons for the gap.

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

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Politics
4:11 am
Mon June 2, 2014

17 Primary Candidates Vie For Rep. Henry Waxman's Seat

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:48 am

When the Democrat from Southern California announced his retirement earlier this year, he opened up a seat that had been occupied for decades. The top-two vote getters will face off in November.

Law
2:31 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Albuquerque Police Face Federal Scrutiny, Local Outrage

Kenneth Ellis II and family members of people shot by Albuquerque police officers hold a news conference on May 8.
Juan Antonio Labreche AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 8:40 am

Kenneth Ellis III was shot and killed by police in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Albuquerque, N.M.

He is among the dozens of people local police have shot over the last four years, 25 of whom have died. The U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report in April saying Albuquerque police have a pattern of excessive force that violates the Constitution.

Investigations and policy changes are in the works, while families of those who have been shot argue more needs to be done.

Building Cases

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News
3:13 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Hoping To Slim POW-MIA Bureaucracy, Hagel Makes One Out Of Two

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 11:08 am

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the creation of a new defense agency charged with merging the multiple divisions currently responsible for finding and identifying the more than 80,000 members missing from past conflicts. A five-month investigation by NPR and the independent news agency ProPublica had found the U.S. recovery effort to be slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods.

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Reporter's Notebook
2:04 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Dwindling Middle Class Has Repercussions For Small Towns

When reporter Kelly McEvers stepped off the train in Lincoln, Ill., she asked, "What happened to my hometown?"
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 1:23 pm

My parents moved away from Lincoln, Ill., two decades ago, when I was in college. I hardly ever get back there. But my mom still works in Lincoln, and it was to Lincoln I headed to meet her this fall, after returning to the U.S. from the Middle East.

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The Salt
5:41 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

In Iraq, Laying Claim To The Kebab

Many different Middle Eastern cultures claim to have invented the kebab.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 8:54 pm

When you hear the word "kebab" in America, you might think of skewers with chunks of chicken or beef and vegetables, marinated and grilled on coals or gas. But say "kebab" in the Middle East, and it means a lot of things — chunks of lamb or liver on skewers, or the more popular version of grilled ground meat logs found in Turkey, Iran and much of the Arab world.

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Parallels
2:19 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Al-Jazeera Under Fire For Its Coverage Of Egypt

Posters in Cairo show Al-Jazeera's logo in red with a bloody hand scratching at it. A bullet can kill a man, the poster says, but a lying camera can kill a nation.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:45 am

The past two weeks in Egypt have been a real test for the TV network Al-Jazeera. Accusations that the network is biased toward the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have resulted in arrests, threats and resignations.

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News
6:16 am
Sat July 13, 2013

Ramadan Takes Political Tinge In Egypt

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 3:08 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's the holy month of Ramadan, usually a time of reflection, prayer and solidarity with fellow Muslims. But this Ramadan, Egypt is divided. The ouster of former president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this month and his current detention by Egyptian security forces, has polarized the country. NPR's Kelly McEvers spent last night in the streets of Cairo as pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi camps broke the fast outdoors and took to the streets in protest.

(SOUNDBITE OF STREET SOUNDS)

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Middle East
3:54 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Syrian Conflict Continues Violent Spillover Into Lebanon

Originally published on Sun July 14, 2013 7:13 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A bomb placed in a parked car caused a massive explosion in Beirut today that injured dozens of people. Later, a Syrian rebel group claimed responsibility for the blast.

NPR's Kelly McEvers was at the scene of the attack. She sent this report on how the Syrian conflict is spilling over into Lebanon.

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Parallels
7:08 am
Sat June 29, 2013

War Correspondent's Unflinching 'Diary Of A Bad Year'

A Syrian woman is evacuated after being wounded in shelling by regime forces in the Shaar neighborhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on Oct. 13, 2012.
Fabio Bucciarelli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 10:50 pm

NPR's Kelly McEvers struggled with intense, unexpected emotions during the Arab Spring, when friends were being kidnapped and worse. It made her wonder, why do otherwise intelligent people risk their lives to report on conflicts?

In early 2011, I started seeing things in slow motion. I cried unpredictably. It was the time of the Arab uprisings. Colleagues and friends were getting kidnapped. Some were getting killed.

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Middle East
5:05 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Dozens Dead After Clashes With Radical Cleric In Lebanon

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 12:46 pm

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

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World
2:57 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

A Close-Up Of Syria's Alawites, Loyalists Of A Troubled Regime

Director Nidal Hassan spent a year filming in Tartous, a Syrian beach town made up mostly of Alawites who still support embattled President Bashar Assad.
Khaled Al-Hariri Reuters/Landov

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

The film on Syria's Alawite community isn't finished yet, but filmmaker Nidal Hassan's favorite scenes are beginning to take shape.

It opens with fireworks on New Year's Eve in Tartous, Syria. "May God preserve the president for us," one young man yells in a reference to Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

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Middle East
4:03 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Members Of Assad's Sect Break Ranks With Syrian Regime

A Syrian woman walks past a poster for President Bashar Assad in an Alawite-dominated neighborhood in the western city of Homs, on Jan. 11, 2012. Support among the president's own minority sect is waning.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 8:56 pm

The Alawites of Syria were a poor, little-known Shiite minority until longtime dictator Hafez Assad, a member of the sect, rose to power in 1970. His son, President Bashar Assad, is now fighting to maintain that power in a country that has risen up against him. Now, even some Syrian Alawites say they are willing to denounce the regime, despite the risks.

A recent gathering in Cairo was much like other conferences hosted by the Syrian opposition — a flurry of activity in the hotel lobby, late-night conversations and lots of cigarettes.

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