Jennifer Ludden

Jennifer Ludden is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. She covers a range of stories on family life and social issues.

In recent years, Ludden has reported on the changing economics of marriage, the changing role of dads, the impact of rising student debt loads, and the ethical challenges of modern reproductive technology.

Ludden helped cover national security after the 9/11 attacks, then reported on the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal immigrants as well as Congressional efforts to pass a sweeping legalization. She traveled to the Philippines for a story on how an overburdened immigration bureaucracy keeps families separated for years, and to El Salvador to profile migrants who had been deported or turned back at the border.

Prior to moving into her current assignment in 2002, Ludden spent six years as a foreign reporter for NPR covering the Middle East, Europe, and West and Central Africa. She followed the collapse of the decade-long Oslo peace process, shared in two awards (Overseas Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists) for NPR's coverage of the Kosovo war in 1999, and won the Robert F. Kennedy award for her coverage of the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When not navigating war zones, Ludden reported on cultural trends, including the dying tradition of storytellers in Syria, the emergence of Persian pop music in Iran, and the rise of a new form of urban polygamy in Africa.

Before joining NPR in 1995, Ludden reported in Canada, and at public radio stations in Boston and Maine.

Ludden graduated from Syracuse University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in English and Television, Radio and Film Production.

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3:32am

Thu October 16, 2014
New Boom

For More Millennials, It's Kids First, Marriage Maybe

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 9:09 am

Phillip Underwood and Michelle Sheridan and their children, Logan and Lilliana, gather in their living room in Frederick, Md., after a long day of work and school. The couple had delayed marriage, in part for financial reasons.
James Clark NPR

Decades ago, an "oops" pregnancy might have meant a rush to the altar. But when Michelle Sheridan got pregnant three years ago, the topic of marriage never came up with her boyfriend, Phillip Underwood, whom she lives with in Frederick, Md.

If anything, it was the opposite.

"It changes the dynamic of the household," she says. "I had a friend who put off her marriage. Got pregnant, and she's like, 'Let's just wait, 'cause we don't know if we're going to be able to make it through this.' "

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5:12pm

Mon September 22, 2014
Sports

With Dark Humor, Anger And Empathy, Women Respond To The NFL

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 10:21 am

A Ravens fan trades in her Ray Rice jersey Friday after he was cut from the team over allegations of domestic abuse.
Patrick Semansky AP

As the National Football League scrambles to defend its actions in amid a series of domestic abuse allegations against players, some of its harshest critics have been women. Female fans are a key part of the league's business strategy — the NFL says that women make up 45 percent of its fan base — but they haven't reacted to the scandal with one voice.

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3:46pm

Tue September 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Colleges Brainstorm Ways To Cut Back On Binge Drinking

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:48 pm

Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi conducts a "knock and talk" at a house near campus, reminding students of laws on underage drinking and open containers.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

It's early Friday night, and Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi is just starting the late shift. At a white clapboard house, he jumps out of his SUV to chat with four students on the front steps.

"S'up guys!" he calls out, assuring them he just wants to chat. All are underage but one, and that one tells Pirolozzi he has a string of alcohol violations from past years. Pirolozzi banters a bit. He tells them to "call anytime," and reminds them not to walk around the street with open containers.

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10:53am

Tue August 26, 2014
A Closer Look At Sexual Assaults On Campus

Student Activists Keep Pressure On Campus Sexual Assault

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 11:47 am

Dana Bolger, who says she was raped in 2011 while a student at Amherst College, co-founded a group that seeks to educate students about their rights under Title IX.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

For Georgetown University freshmen, orientation this week included a new activity: mandatory small-group discussions on sexual assault.

"For a lot of the kids, this might be the first time they ever actually talk about sexual assault or what consent means in an environment with their peers," says Chandini Jha, a junior who helped lead several discussions and who's been pushing administrators to do this for two years.

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3:48pm

Wed August 13, 2014
Men In America

More Dads Want Paternity Leave. Getting It Is A Different Matter

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 9:14 pm

Kumar Chandran and Elanor Starmer with their son, Kailas Chandran. The couple's friends are envious of Chandran's paid paternity leave.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

After nearly four weeks at home with his infant son, Kumar Chandran has the diaper thing down.

"Shhh, almost done," he says, hunching over Kai on the living room floor of their Washington, D.C., townhouse, while his wife, Elanor Starmer, tries to placate the fussy baby.

Chandran says there was no question he wanted to be home at this time. The nonprofit he works for offers four weeks of paid parental leave — the same for men and for women. He says this has let him bond with his son and pick up on subtle cues.

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7:58am

Wed July 9, 2014
War On Poverty, 50 Years Later

Class Helps Unwed Dads Navigate Ohio's Mom-Friendly Systems

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:43 am

About a quarter of U.S. families are now headed by a single mother.

That means a lot of children without a father in the home, and in some cases, fathers not having much contact with their children.

Research shows a long list of possible problems linked to fathers not being involved in their kid's lives — including poor performance in school, behavioral issues, drug and alcohol abuse and poverty.

To tackle these, Richland County, Ohio, is trying to get fathers more involved.

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5:09am

Tue July 1, 2014
Law

High Court's Contraception Ruling Draws Strong Reactions

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:24 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now we get your reaction to both the Supreme Court decisions - first, to the ruling that some businesses can cite religion to opt out of covering contraceptives under the new health care law. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: In Chicago, a few dozen abortion rights opponents gathered to celebrate the decision as a victory for religious liberty. Emily Zender is with Illinois Rights Alive.

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3:01am

Thu June 19, 2014
Around the Nation

U.S. Plan To House Immigrant Kids In Tiny Va. Town Rattles Residents

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:01 am

St. Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Va., closed last year, but recently struck a deal to lease campus buildings to the federal government. The rent would allow the college to remain open — though not for education — and would provide funds to cut grass, staff guards, issue transcripts and allow the college to find a buyer.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

The influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children to the U.S. has sparked a controversy in an unlikely place far from the U.S.-Mexico border: a tiny town in southern Virginia.

The federal government had struck a deal to house some of the migrants in an empty college in Lawrenceville, in the heart of Virginia's tobacco belt. The first busload was expected as early as Thursday, but a local backlash has put the plan on hold.

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6:43pm

Thu June 5, 2014
Around the Nation

Stay-At-Home Dads On The Rise, And Many Of Them Are Poor

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:38 am

The number of fathers in the U.S. who stay at home with their children has nearly doubled since 1989.
iStockphoto

The number of dads staying at home with their children has nearly doubled in the past two decades, and the diversity among them defies the stereotype of the highly educated young father who stays home to let his wife focus on her career.

A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that almost 2 million fathers are at home, up from 1.1 million in 1989. Nearly half of those men live in poverty.

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1:17am

Mon May 12, 2014
Education

Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 10:21 am

British Library of Political and Economic Science Flickr

Harry Potter and The Hunger Games haven't been big hits for nothing. Lots of teens and adolescents still read quite a lot.

But a roundup of studies, put together by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, shows a clear decline over time. Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that.

That's way down from a decade ago.

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