Kirk Siegler

Kirk Siegler is a reporter for NPR's National Desk. In this role he covers Southern California and the West from NPR West's studios in Culver City, CA.

Since joining the national desk in December of 2012, Siegler has covered everything from a dock worker strike at the nation's largest port to an unprecedented manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer wanted for a string of vengeance killings. He's also contributed extensively to the network's coverage on the ongoing national conversation about guns; assignments that have taken him from Newtown, CT, to an inner-city Los Angeles hospital's trauma ward, to rural Wyoming.

Siegler has won numerous Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press Awards for his coverage of Environmental, Political and Business issues in Montana and Colorado. Siegler was a 2010 Science Literacy Project fellow at the University of California-Berkeley and most recently he completed the 2012 Knight/MIT "Food Boot Camp" Fellowship.

Prior to joining NPR, Siegler spent seven years reporting from Colorado, where he became a familiar voice to NPR listeners reporting from Denver for NPR Member Station KUNC. He also spent two years as a reporter and news director at Aspen Public Radio. Siegler got his start in reporting in 2003 covering the Montana Legislature for Montana Public Radio.

Siegler has spent much of his adult life living in the West. He grew up in Missoula, MT and received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is an avid skier and enjoys traveling and visiting his family scattered across the globe.

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2:59am

Fri January 31, 2014
The Great Plains Oil Rush

Commuting To Distant Oil Fields: Good Money, At A Price

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 1:26 pm

The small streets of Williston, N.D., are bustling with trucks early in the morning.
Annie Flanagan for NPR

Think your commute is bad? Try 580 miles, one-way.

Door to door, that's how far Rory Richardson travels between his home in western Montana and his job on the oil fields near Williston, N.D. Often, he makes the trip on a plane his company charters to shuttle workers between here and the Northwest.

"It's no fun coming over to North Dakota," he says, clutching a duffel bag and a cooler of food as he walks out of Williston's one-room airport and into the biting North Dakota winter.

But this is Richardson's new life.

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4:48am

Thu January 30, 2014
Business

Gunmakers Protest Microstamping Law In Calif.

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news includes halted gun sales in California.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Two of the nation's largest gun manufacturers have announced they will stop selling semi-automatic hand guns in California. This is because of a dispute over a new identification law.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

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2:54am

Wed January 29, 2014
Around the Nation

On The Plains, The Rush For Oil Has Changed Everything

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 12:49 pm

Diners at Lonnie's Roadhouse Cafe eat breakfast before heading to work in Williston, N.D.
Annie Flanagan for NPR

A remarkable transformation is underway in western North Dakota, where an oil boom is changing the state's fortunes and leaving once-sleepy towns bursting at the seams. In a series of stories, NPR is exploring the economic, social and environmental demands of this modern-day gold rush.

On a Sunday at dusk, Amtrak's eastbound Empire Builder train is jampacked, filled with people heading to their jobs in North Dakota towns like Minot, Williston and Watford City.

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5:00pm

Mon December 30, 2013
Around the Nation

Whale Traffic Jam Delights Visitors And Baffles Scientists

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 6:13 pm

A diving whale off the coast of Southern California near the Los Angeles suburb of Palos Verdes in 2010.
Mike Nelson EPA/Landov

This is one of the best times of the year to spot gray whales off the coast of Southern California as they migrate south for the winter. But recently, there have been an unusually high number of sightings of other whales.

"We've had so many whales," Dan "The Whale Man" Salas tells the guests on his boat. "This is all in the last two weeks. We've had orcas, we had a sperm whale, we've got humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales. Yesterday we had a massive pod of gray whales, so we never know what we're going to see out here."

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9:48am

Sat December 28, 2013
Number Of The Year

A Tragic Year For Wildland Firefighters Ends In Reflection

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:22 am

The wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz., last June destroyed homes and killed 19 firefighters. Experts say expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters.
Andy Tobin AP

Thirty-four wildland firefighters died in the line of duty this year. Some of those fatalities were isolated incidents, but one event captured the nation's attention, sparking a larger conversation about the new dangers firefighters face.

That event unfolded in central Arizona the afternoon of June 30, a Sunday.

"I'm here with Granite Mountain Hot Shots. Our escape route has been cut off," says a crew boss on recently released radio traffic from the Yarnell Hill Fire. "We are preparing a deployment site, and I'll give you a call when we are under the shelters.

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
Around the Nation

Scandal May Bring New Oversight To LA County Sheriff's Department

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:41 am

After the FBI released results of a federal probe on Dec. 9, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he was troubled by the charges and called it a sad day for his department.
Nick Ut AP

Longtime civil rights attorney Connie Rice has been following this week's indictments against officers in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. She says it points to a subculture of corruption within certain units, much like the city's scandal-ridden police department of the 1990s.

In the main downtown jails, sheriff's officers are accused of beating and choking inmates without provocation, harassing visitors and then covering it all up.

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5:23pm

Wed December 11, 2013
U.S.

After Fight Over Colo. Gun Laws, Two Sides As Dug In As Ever

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:47 pm

A man holds a sign advocating the recall of state Sen. John Morse in Colorado Springs, Colo., in September. Morse and a second state senator who backed the state's new gun control measures were recalled during a special election that month.
Matthew Staver Landov

John Morse was president of the Colorado Senate until September, when he became the first elected official recalled in the state's history.

Three months later, he's climbing the rotunda steps of the gold-domed Capitol building — his office for seven years. He hasn't been here since October. Gazing up at the dome, he says, "This is one of my favorite things to do. That's my version of smelling the roses."

Morse's political career ended over the gun bills he pushed through these chambers eight months ago. But he says he would do it all again.

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6:26pm

Wed December 4, 2013
Around the Nation

Pipeline On Wheels: Trains Are Winning Big Off U.S. Oil

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 9:28 pm

A train leaves the Rangeland Energy company's crude oil loading terminal near Epping, N.D. So far this year, 60 percent of all oil produced in North Dakota left the state by rail. One economist says there aren't enough oil tankers to fill the demand.
AP

The oil boom in the United States is creating another boom — for the railroad industry.

So far this year, in North Dakota alone, 140 million barrels of oil have left on trains. Shipments of crude oil by rail are up almost 50 percent over last year — and this upward trend is expected to continue.

A visit to the world-famous Tehachapi Loop, part of a winding mountain pass in Southern California, demonstrates the scale and reach of the oil boom in the middle of the country. As a train full of oil tanker cars rumbles past, it's hard not to think of it as a pipeline on wheels.

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2:54am

Tue November 12, 2013
Around the Nation

Philippine Ex-Pats In Calif. Contribute To Typhoon Relief

Many Filipinos living in the United States are frantically trying to get in touch with loved ones in some of the areas hardest hit by the typhoon. California, with about a million Filipino immigrants, is the center for a large fundraising effort.

Los Angeles is home to one of the largest concentrations of Filipino immigrants in the U.S. Many across this city are glued to the local Asian TV stations' nightly news broadcasts. Some are turning their worry and stress into action, pounding the pavement to raise money for typhoon victims.

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4:31pm

Mon November 4, 2013
Code Switch

New Mayor Asks Compton: What Can Brown Do For You?

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 7:42 pm

Mayor Aja Brown of Compton, Calif., has big plans to turn the city around.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Aja Brown made history this past summer when she became the youngest mayor in the history of Compton, Calif. There is a lot of buzz there around the charismatic 31-year-old.

The city of about 100,000 people just south of Los Angeles has long struggled with gangs and street violence. But it wasn't always that way. Compton flourished in the '50s and '60s, when its factory jobs were a beacon for African-Americans fleeing the South.

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