Mandalit del Barco

As a general assignment correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco has reported and produced radio stories and photographed everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR. Her news reports, feature stories and photos filed from Los Angeles and abroad can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, alt.latino and npr.org.

Her reporting has taken her throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Miami. Reporting further afield as well, del Barco traveled to Haiti to report on the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. She chronicled street gangs exported from the U.S. to El Salvador and Honduras and went to Mexico to report about immigrant smugglers, musicians, filmmakers and artists. In Argentina, del Barco profiled on tango legend Carlos Gardel and in the Philippines she reported a feature on balikbayan boxes and has Reporting from China, del Barco contributed to NPR's coverage of the United Nations' Women's Conference. She spent a year in Peru working on a documentary and teaching radio journalism as a Fulbright Fellow and on a fellowship with the Knight International Center For Journalists.

In addition to reporting daily stories, del Barco has created half-hour radio documentaries about gangs in Central America, Latino hip hop, L.A. Homegirls, artist Frida Kahlo, New York's Palladium ballroom and Puerto Rican "Casitas." She has served as a guest host on Latino USA and Tell Me More.

Before moving to Los Angeles, del Barco was a reporter for NPR Member station WNYC in New York City. She started her radio career on the production staff of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon. However her first taste for radio came as a teenager, when she and her brother won an award for an NPR children's radio contest.

del Barco's reporting experience extends into newspaper and magazines. She served on the staffs of The Miami Herald and The Village Voice and has done freelance reporting. She has written articles for Latina magazine and reported for the weekly radio show Latino USA.

Stories written by del Barco have appeared in several books including "Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share their Holiday Memories" (Vintage Books) and "Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember their Mothers" (Vintage Books). del Barco contributed to an anthology on rap music and hip hop culture in the book, "Droppin' Science" (Temple University Press).

Peruvian writer Julio Villanueva Chang profiled del Barco's life and career for the book "Se Habla Espanol: Voces Latinas en USA." (Alfaguara press)

She mentors young journalists through NPR's "Next Generation", Global Girl, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and on her own throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

A fourth generation journalist, del Barco was born in Lima, Peru, to a Peruvian father and Mexican-American mother. She grew up in Baldwin, Kansas, and in Oakland, California, and has lived in Manhattan, Madrid, Miami, Lima and Los Angeles. She began her journalism career as a reporter, columnist and editor for the Daily Californian while studying anthropology and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University with her thesis, "Breakdancers: Who are they, and why are they spinning on their heads?"

For those who are curious where her name comes from, "Mandalit" is the name of a woman in a song from Carmina Burana, a musical work from the 13th century put to music in the 20th century by composer Carl Orff. The guys from Car Talk also pay homage to her in their phony end credits as "inventory manager Mandalit del Barcode."

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5:46pm

Thu February 27, 2014
Code Switch

New Academy President Pushes For More Diverse Voting Members

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and only the third female president.
Chris Pizzello AP

For the first time, this year's best director Oscar could go to a Mexican (Alfonso Cuaron, for Gravity) or a black Brit (Steve McQueen, for 12 Years a Slave). That film's lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is also in the running for an award; so is his Kenyan co-star Lupita Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico. This year's nominees are diverse, but the people who vote for the Oscars are not.

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4:09pm

Mon February 24, 2014
Around the Nation

Alice Herz-Sommer, Pianist And Holocaust Survivor, Dies At 110

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 8:02 pm

Renowned concert pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, once thought to be the oldest living Holocaust survivor, has died at age 110. Her story is told in the Oscar-nominated film, The Lady in Number 6.

4:51am

Fri January 17, 2014
Business

DirecTV: Customers Balked At Weather Channel's Reality Shows

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 4:36 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story began as pretty much your standard contract dispute. The Weather Channel wanted more money for its programming, and DirectTV wanted to pay less.

So, at 12:01 Tuesday morning, the satellite service dropped the Weather Channel and replaced it with a smaller producer of weather programming, which raises the question: How much do TV viewers really want or need weather information when they can get it from other sources?

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

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2:57am

Tue January 7, 2014
Around the Nation

Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 3:41 pm

Ian Dodd (center), co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Sunday Assembly, sings with other attendees. Chapters of the godless church, founded by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, have been spreading since launching in London in January 2013.
Jae C. Hong AP

It sometimes feels like church in the auditorium of the Professional Musicians union in Hollywood. It's a Sunday morning, and hundreds of people are gathered to meditate, sing and listen to inspirational poetry and stories.

But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there's a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation.

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5:37am

Thu January 2, 2014
Television

Fielder Offers Absurd Marketing Advice On Comedy Central

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 2:01 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's hear now about a new reality show featuring a mild-mannered Canadian who gives outlandish advice to companies looking to up their game. It's called "Nathan for You." And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, it's become an unlikely hit for Comedy Central.

(SOUNDBITE OF A BARKING DOG)

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: On a sunny winter day in North Hollywood, Nathan Fielding is directing his latest quirky marketing ploy, this one for a new housecleaning service.

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5:56pm

Tue November 26, 2013
A Blog Supreme

Drummer Chico Hamilton, West Coast Jazz Pioneer, Dies

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 7:17 pm

Chico Hamilton.
Todd Boebel Courtesy of the artist

3:08am

Tue November 12, 2013
Television

Comcast Deal Puts New Minority-Run Channels In Play

El Rey, which will be targeting a young Latino audience, is being spearheaded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, shown at the premiere of his recent film Machete Kills in October.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Rapper and producer Sean "Diddy" Combs, director Robert Rodriguez, and basketball legend Magic Johnson each now has his own new cable TV networks. Their channels were part of a merger deal Comcast made with the FCC to give a shot to new networks owned by African Americans, Latinos and others.

Last month, Combs threw on his classic Puff Daddy alias to welcome millennial viewers to his new music network, Revolt.

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5:03am

Mon October 21, 2013
Television

Canada Takes Cable A La Carte, But Don't Expect U.S. To Follow

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 3:37 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

If you want to watch MTV, you have to pay for ESPN, even if you don't want to watch sports, and a lot of cable customers don't like it. In the cable TV business, it's called bundling. Now, the government of Canada is requiring cable companies to take those bundles apart. NPR's Mandelit del Barco reports on why that is unlikely to happen in the U.S.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Channel surfing in, say, Montreal, you can find everything from American TV sitcoms to shows in French.

(SOUNDBITE FROM TV SHOW)

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5:06am

Thu September 26, 2013
Business

1 In 7 American Adults Don't Go Online

Fifteen percent of Americans don't use the Internet, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. Most of these "offline adults" are 65 years old or older, many live in rural areas and have incomes lower than $30,000 a year.

5:05pm

Fri September 13, 2013
Code Switch

East LA Homegirl Goes Hollywood

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 6:04 pm

Evangeline Ordaz (center) stands with teens from Legacy LA who were her script consultants and extras for East Los High. From left: Rebecca Hernandez, Brenda Flores, Ordaz, Wesley Michua, Marlene Arazo.
Mandalit del Barco NPR

Evangeline Ordaz is no ordinary Hollywood show runner. When she's not teaching constitutional law or rehabbing historic buildings, she's writing for a racy soap opera about Latino teens in East Los Angeles. East Los High was a big summer success for the TV-on-demand website Hulu, and much of the credit for keeping the show real goes to its multitalented main writer.

Ordaz was born and bred in East Los Angeles — East Los, as it's known. She still lives there, and you can hear the neighborhood cadence in her voice.

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