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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4:56pm

Fri September 21, 2012
Space

Space Shuttle Endeavour Touches Down One Last Time

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 6:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally this hour, to California, where space shuttle Endeavour made its final flight today. Endeavour left Andrews Air Force Base this morning on the back of a 747. It flew over San Francisco and Sacramento before heading south to Los Angeles. There, it will find new life as an exhibit in a science museum. Before Endeavour touched down, it made a low-level pass over a number of Southern California landmarks. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was with some elementary school students as the shuttle flew by.

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4:30pm

Mon September 10, 2012
Movies

The Straight-To-DVD World Of 'Mockbusters'

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:32 am

Paul Bales, David Rimawi and David Latt of The Asylum call their films "mockbusters."
Mike Digrazia

Dreamworks' animated movie Puss in Boots was a big deal. It won an Oscar, and its swashbuckling, sloe-eyed kitty was voiced by Antonio Banderas.

The meticulous computer-generated animation took four years and something like $130 million to make. But another cartoon, Puss In Boots: A Furry Tail, was hand-drawn in six months for less than $1 million. It went straight to DVD — one of the many low-budget productions riding the coattails of Hollywood blockbusters.

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4:49pm

Thu September 6, 2012
Business

EBay Bans Supernatural Goods And Services

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 7:09 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. Since eBay emerged back in 1995, countless small businesses have used the website to sell or auction off their wares. But now, there are new restrictions. As we hear from NPR's Mandalit del Barco, tarot card readers, spell casters and psychics will no longer be able to use eBay to peddle what are known as metaphysical services.

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8:53am

Thu September 6, 2012
Around the Nation

L.A.'s Ban On Marijuana Dispensaries Halted For Now

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 5:01 pm

Medical cannabis patient Michael Oliveri smokes marijuana during a news conference in Universal City, Calif., last week. Medical marijuana advocates say they have enough signatures to place a referendum before voters that would overturn a ban on pot clinics in Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

Thursday was supposed to mark the end of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, after the city council approved a ban on them this summer. But patients and advocates have managed to halt the ban, and some dispensary operators are suing the city.

For years, Los Angeles has been a mecca for medical marijuana dispensaries. Anyone with a doctor's recommendation could stop in at chic storefronts offering cannabis-laced desserts or at the more underground clinics, labeled only with a green cross. Hundreds, maybe 1,000 of these pot shops popped up around L.A.

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6:05am

Wed July 25, 2012
Remembrances

Sherman Hemsley, TV's George Jefferson, Dies

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

George Jefferson was an upwardly mobile black businessman with a longsuffering wife, equal parts pride and frustration when it came to his family and neighbors. Actor Sherman Hemsley brought that vivid character to life on television in the 1970s and '80s. He was 74 when he died yesterday at his home in El Paso, Texas. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has this remembrance of the actor behind the headstrong, high-strung center of "The Jeffersons."

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME SONG, "THE JEFFERSONS")

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6:48am

Tue July 24, 2012
Business

'Dark Knight Rises' Tops Weekend Box Office

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 10:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a box office high.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The new Batman movie "Dark Knight Rises" set a box office record over the past weekend. There were questions, of course, about how much money it would bring in after Friday's shooting in Colorado in a theater where the movie was showing.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco has more.

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4:39am

Fri July 20, 2012
Author Interviews

Michael Connelly: From Reporter To Mystery Novelist

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Writer Michael Connelly hits a milestone this summer. It's been 20 years since he introduced the character that launched his bestselling books - Los Angeles homicide Detective Harry Bosch. In today's encore Crime in the City, we return to the City of Angels.

It was here, back in 2007, NPR's Mandalit Del Barco met up with Michael Connelly. He was living in Florida but still spending time on the mean streets of L.A.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC)

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3:48pm

Wed July 18, 2012
Arts & Life

Seinfeld Hits The Web, Still Talking About Nothing

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:30 pm

Jerry Seinfeld's new series is called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and the promos promise exactly that. The comic toodles around in his vintage wheels, drinking java with his pals Alec Baldwin, Michael Richards and Larry David, and discussing (among other things) the effrontery of ordering herbal tea when invited out for coffee.

But the next act from the man behind the most popular sitcom on television won't be on television. It's a webseries.

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9:20am

Thu July 12, 2012
Business

DirectTV, Viacom Battle Over Distribution Fees

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 12:21 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Almost 20 million subscribers of the country's largest satellite TV provider are now unable to access dozens of channels.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports that DirecTV ordered the blackout after its distribution agreement with Viacom ended.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: If you believe this Viacom video, the sky is about to fall because DirecTV viewers can no longer tune into the antics of "SpongeBob SquarePants," Jon Stewart, or Snooki.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE AD)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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5:57am

Sat June 16, 2012
Around the Nation

Is Deportation Freeze A 'Big Relief' Or 'Cynical Ploy'?

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 7:53 pm

Myisha Areloano, Adrian James, Jahel Campos, David Vuenrostro and Antonio Cabrera camp outside President Obama's campaign headquarters in Culver City, Calif., on Friday to protest his immigration policies.
Grant Hindsley AP

At the University of California, Los Angeles, Labor Center in downtown L.A., more than 100 student leaders from around the country hugged and cheered as President Obama delivered his immigration announcement Friday.

Obama outlined a new policy to temporarily stop deporting some young illegal immigrants and make them eligible for work permits.

Diego Sanchez was born in Argentina and brought to Miami 12 years ago. He's working on getting his MBA. He welcomed the president's announcement.

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