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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1:29am

Thu August 16, 2012
Music

Juanes: A Superstar Slows Down, Shifts Gears

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:57 am

Juanes' latest album is all acoustic, and was recorded in front of a live audience as part of MTV's Unplugged series.
MTV

The new release from Juanes marks a departure for the Colombian pop star. The all-acoustic album was recorded in front of a live Miami audience for MTV Unplugged.

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4:27am

Wed July 25, 2012
Remembrances

Sherman Hemsley, TV's George Jefferson, Dies

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 6:12 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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3:54pm

Fri July 20, 2012
The Aurora Theater Shootings

'Dark Knight' Events Canceled, Theaters Add Guards

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 4:56 pm

Workers dismantle an installation that was set up for the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Paris. It had been scheduled for Friday night but was canceled after a gunman killed 12 people at a Colorado opening of the same film.
Jacques Brinon AP

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in a Colorado theater, the hoopla surrounding a blockbuster movie opening was toned down, and theaters around the country began beefing up security.

Warner Bros., the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises, canceled Friday night's red-carpet premiere in Paris. It also called off a press conference with the director and the stars.

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1:48pm

Wed July 18, 2012
Arts & Life

Seinfeld Hits The Web, Still Talking About Nothing

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:30 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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4:23pm

Wed June 20, 2012
Politics

Program On Ariz. Immigration Part News, Advocacy

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The U.S. Supreme Court is getting ready to rule on Arizona's controversial immigration law and a lot of people in that state are watching closely. Tonight, nearly two dozen Spanish language radio and TV stations in Arizona are scheduled to run the same program about the immigration law. As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, they're walking a fine line between journalism and advocacy.

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3:57am

Sat June 16, 2012
Around the Nation

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

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 5:53 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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5:02am

Tue May 8, 2012
Media

English-Language News Launched By Univision, ABC

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 am

The joint venture will create a multi-platform news service for English-speaking Hispanics. The venture will feature a 24/7 cable channel, as well as digital media platforms.

4:52am

Mon February 27, 2012
Movies

Silence Is Golden For 'The Artist'

The Artist became the first silent film to triumph at Hollywood's highest honors since the original Oscar ceremony 83 years ago. The film's lead actor, Jean Dujardin, also took home an Academy award for best actor while Michel Hazanavicius, the film's director, also won.

3:21am

Mon October 24, 2011
Race

Moreno, Leguizamo Talk Latin Life In 'Hollywouldn't'

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 5:03 pm

Four's The Score: One of a handful of performers to score an EGOT — an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — Rita Moreno is revisiting the highlights and lowlights of her life and career in a new solo show.

Michael LaMonica Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Rita Moreno — the only Latino performer to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — is reprising some of her most memorable characters in a solo show at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Up the coast in Los Angeles, John Leguizamo, who co-starred opposite Al Pacino in Carlito's Way and voiced Sid the sloth in the animated Ice Age films, is performing another of his acclaimed solo shows. And while their Hollywood success came 40 years apart, the two say they encountered many of the same hurdles.

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3:24pm

Tue September 20, 2011
Reporter's Notebook

A New Destination For Kayakers: The L.A. River?

The fifth graders from L.A.'s Pico Union neighborhood, who rarely get to spend time in nature, say it was the best field trip ever.
Mandalit del Barco NPR

The once-polluted and often ridiculed Los Angeles River is now open to kayak and canoe adventures. City officials and the Army Corps of Engineers are running a pilot program that allows people to explore the river.

In the South American rain forest, I once paddled in a dugout canoe through the lush Amazon River, filled with pink dolphins and flesh-eating piranhas. So the thought of navigating down the Los Angeles River at first seemed almost ridiculous.

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10:01pm

Mon September 5, 2011
Hidden World Of Girls

Ex-L.A. Gang Member Trades Streets For Family Life

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 1:20 pm

BooBoo (right) flashes a Playboys gang hand sign, 1993.
Robert Yager

Los Angeles is arguably the epicenter of street gangs stretching back for generations. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has been documenting the lives of gang members in the city for nearly two decades. For the series "The Hidden World of Girls," produced with the Kitchen Sisters, del Barco revisits one gang girl she profiled for an NPR documentary in 1995.

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10:01pm

Mon August 8, 2011
Movies

Los Angeles: City Of Perpetual Cinematic Destruction

A tornado destroys the Hollywood sign (and everything it stands for) in the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow.
Photofest

Los Angeles doesn't stand a chance on the big screen. In the movies, the City of Angels has been obliterated by titanic tornadoes, epic earthquakes and a colossal volcano that bubbles up from below the La Brea Tar Pits.

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