Hansi Lo Wang

Hansi Lo Wang is a reporter covering race, ethnicity and culture for NPR's Code Switch team. In early 2015, he will move to NPR's New York bureau to cover the Northeast as a National Desk reporter.

After joining NPR in 2010 as a Kroc Fellow, Wang reported on topics ranging from immigration and demographics to movies and graphic novels. In 2014, he won the National Journalism Award for General Excellence in Radio from the Asian American Journalists Association for his profile of a white member of a Boston Chinatown gang. His report on a former slave jail near Washington, D.C., was chosen as a finalist for a Salute to Excellence National Media Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Wang contributed to NPR's breaking news coverage of the 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla., the trial of George Zimmerman in Florida, the Washington Navy Yard shooting and the chemical spill in West Virginia's Elk River. He has also reported for Seattle public radio station KUOW and worked behind the scenes of NPR's Weekend Edition as a production assistant.

Currently based in Washington, D.C., Wang was born in Philadelphia, where his first job was to find and furnish apartments for newly-arrived refugees. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a bachelor's degree in political science. As a student, he hosted, produced, and reported for a weekly radio program on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wang speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese dialects of Chinese.

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Code Switch
6:44 am
Sat October 19, 2013

'12 Years' Is The Story Of A Slave Whose End Is A Mystery

In the new film adaptation of Twelve Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841.
Jaap Buitendijk Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 11:18 am

There's a true American saga on screens this weekend.

Twelve Years a Slave tells the story of Solomon Northup. He was an African-American musician from New York — a free man, until he was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., and sold into slavery. After an unlikely rescue from a Louisiana cotton plantation, he returned home and wrote a memoir, first published 160 years ago.

But the end of Northup's story is an unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for years.

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Code Switch
6:15 am
Sat October 5, 2013

'Linsanity': For Asian Fans, It Felt Just Like 'Young Love'

Jeremy Lin fans cheer during a game between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in March 2012.
Drew Hallowell Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 12:44 pm

Twenty months after it first took pop culture by storm, the global sports craze known as "Linsanity" has found a revival on screen.

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Around the Nation
5:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Investigators Probe Deadly Capitol Hill Shooting

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Around the Nation
5:12 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

One Police Officer Injured After Capitol Hill Car Chase

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:38 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill was the scene of a car chase today that ended not far from the halls of Congress. A Capitol police officer was injured and is being treated at an area hospital. Police say it was an isolated incident with no links to terrorism. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang was on the scene after the shooting and sent this report.

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Education
5:59 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Student Loan Changes Squeeze Historically Black Colleges

Students and alumni line up at Howard University in Washington, D.C., before August's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Nathaniel Grann The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:46 pm

Stricter lending guidelines for federal school loans have made it harder to borrow money for college. Changes made in 2011 to the PLUS loan program especially have hurt historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, over the past few years.

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Code Switch
7:01 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

After Drop, Number Of Immigrants Illegally In U.S. Levels Off

Young people stand in line in Los Angeles to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows qualified immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to study or work openly.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

The latest estimate by the Pew Research Center puts the number of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. at 11.7 million.

This new number, based on U.S. government data, can be found in a report released Monday titled "Population Decline of Unauthorized Immigrants Stalls, May Have Reversed." The key word in that headline is "may." As the authors write in the report:

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Economy
5:03 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

Stuck In Poverty Amid Signs Of Recovery

Food distributed by the Manna Food Center is packed in cardboard boxes to be loaded into clients' cars.
Chloe Coleman NPR

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 5:45 pm

For the third year in a row, the poverty rate has remained stuck at about 15 percent. Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty in 2012, according to a new report by the Census Bureau. Despite a slow-moving economic recovery, these latest numbers show that for poor Americans, there are few signs of any recovery.

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Around the Nation
6:41 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Victims Of Navy Yard Shooting Are Being Identified

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:38 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the shooter is known to have been, as we've just reported, a former Navy reservist. But DC's police chief did say yesterday that no active duty servicemembers were killed, no one in uniform. The dead included contractors and civilians, apparently. And to learn more now about those victims of yesterday's shooting, we turn to NPR's Hansi Lo Wang.

And what are you hearing from the people for whom this is a personal tragedy - that is, those who knew one or more of these victims?

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Code Switch
7:19 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

'Baby Veronica' Custody Battle Continues

Veronica, the child at the center of an adoption dispute, smiles in the bathroom of the Cherokee Nation Jack Brown Center in Oklahoma.
Mike Simons/Tulsa World AP

The U.S. Supreme Court may have decided almost three months ago the case known as Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. But the young Native American girl known as "Baby Veronica," who turns 4 years old on Sunday, is still stuck in legal limbo.

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Code Switch
5:46 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Asians-Only Volleyball Brings Community Together

Sam Li, 52 (center, lime green) has been playing 9-man volleyball for nearly 30 years and keeps up with the younger players.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 11:23 am

Volleyball games are stopping traffic on one of Washington, D.C.'s landmark streets, Pennsylvania Avenue, this Labor Day weekend.

More than 1,000 players from across the U.S. and Canada have gathered in the nation's capital to bump, set and spike in an annual tournament with unusual rules.

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Race
4:45 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Crowd Defies Gray Weather For Anniversary Of 1963 March

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:11 am

President Obama's speech capped a day of festivities in Washington, D.C. that began with a march across the National Mall. That's where thousands gathered against a backdrop of tight security and rainy weather. On the white marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial, national leaders took turns addressing the crowd.

U.S.
12:33 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Crowd Amped Up For March On Washington Commemoration

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

Fifty years ago today, more than a quarter million Americans stepped out of chartered buses, trains and cars and marched towards the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. This morning, thousands have come again to the nation's capital to retrace those steps and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for jobs and freedom.

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Code Switch
3:05 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Not Just A 'Black Thing': An Asian-American's Bond With Malcolm X

Kochiyama looks at a memorial for World War II Japanese-American internees at the Rohwer Relocation Center in Rohwer, Ark., in 2004.
Mike Wintroath AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 1:22 am

The brief friendship of Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama began close to 50 years ago with a handshake.

Diane Fujino, chairwoman of the Asian-American studies department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, details the moment in her biography Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama.

Kochiyama and her eldest son, 16-year-old Billy, were arrested along with hundreds of other people, mainly African-Americans, during a protest in Brooklyn, N.Y., in October 1963.

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Race
5:29 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Chinatown's 'White Devil John' Sentenced To 20 Years

John Willis, also known as "White Devil John" in Cantonese, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for money laundering and drug charges.
Jane Collins for NPR

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 3:29 pm

The conviction this week of mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger put an end to one of Boston's highest-profile crime sagas.

Less well-known, though, is the case of John Willis, a white man from Dorchester, Mass., who was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.

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U.S.
5:22 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Consumer Groups On The Lookout For Immigration Scams

A line waits outside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 2:54 pm

Talk about immigration reform on Capitol Hill this summer has raised the hopes of many unauthorized immigrants around the country.

It's also raised the fears of consumer advocates worried about scam artists who promise immigrants they can help them secure legal status.

Eduardo Flores, an unauthorized immigrant from Honduras, wasn't promised immigration documents, but he did place his trust and $4,000 with a man who said he was an immigration attorney.

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Code Switch
4:45 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

S.C. High Court Moves To End Saga Of 'Baby Veronica'

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that custody for Baby Veronica, shown here in a October 2011 provided by her adoptive mother, Melanie Capobianco, be transferred from her biological father to the Capobiancos.
Melanie Capobianco AP

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 5:47 pm

UPDATE July 24, 2013: The South Carolina Supreme Court denied a petition for rehearing and ordered Baby Veronica's adoption by the Capobiancos finalized, as reported by NPR's Nina Totenberg.


Less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court sent an unusually messy child custody case back to the lower courts, South Carolina's Supreme Court has ruled to end the long-running saga of Baby Veronica, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

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Around the Nation
5:05 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Community Leaders Brace For Fallout From Zimmerman Verdict

Chimurenqa Waller leads demonstrators in a chant in front of the Seminole County Courthouse while the jury deliberated in the trial of George Zimmerman on Friday
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Sat July 13, 2013 7:30 am

As the nation waits for the jury's verdict on George Zimmerman, community leaders in Florida are in place, prepared for a big public reaction.

Government and law enforcement officials say they're hoping for the best with any demonstrations that may come after the verdict. But they're also preparing for the worst – rising tensions that could escalate violently.

An 'Opportunity' For Peace?

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Code Switch
4:52 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

New Series 'The Bridge' Seeks An Audience In Two Languages

Mexican homicide detective Marco Ruiz (played by Demián Bichir) must work with his American counterpart, Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger), to solve a murder on the U.S.-Mexico border in FX's new series The Bridge.
FX Network

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 8:53 pm

The U.S.-Mexico border plays a starring role in the new FX series The Bridge.

Characters in the television crime drama, which premieres Wednesday night, regularly cross back and forth through the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The show's dialogue also frequently switches between English and Spanish, setting a new standard for bilingual drama on American television.

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Around the Nation
5:27 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

How Many Gay Couples Have Tied The Knot? Nobody Knows

Couples kiss at the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif., earlier this month.
Amy Taxin AP

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:36 pm

Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June, many questions have emerged about what the ruling may mean for same-sex couples.

There's one question, though, that would seem easy to answer: How many legal same-sex marriages are there in the U.S.?

The Limitations Of Self-Reporting

It turns out the answer is actually very complicated — so complicated that even experts such as Bob Witeck, president and founder of Witeck Communications, a marketing firm specializing in gay and lesbian consumers, are stumped.

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Code Switch
5:18 am
Sat June 29, 2013

PR Experts On How To Prove You're Not A Racist

Paula Deen dissolved into tears during her appearance Wednesday on NBC's Today show with Matt Lauer. The celebrity chef told Lauer she was not a racist, but image experts say she'll have to work harder to convince the public.
Peter Kramer AP

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 3:44 pm

The empire of Paula Deen is crumbling.

Sears and Walgreens are among the latest companies cutting business ties with the celebrity chef, and Ballantine Books has announced that it will no longer publish her cookbooks.

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