Jennifer Ludden

Jennifer Ludden is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. She covers a range of stories on family life and social issues.

In recent years, Ludden has reported on the changing economics of marriage, the changing role of dads, the impact of rising student debt loads, and the ethical challenges of modern reproductive technology.

Ludden helped cover national security after the 9/11 attacks, then reported on the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal immigrants as well as Congressional efforts to pass a sweeping legalization. She traveled to the Philippines for a story on how an overburdened immigration bureaucracy keeps families separated for years, and to El Salvador to profile migrants who had been deported or turned back at the border.

Prior to moving into her current assignment in 2002, Ludden spent six years as a foreign reporter for NPR covering the Middle East, Europe, and West and Central Africa. She followed the collapse of the decade-long Oslo peace process, shared in two awards (Overseas Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists) for NPR's coverage of the Kosovo war in 1999, and won the Robert F. Kennedy award for her coverage of the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When not navigating war zones, Ludden reported on cultural trends, including the dying tradition of storytellers in Syria, the emergence of Persian pop music in Iran, and the rise of a new form of urban polygamy in Africa.

Before joining NPR in 1995, Ludden reported in Canada, and at public radio stations in Boston and Maine.

Ludden graduated from Syracuse University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in English and Television, Radio and Film Production.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: After dealing with a series of fake news stories, a local pizzeria in Washington faced a very real threat over the weekend. The restaurant Comet Ping Pong has been the target of online conspiracy theorist. And on Sunday, a man from North Carolina entered the pizzeria and fired a rifle. The man was arrested, and no injuries were reported. According to police, the man said he was investigating claims of a child sex...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's plenty of speculation about how the incoming Trump administration might restrict abortion. The president-elect has said he'd like to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and leave it to each state to decide whether to keep abortion legal. Trump has also nominated a staunch abortion opponent to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Now, the fact is it's already pretty hard to get an...

There's no shortage of speculation about how the incoming Trump administration, whose appointees so far are staunch abortion opponents, might crack down on access to the procedure. But reproductive rights groups say the big picture is getting lost: Women in large parts of the country already have limited access to abortion, due to hundreds of Republican-backed laws passed by state legislatures over the past half-decade. "People are forced to travel hundreds of miles, cross state lines, miss...

The most contentious presidential campaign and election in memory has many people dreading the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Some have even canceled plans , unwilling to face family members on the other side of the country's hardening political divide. Not so for the McNeish family of Roanoke, Va., though they still differ mightily on what to expect from a President Trump over the next four years. "I have no faith in him whatsoever," says Danny, 35, who works with a company that supplies and...

Amy Hagstrom Miller of Whole Women's Health had been having a banner year. Her organization, based in Charlottesville, Va., operates several abortion clinics around the country and brought a legal challenge that led the Supreme Court to issue a landmark ruling this past summer. The court struck down abortion restrictions in Texas, setting a precedent that abortion rights groups believe could help turn back a wave of restrictions passed by legislatures across the country in recent years. But...

In Greensboro, N.C., Eyeisha Holt spends her days as a full-time child care worker at Head Start. But after a decade's work in early education she still earns only $11.50 an hour — barely enough, she says, to cover the basics as a single mom of two. So every weekday evening she heads to her second job, as a babysitter. "Are you ready to go to bed?" she asks, as she oversees bath time for her 3-year-old daughter and another of her charges. For 25 hours a week, Holt cares for toddler twins, in...

In the final presidential debate, Donald Trump said he supports the federal ban on "partial-birth" abortion because, under the procedure, "in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother." He added that this can happen "as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth." But that is not at all likely. Some 90 percent of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute , a research group that...

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: We've been talking with working parents for our series Stretched. They face a lot of challenges, chief among them child care. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: There are wait lists for every reputable day care. UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: I left messages at 37 places. Three called me back. UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The cost for child care at some of the places we've seen is going to be almost as much...

In the two-story breakfast room on the 25th floor of Hilton's Conrad Miami, Florance Eloi mans the omelet stand in front of a panoramic view of the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. The bubbly Miami native says, laughing, that guests routinely tell her, "Stop making the omelets, you need to turn around and look!" When Eloi, 31, found out she was pregnant late last year, she wondered how she would balance her job with a baby. She was lucky to have a few weeks of paid vacation, since about half...

On her first day back at work after giving birth, Tricia Olson drank copious amounts of coffee, stuffed tissues in her pocket, and tried not to cry. After all, her son Gus was just 3 weeks old. Olson, 32, works for a small towing company and U-Haul franchise in Rock Springs, Wyo., and she could not afford to be away from work any longer. "The house bill's not going to pay itself," she says, her voice breaking in an audio diary she kept as part of a series on the challenges facing working...

A powerful drug that's normally used to tranquilize elephants is being blamed for a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says communities everywhere should be on alert for carfentanil. The synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the prescription painkiller that led to the death earlier this year of the pop star Prince. Fentanyl itself can be up to 50 times more...

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Orientation at Arkansas Tech University this year included a surprising topic for a Bible Belt state that pushes abstinence-only in high school. Every freshman was shown a newly produced video in which real students talk about the struggle of an unplanned pregnancy, and the challenge of staying in school as a parent. "I lost a lot of friends," says one young woman in the video who had dreamed of becoming a surgeon. A young man says he "went from not having any responsibility to having a full...

Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many. He's at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a "small-family ethic" — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to "give them grandchildren." Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate...

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: In a surprise move, Baltimore prosecutors have dropped all charges against three officers who still face trial in the death of Freddie Gray. The death of that young black man last year touched off protests that turned violent. State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby had been lauded by some for swiftly charging six officers, but the case has been an uphill battle from the start. NPR's Jennifer Ludden is here with us to...

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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