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.

Pages

Shots - Health News
4:35 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

U.Va. Looks At Ways To Curb Drinking At Its Frat Houses

The University of Virginia is trying to crack down on excessive and underage drinking at fraternities.
Jay Paul Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 1:58 pm

The University of Virginia is renegotiating its contract with fraternities, which were suspended after a Rolling Stone article described a frat house gang rape. Even though that article has been called into question, U.Va.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:11 am
Tue December 9, 2014

At University Of Virginia, Efforts Born Of Discredited Story Go On

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:01 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When a Rolling Stone article on campus rape began to fall apart, activists immediately knew the real losers - everyone who's ever been a victim of sexual assault on campus.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Around the Nation
4:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Fallout From 'Rolling Stone' Story Changes Conversation At UVA

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 10:49 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Education
5:14 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

UVA President Announces More Changes In Wake Of Sexual Assault Coverage

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 6:28 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Around the Nation
5:15 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Census Bureau May Stop Asking Marital History Questions

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 7:16 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
5:27 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

San Francisco Proposes Predictable Scheduling To Help Hourly Workers

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 6:36 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Around the Nation
6:30 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Two Of Three States Reject Ballot Measures Restricting Abortion

Abortion-rights supporters outside the Supreme Court in January for the annual March for Life. This week North Dakota and Colorado struck down ballot measures restricting abortion, while Tennessee passed an initiative that may result in restricted rights.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 8:11 pm

Amid all the shakeout from this week's midterm elections, many are trying to assess the impact on abortion.

Two abortion-related ballot measures were soundly defeated. A third passed easily. And those favoring restrictions on abortion will have a much bigger voice in the new Congress.

In North Dakota and Colorado, voters rejected 2-to-1 so-called personhood measures, which would give legal rights to fetuses.

Read more
World
5:30 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

As U.S. Support For Same-Sex Marriage Rises, Activists Go Global

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 6:27 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

New Boom
3:32 am
Thu October 16, 2014

For More Millennials, It's Kids First, Marriage Maybe

Phillip Underwood and Michelle Sheridan and their children, Logan and Lilliana, gather in their living room in Frederick, Md., after a long day of work and school. The couple had delayed marriage, in part for financial reasons.
James Clark NPR

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 9:09 am

Decades ago, an "oops" pregnancy might have meant a rush to the altar. But when Michelle Sheridan got pregnant three years ago, the topic of marriage never came up with her boyfriend, Phillip Underwood, whom she lives with in Frederick, Md.

If anything, it was the opposite.

"It changes the dynamic of the household," she says. "I had a friend who put off her marriage. Got pregnant, and she's like, 'Let's just wait, 'cause we don't know if we're going to be able to make it through this.' "

Read more
Law
4:27 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

SCOTUS Rejection Of Gay Marriage Cases Will Create Legal Domino Effect

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 6:30 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sports
5:12 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

With Dark Humor, Anger And Empathy, Women Respond To The NFL

A Ravens fan trades in her Ray Rice jersey Friday after he was cut from the team over allegations of domestic abuse.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 10:21 am

As the National Football League scrambles to defend its actions in amid a series of domestic abuse allegations against players, some of its harshest critics have been women. Female fans are a key part of the league's business strategy — the NFL says that women make up 45 percent of its fan base — but they haven't reacted to the scandal with one voice.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:14 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Colleges Brainstorm Ways To Cut Back On Binge Drinking

Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi conducts a "knock and talk" at a house near campus, reminding students of laws on underage drinking and open containers.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:48 pm

It's early Friday night, and Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi is just starting the late shift. At a white clapboard house, he jumps out of his SUV to chat with four students on the front steps.

"S'up guys!" he calls out, assuring them he just wants to chat. All are underage but one, and that one tells Pirolozzi he has a string of alcohol violations from past years. Pirolozzi banters a bit. He tells them to "call anytime," and reminds them not to walk around the street with open containers.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:45 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Shooting Range Accident Draws Focus On Children Handling Guns

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:28 pm

A tragedy at an Arizona shooting range this week has set off a debate about children using high-powered weapons, as well as America's gun culture. Shooting range owners are defending their industry as safe, criticizing this particular operator for allowing a small girl to use an Uzi.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:06 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Student Activists Keep Pressure On Campus Sexual Assault

Dana Bolger, who says she was raped in 2011 while a student at Amherst College, co-founded a group that seeks to educate students about their rights under Title IX.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 11:47 am

For Georgetown University freshmen, orientation this week included a new activity: mandatory small-group discussions on sexual assault.

"For a lot of the kids, this might be the first time they ever actually talk about sexual assault or what consent means in an environment with their peers," says Chandini Jha, a junior who helped lead several discussions and who's been pushing administrators to do this for two years.

Read more
Men In America
4:09 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

'You're Not Alone': Dads Who Blog Redefine Modern Fatherhood

Brent Almond with his 4-year-old son, Jon. Almond began blogging several years ago to review kids' products, but soon found that he got more satisfaction from chronicling daily life as a father.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 8:02 pm

When graphic designer Brent Almond adopted a son a few years ago, he was struck — like so many new parents — by the steep learning curve, the sheer hard work of parenting and the overwhelming array of kiddie stuff he found himself having to buy.

So he launched a blog, Designer Daddy, to review products for their aesthetic value. But he soon found he got far more out of chronicling daily life as a father.

Read more
Men In America
3:48 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

More Dads Want Paternity Leave. Getting It Is A Different Matter

Kumar Chandran and Elanor Starmer with their son, Kailas Chandran. The couple's friends are envious of Chandran's paid paternity leave.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 9:14 pm

After nearly four weeks at home with his infant son, Kumar Chandran has the diaper thing down.

"Shhh, almost done," he says, hunching over Kai on the living room floor of their Washington, D.C., townhouse, while his wife, Elanor Starmer, tries to placate the fussy baby.

Chandran says there was no question he wanted to be home at this time. The nonprofit he works for offers four weeks of paid parental leave — the same for men and for women. He says this has let him bond with his son and pick up on subtle cues.

Read more
War On Poverty, 50 Years Later
7:06 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

To Break Cycle Of Child Poverty, Teaching Mom And Dad To Get Along

Brittiny Spears, 26, is not with the father of her daughter, Zykeiria, 4. "He just still wanted to go out and party and be a little boy," Spears says.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:52 am

After a half-century of the War on Poverty, an anti-poverty agency in Ohio has concluded that decades of assistance alone just hasn't changed lives. Instead, it says, the ongoing breakdown of the family is to blame.

"You're seeing the same people come year after year, and in some cases generation to generation. And so then you think, why is that happening?" says Jennifer Jennette, program manager of the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties in Ohio.

Read more
Law
5:21 am
Tue July 1, 2014

High Court's Contraception Ruling Draws Strong Reactions

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:24 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now we get your reaction to both the Supreme Court decisions - first, to the ruling that some businesses can cite religion to opt out of covering contraceptives under the new health care law. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: In Chicago, a few dozen abortion rights opponents gathered to celebrate the decision as a victory for religious liberty. Emily Zender is with Illinois Rights Alive.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:01 am
Thu June 19, 2014

U.S. Plan To House Immigrant Kids In Tiny Va. Town Rattles Residents

St. Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Va., closed last year, but recently struck a deal to lease campus buildings to the federal government. The rent would allow the college to remain open — though not for education — and would provide funds to cut grass, staff guards, issue transcripts and allow the college to find a buyer.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:01 am

The influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children to the U.S. has sparked a controversy in an unlikely place far from the U.S.-Mexico border: a tiny town in southern Virginia.

The federal government had struck a deal to house some of the migrants in an empty college in Lawrenceville, in the heart of Virginia's tobacco belt. The first busload was expected as early as Thursday, but a local backlash has put the plan on hold.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:01 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

White House Hosts Discussion On Role Of Working Fathers

New York Mets' Daniel Murphy slides to score in a game against San Francisco on Sunday. Murphy, who spoke at a White House discussion on Monday, was heavily criticized earlier this year for missing the first two games of the season to be on hand for the birth of his son.
Ben Margot AP

New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy headlined a White House discussion on working fathers today, nine weeks after an uproar over his decision to miss the first two games of the season for the birth of his first child.

The event is part of the administration's push for more workplace flexibility and paid parental leave as it prepares for a Summit on Working Families later this month.

Read more

Pages