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.


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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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



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.

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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.

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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.

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Around the Nation
6:28 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Stay-At-Home Dads On The Rise, And Many Of Them Are Poor

The number of fathers in the U.S. who stay at home with their children has nearly doubled since 1989.

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:38 am

The number of dads staying at home with their children has nearly doubled in the past two decades, and the diversity among them defies the stereotype of the highly educated young father who stays home to let his wife focus on her career.

A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that almost 2 million fathers are at home, up from 1.1 million in 1989. Nearly half of those men live in poverty.

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6:38 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Think Work Is Stressful? For Many, It's More Relaxing Than Home

Work can be rough, but a researcher has found that for many people, being at home is more stressful than being at the office.

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 7:10 pm

Many Americans say their jobs are stressful — we complain of too much to do in too little time, demanding bosses or difficult colleagues. But researcher Sarah Damaske wanted to know, objectively, is being at work any harder than being at home?

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1:17 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?

British Library of Political and Economic Science Flickr

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 10:21 am

Harry Potter and The Hunger Games haven't been big hits for nothing. Lots of teens and adolescents still read quite a lot.

But a roundup of studies, put together by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, shows a clear decline over time. Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that.

That's way down from a decade ago.

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9:52 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Present But Not There: Ruling Supports Telecommuting

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 12:33 pm



Working from home used to be an exception. Technology's changed that. And now an appeals court has ruled that being at work doesn't always require you to physically have to be at work. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

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Around the Nation
5:15 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

If You Want Flextime But Are Afraid To Ask, Consider Moving

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:23 am

More companies than ever before say that they're offering flexible hours or telecommuting to their workers. Still, San Francisco and the state of Vermont are trying a new approach to push businesses to do more: They're using the law.

Starting this year, employees in both places have the right to ask for a flexible or predictable work schedule, without fear of retaliation.

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Your Money
4:59 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Outdated Tax Code Gives Some Working Spouses A Bad Deal

The U.S. tax code, which dates back to the days of Ozzie and Harriet, works against dual-income spouses. In some cases, it's cheaper for one spouse to stay home.
Sherry Yates

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 10:07 am

Women today are nearly half the workforce, and two-income couples are the norm. But the U.S. tax code? It's straight out of Ozzie and Harriet.

When it comes to paying taxes, economists say, a lot of secondary wage-earners are getting a raw deal. It's called the marriage penalty.

"The system was never designed to penalize working spouses," says Melissa Kearney, director of the Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution. "It was just designed in a different era."

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Around the Nation
4:30 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

The Lives And Loves Left Behind By Fort Hood Victims

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 6:18 pm



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


And I'm Robert Siegel. The family of the Fort Hood shooter released a statement today saying Ivan Lopez must not have been in his right mind. The statement asks for prayers for those affected by Wednesday's shooting. This afternoon, Fort Hood Commander Mark Milley identified the three people who were killed. Their families have been speaking out as they mourn their loved ones. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

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The Changing Lives Of Women
3:28 am
Mon March 31, 2014

When Planning For The Future, Women Have Been Hands Off

In Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett plays a wealthy New York socialite who has it all, loses it all and ends up delusional on a park bench.
Perdido Productions

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:46 pm

It's a truism in the financial industry that women need to get more out of their money than men since they live longer and make less, especially if they take time out to care for children or aging parents. But it's also a given that they lack confidence when it comes to investing, something that's clear on a recent evening at the Women's Center in Vienna, Va.

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Around the Nation
4:36 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Rural Appalachia Helps Some Women Save For Retirement

Anita Wallace runs a child care service in rural Athens County, Ohio. She hadn't saved much for retirement before the Appalachian Savings Project offered to match half of her savings up to $600.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:22 pm

Anita Wallace has run a day care in her home in rural Athens County, Ohio, for eight years. The schedule is more family-friendly than when she logged 60 hours a week as a manager at Wal-Mart, and the pay is about $27,000 a year — not bad for the area.

Wallace adores the children, getting down on the floor to let toddlers snuggle on her shoulder. But Wallace, 40, and her husband, 47, also have three of their own kids to raise.

"They're very expensive!" she says, laughing, as her own children — two still live at home — inform her of the new track uniforms they need.

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