Kelly McEvers

After many years in the Middle East, Kelly McEvers is back home and working as a national correspondent based at NPR West. She previously ran NPR's Beirut bureau, where she earned a George Foster Peabody award, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, a Gracie award, and an Overseas Press Club mention for her 2012 coverage of the Syrian conflict. She recently made a radio documentary about being a war correspondent with renowned radio producer Jay Allison of

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns followed the early euphoria of protests. She has been tear-gassed in Bahrain; she has spent a night in a tent city with a Yemeni woman who would later share the Nobel Peace Prize; and she spent weeks inside Syria with anti-government rebels known as the Free Syrian Army.

In Iraq, she covered the final withdrawal of U.S. troops and the political chaos that gripped the country afterward. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In 2008 and 2009, McEvers was part of a team that produced the award-winning "Working" series for American Public Media's business and finance show, Marketplace. She profiled a war fixer in Beirut, a smuggler in Dubai, a sex-worker in Baku, a pirate in the Strait of Malacca and a marriage broker in Vietnam.

She previously covered the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia as a freelancer for NPR and other outlets. She started her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, where she worked as a metro reporter and documented the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

Her writing also has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Monthly, Slate and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has aired on This American Life, The World, and the BBC. She's taught radio and journalism in the U.S. and abroad.

She lives with her family in California, where she's still very bad at surfing.


5:59 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Where Activists See Gray, Albuquerque Police See Black And White

Protesters gather outside the Albuquerque Police Department following the shooting deaths of James Boyd and others on March 25. The Justice Department accused the police of engaging in a pattern of excessive force.
Rita Daniels NPR

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 11:54 am

To understand the tension between the cops and some people in Albuquerque, you have to go back to a Tuesday in April.

It was after the Justice Department had accused the Albuquerque police of engaging in a pattern of excessive force. In March, a homeless camper named James Boyd was shot and killed. Then a 19-year-old woman was killed.

Music teacher Caro Acuna Olvera was eating dinner when a friend called her with the news.

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Men In America
5:29 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

After Factory Layoffs, Struggling To Stay On The Economic Ladder

Lynn Eldredge works as a facilities manager for several fast-food restaurants in Utah. At 50, he has no benefits and no retirement savings.
Courtesy of Lynn Eldredge

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 1:51 pm

Lynn Eldredge has worked hard for the past three decades. But somehow, it's still not quite enough.

Eldredge started his working life in the Air Force, and eventually found a steady job in a factory in Kansas. But then, in 2000, he was laid off — and has had six different jobs since then.

Over the past several decades in the U.S., wages have stayed flat or even gone down, while the cost of living has gone up. Economists say that's because jobs went overseas, technology replaced human labor and labor unions have seen their influence decline.

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Around the Nation
5:03 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

At Venice Beach, Rich, Poor And Middle Class Coexist

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:51 am

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4:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Tommy Ramone, Co-Founder Of The Ramones, Dies At 65

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 6:30 pm

Tommy Ramone, born Tom Erdelyi, has died at age 65. The drummer was the last living member of the legendary punk band he helped create.

Men In America
5:52 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

On Calif. Cattle Ranch, Students Wrangle With Meaning Of Manhood

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:39 pm

For All Things Considered's "Men in America" series, NPR's Kelly McEvers sent this report on Deep Springs College — the all-male college that her husband attended, and where he and McEvers have both taught.

About a hundred years ago, a man named L.L. Nunn was building power plants in the American West. He wanted a place where workers could be educated — and educated people could do work.

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The Two-Way
4:34 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Pentagon Decides To Dig Up Remains Of Long-Lost Soldier

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 4:48 pm

After years of refusing to act, the U.S. military has decided to disinter the possible grave of Pvt. Arthur "Bud" Kelder, a POW from World War II who is buried anonymously in an American war cemetery in the Philippines.

Military officials also plan to disinter the remains of 10 other men in the same unmarked grave, says Navy Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost, a Defense Department spokeswoman. Derrick-Frost did not say what led the Pentagon to change its stance.

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4:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Are Life Spans Getting Longer? It Depends On How Wealthy You Are

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:07 pm

While life expectancies are getting longer for those who are well off, life spans for poor women are actually getting shorter. The stories of two women, from two very different places, illustrate the reasons for the gap.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



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5:08 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Farm Workers' Low Wages Hinder San Joaquin Valley's Economy

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 11:09 am



OK, that's the national picture. Let's zoom in on a region that stands out for its high unemployment, Central California's San Joaquin Valley. NPR's Kelly McEvers went to find out why it's so hard to get a job amid some of the most productive farmland on earth.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Employment Development Department, work force services.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: It's first thing in the morning. And people are calling and lining up to sign up for unemployment benefits and look for jobs.

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5:11 am
Mon June 2, 2014

17 Primary Candidates Vie For Rep. Henry Waxman's Seat

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:48 am

When the Democrat from Southern California announced his retirement earlier this year, he opened up a seat that had been occupied for decades. The top-two vote getters will face off in November.

3:31 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Albuquerque Police Face Federal Scrutiny, Local Outrage

Kenneth Ellis II and family members of people shot by Albuquerque police officers hold a news conference on May 8.
Juan Antonio Labreche AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 9:40 am

Kenneth Ellis III was shot and killed by police in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Albuquerque, N.M.

He is among the dozens of people local police have shot over the last four years, 25 of whom have died. The U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report in April saying Albuquerque police have a pattern of excessive force that violates the Constitution.

Investigations and policy changes are in the works, while families of those who have been shot argue more needs to be done.

Building Cases

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5:15 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Spouses Of H1B Visa Holders May Soon Be Able To Hold U.S. Jobs

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 11:55 am



With immigration reform a non-starter in Congress, those advocating reform have been urging the Obama administration to make changes on its own. And the first of those changes was announced this week. It involves the guest visa program known as H1B that allows highly skilled professionals from other countries to come to work in the U.S. The change would allow nearly 100,000 spouses of H1B visa holders to work as well. NPR's Kelly McEvers has the story.

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NPR News Investigations
10:19 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Pentagon Reorganizing How It Brings Home America's War Dead

The Central Identification Laboratory of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Pentagon announced that it will overhaul how the organization finds, identifies and returns the remains of thousands of service members lost in past wars.
Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 8:23 am

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced an overhaul Monday of the agencies responsible for finding, identifying, and returning the remains of servicemen lost in past wars.

The Pentagon spends more than $100 million a year on the effort, but last year only identified 60 of the more than 80,000 missing.

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4:33 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Hoping To Slim POW-MIA Bureaucracy, Hagel Makes One Out Of Two

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:08 pm

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the creation of a new defense agency charged with merging the multiple divisions currently responsible for finding and identifying the more than 80,000 members missing from past conflicts. A five-month investigation by NPR and the independent news agency ProPublica had found the U.S. recovery effort to be slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods.

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Latin America
5:05 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Deportees To Mexicali Wait For Another Chance To Cross Into U.S.

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:18 pm



This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. With Linda Wertheimer, I'm David Greene.


And I'm Steve Inskeep.

It was the middle of a sunny day when our road trip along the U.S.-Mexico border led us to one of the driest regions we'd seen.


INSKEEP: For a moment there, the landscape made our producer, Selena Simmons-Duffin, think of "Lawrence of Arabia." We had sand dunes over sand dunes over sand dunes. But in that landscape was a slash of blue.

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4:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Capitol's Immigration Stagnation Gets Dreamers Moving On The Border

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 7:59 pm

With deportations at a record high under the Obama administration, and with immigration reform stalled in Congress, Dreamer protest groups are trying to keep the issue alive with actions of their own.

NPR News Investigations
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

U.S. Grave Science Marked By Risk Aversion And Bureaucracy

Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 11:02 am

In part two of a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica, we look at the agency charged with bringing home and identifying the 83,000 American war dead. It's stymied by an extreme aversion to risk. See the

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit


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NPR News Investigations
4:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Dated Methods Mean Slow Return For Fallen Soldiers — Or None At All

Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 10:20 am

The agency charged with bringing home and identifying American war dead is slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods, according to a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit


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Reporter's Notebook
3:04 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Dwindling Middle Class Has Repercussions For Small Towns

When reporter Kelly McEvers stepped off the train in Lincoln, Ill., she asked, "What happened to my hometown?"
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:23 pm

My parents moved away from Lincoln, Ill., two decades ago, when I was in college. I hardly ever get back there. But my mom still works in Lincoln, and it was to Lincoln I headed to meet her this fall, after returning to the U.S. from the Middle East.

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The Salt
6:16 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

In Iraq, Laying Claim To The Kebab

Many different Middle Eastern cultures claim to have invented the kebab.

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 9:54 pm

When you hear the word "kebab" in America, you might think of skewers with chunks of chicken or beef and vegetables, marinated and grilled on coals or gas. But say "kebab" in the Middle East, and it means a lot of things — chunks of lamb or liver on skewers, or the more popular version of grilled ground meat logs found in Turkey, Iran and much of the Arab world.

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3:19 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Al-Jazeera Under Fire For Its Coverage Of Egypt

Posters in Cairo show Al-Jazeera's logo in red with a bloody hand scratching at it. A bullet can kill a man, the poster says, but a lying camera can kill a nation.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 7:45 am

The past two weeks in Egypt have been a real test for the TV network Al-Jazeera. Accusations that the network is biased toward the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have resulted in arrests, threats and resignations.

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