Luis Clemens

Luis Clemens is NPR's senior editor for diversity. He works across the newsroom to build a broad foundation of diverse experts and sources in order to enhance NPR's news coverage.

In this position, Clemens is also part of NPR's Diversity team and is active partner in training initiatives at NPR and across public radio - helping to strengthen local coverage by expanding the range of content, sources, ideas and expertise.

Before joining NPR in 2010, Clemens was a frequent guest on NPR's programs, often interviewed about Latino voters.

Clemens began his career in journalism at the local Telemundo and NBC television stations in Miami. In 1993, he began working at CNN as an assignment editor. Three years later he was promoted to Buenos Aires bureau chief.

Following CNN, he went on to be a spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme in Zimbabwe.

Before re-starting a career in journalism and coming to NPR, Clemens owned and operated two laundromats in Xalapa, Mexico.

Code Switch
3:16 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Got Bulgogi? The (Maybe True) Story Behind A 'New York Times' Ad

This ad was published in The New York Times on Wednesday.
Via The New York Times

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 5:25 pm

Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? All are standard questions, but: "Bulgogi?"

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Code Switch
9:26 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

When The Beat Was Born: Hip-Hop's Big Bang Becomes A Kid's Book

Theodore Taylor III was given an award by the American Library Association for his artwork in When The Beat Was Born, a children's book about hip-hop's origins.
Roaring Brook Press

By now, the origin story is pretty well-known. Back in the early 1970s, a crew of kids of color in the South Bronx threw a bunch of parties where they plugged their turntables and their huge, 6-foot speakers into streetlight posts. They took the breakbeats from popular dance songs and rhymed aloud over them. Those parties were, in effect, hip-hop's genesis.

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Code Switch
6:37 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Zoinks! Tracing The History Of 'Zombie' From Haiti To The CDC

A still from the 1943 film I Walked With A Zombie.
RKO The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:14 am

Each week, we take a look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story. You can see past "Word Watch" entries here.

"Who doesn't like zombies?"

That was the subject line of an email blast that landed in my inbox recently from a major online retailer as it announced it was "bringing their Black Friday deals back to life."

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Code Switch
2:43 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

A Couch Divided Over U.S.-Mexico Soccer Match

Fans wave the flags of Mexico and the United States before a friendly soccer match in Philadelphia in 2011. The match ended in a 1-1 tie.
Tom Mihalek AP

Tonight, my wife and I will argue. There will be hurt feelings. She knows it. I know it.

I live in a mixed-status family. My wife roots for the Mexican national soccer team. I root for the USA. My oldest child sides with her mother in this debate, and we are all still working on the youngest.

The U.S. national team and their Mexican counterparts take the field tonight in Columbus, Ohio, for a crucial match. Defeat could cement Mexico's downfall and shut it out of next year's World Cup. The situation of the U.S. team is only a little less dire.

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Code Switch
9:20 am
Tue September 10, 2013

'Instructions Not Included' Also Skimps On Laughs

"[Instructions Not Included] manages to be an artistic failure and a commercial success at the same time, the latter because it taps a Latino audience that has been overlooked."
Pantelion Films

I paid $10.50 to go see Instructions Not Included on a weekday afternoon. I was robbed.

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Code Switch
11:38 am
Thu August 8, 2013

How I Learned To Swear In Cuban

Guillermo Álvarez Guedes, the Cuban comic who made a common Cuban expletive his trademark, died last week in Miami at age 86.
Gaston De Cardenas/El Nuevo Herald MCT via Getty Images

Editor's note: Fair warning — this essay is, in part, about Spanish profanities, and it includes several.

The man who taught me to swear in Cuban died last week.

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Mon July 29, 2013

More About The 40-Year-Old Picture That Makes People Smile

This 1973 photo of five children playing in a Detroit suburb has gone viral on the Internet. The children were Rhonda Shelly, 3 (from left), Kathy Macool, 7, Lisa Shelly, 5, Chris Macool, 9, and Robert Shelly, 6.
Joe Crachiola Courtesy of The Macomb Daily

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 9:13 am

About 10 days ago, we posted a story about an almost 40 year-old photo that was taken by Joseph Crachiola. A former news photographer in the Detroit suburb of Mount Clemens, Mich., Crachiola had happened upon five children playing not far from his newsroom at the Macomb Daily and shot the above photo.

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Code Switch
11:05 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Another Neighbor Of Rescued Cleveland Women Says He Helped

Angel Cordero
Courtesy of WEWS/

Charles Ramsey became famous overnight for his role in helping rescue Amanda Berry from the Cleveland house where she and two other abducted women were held for nearly a decade.

But Charles Ramsey did not act alone. He may not have even been the first to offer help. Angel Cordero, another neighbor, claims he arrived there before Ramsey and forced open the door.

Mr. Cordero was interviewed in Spanish by Stephanie Ramirez of the ABC station in Cleveland:

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Code Switch
2:43 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

As America's Latino Population Grows, Will Spanish Thrive In The U.S.?

Actors Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, and actresses Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez attend a Universal Pictures presentation to promote their upcoming film "Fast & Furious 6."
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:11 pm

Vin Diesel speaks lousy Spanish. No surprise, that. So why then was he invited to hand out a music award at the Premios Billboard and why did he say Sí to the invitation when it seems that's about all he can say in Spanish?

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Code Switch
4:56 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

La Gran Diva: Remembering Sara Montiel

The Spanish actress Sara Montiel during the filming of the movie "La mujer perdida", 1966, Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Spain. (Photo by Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images).
Gianni Ferrari Getty Images

Sara Montiel, the great Spanish actress and singer, has died at age 85.

The Miami Herald published a feature about her in 1996 that neatly encapsulates her appeal:

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

¡No Más! 'Back To Blood' Is Much Too Much

Little, Brown and Company

It took cojones for Tom Wolfe to write about Miami for his latest novel, Back to Blood. In the "Republic of Fluba" where Florida, Cuba and the rest of Latin America are shaken and mezclado, truth trumps fiction each day of every year. This is the city where, a few months ago, a man ate another man's face on a downtown causeway in broad daylight. Police shot and killed the wannabe zombie.

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