Mandalit del Barco

As a general assignment correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco has reported and produced radio stories and photographed everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR. Her news reports, feature stories and photos filed from Los Angeles and abroad can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, alt.latino and npr.org.

Her reporting has taken her throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Miami. Reporting further afield as well, del Barco traveled to Haiti to report on the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. She chronicled street gangs exported from the U.S. to El Salvador and Honduras and went to Mexico to report about immigrant smugglers, musicians, filmmakers and artists. In Argentina, del Barco profiled on tango legend Carlos Gardel and in the Philippines she reported a feature on balikbayan boxes and has Reporting from China, del Barco contributed to NPR's coverage of the United Nations' Women's Conference. She spent a year in Peru working on a documentary and teaching radio journalism as a Fulbright Fellow and on a fellowship with the Knight International Center For Journalists.

In addition to reporting daily stories, del Barco has created half-hour radio documentaries about gangs in Central America, Latino hip hop, L.A. Homegirls, artist Frida Kahlo, New York's Palladium ballroom and Puerto Rican "Casitas.” She has served as a guest host on Latino USA and Tell Me More.

Before moving to Los Angeles, del Barco was a reporter for NPR Member station WNYC in New York City. She started her radio career on the production staff of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon. However her first taste for radio came as a teenager, when she and her brother won an award for an NPR children’s radio contest.

del Barco's reporting experience extends into newspaper and magazines. She served on the staffs of The Miami Herald and The Village Voice and has done freelance reporting. She has written articles for Latina magazine and reported for the weekly radio show Latino USA.

Stories written by del Barco have appeared in several books including "Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share their Holiday Memories" (Vintage Books) and "Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember their Mothers” (Vintage Books). del Barco contributed to an anthology on rap music and hip hop culture in the book, “Droppin’ Science” (Temple University Press).

Peruvian writer Julio Villanueva Chang profiled del Barco’s life and career for the book “Se Habla Espanol: Voces Latinas en USA.” (Alfaguara press)

She mentors young journalists through NPR's "Next Generation", Global Girl, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and on her own throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

A fourth generation journalist, del Barco was born in Lima, Peru, to a Peruvian father and Mexican-American mother. She grew up in Baldwin, Kansas, and in Oakland, California, and has lived in Manhattan, Madrid, Miami, Lima and Los Angeles. She began her journalism career as a reporter, columnist and editor for the Daily Californian while studying anthropology and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University with her thesis, "Breakdancers: Who are they, and why are they spinning on their heads?"

For those who are curious where her name comes from, "Mandalit" is the name of a woman in a song from Carmina Burana, a musical work from the 13th century put to music in the 20th century by composer Carl Orff. The guys from Car Talk also pay homage to her in their phony end credits as "inventory manager Mandalit del Barcode."

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Code Switch
4:05 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Does Disney's Tonto Reinforce Stereotypes Or Overcome Them?

Johnny Depp says that with his portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger, he tried to "right the wrongs of what had been done with regards to the representation of Native Americans in cinema."
Disney

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 1:00 pm

The Lone Ranger has long been a fictional hero, taming the Wild West with his trusty Indian guide, Tonto. The faithful companion helps the white man fight bad guys, and does so speaking in pidgin English.

Tonto made his first appearance on the radio in the 1930s, voiced by a non-Native American actor, John Todd. In the series, Western settlers face down what they call "redskins" and "savages." And trusty Tonto is always on hand to interpret the smoke signals.

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Monkey See
8:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Telemundo's 'La Voz' Hands Latino Kids The Mic

Paola Guanche debuted with Adele's "Turning Tables."
Courtesy Telemundo

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:34 am

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Music News
3:16 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Spotlighting Background Singers In 'Twenty Feet From Stardom'

Darlene Love, one of the background singers featured in Twenty Feet From Stardom, didn't receive credit for singing hits in the 1950s and '60s and says her career was derailed by legendary producer Phil Spector.
Radius/TWC

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 10:22 am

Twenty Feet from Stardom, filmmaker Morgan Neville's new documentary, is a reminder that most of pop music's catchiest hooks, riffs and refrains were sung by voices harmonizing in the background. Neville says he wanted to put backup singers — black, female and honed in church — front and center.

"I was really more interested in people who were voices for hire," he says, "who were able to walk into sessions never knowing what they had to do and could bring it."

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Music
2:01 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Jose-Luis Orozco: Capturing Kids' Attention In Two Languages

José-Luis Orozco is as much an educator as an entertainer: The singer and author is passionate about teaching children to be bilingual through music.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 1:49 pm

For the past 42 years, José-Luis Orozco has been entertaining children with songs he sings in English and Spanish. He's passionate about teaching children to be bilingual through music, and he's also written books for kids.

"Let's say hello to each other," he says to a crowd of preschoolers at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. "Buenos días," he sings.

"Buenos días," they repeat in unison.

"Good morning," he sings back.

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The Record
3:15 am
Tue May 21, 2013

The Doors' Keyboard Counterpoint Goes Silent: Remembering Ray Manzarek

Ray Manzarek (far right) stands with fellow members of The Doors Jim Morrison (from right), Robby Krieger and John Densmore in 1968. Manzarek died Monday in Germany. He was 74.
Express Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 1:43 pm

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Arts & Life
3:06 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Nostalgia For Sale As Captain Kangaroo's Pals Are Auctioned Off

More than 500 items from the Captain Kangaroo show — including Dancing Bear's life-sized costume.
Nate D. Sanders Auction House

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 10:38 am

The classic children's show Captain Kangaroo aired on TV for nearly 30 years, starting in 1955. After its creator and star, Bob Keeshan, died in 2004, his estate donated a few of his beloved hand puppets to the Smithsonian.

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Music News
12:03 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Draco Rosa: A Pop Survivor Returns From The Brink, With Friends

Former bandmates Draco Rosa and Ricky Martin, seen here on stage at Univision's 2013 Premio Lo Nuestro awards celebration, reunite on Rosa's new album, Vida.
John Parra Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 7:47 pm

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Television
5:45 am
Fri May 10, 2013

How Does NBC Plan To Climb Back Up Ratings Ladder

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 8:10 am

NBC was once must-see TV. Now, the network's ratings have slipped behind Spanish Language TV. What happened to this once mighty TV network?

Remembrances
4:59 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Mouseketeer Annette Funicello Dies At 70

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 9:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Annette Funicello was the most popular member of the original 1950's "Mickey Mouse Club" television series. She's also remembered for starring in 1960s beach party movies. Funicello died yesterday at the age of 70, after decades of fighting multiple sclerosis.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco remembers her freshly-scrubbed public image.

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Monkey See
5:22 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

A Tip Of The Mouse Ears To Annette Funicello, 1942-2013

The American actress and singer Annette Funicello, photographed here circa 1960, died April 8, more than two decades after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Henry Gris, FPG Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 9:59 pm

Now it's time to say goodbye to former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The singer, dancer and actress died April 8 at the age of 70, having battled multiple sclerosis for more than two decades.

Throughout her career, she was devoted to Walt Disney, who famously discovered her during a Swan Lake dance recital when she was just 12 years old.

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Business
5:14 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Visual Effects Firms Miss Out On Films Financial Success

Guillaume Rocheron, Bill Westenhofer, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott at the 85th Annual Academy Awards in February. Rhythm & Hues Studios, the company that produced the effects for winning film Life of Pi, recently declared bankruptcy.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 5:20 pm

Hollywood studios are demanding more and more visual effects to make blockbuster films. But the artists who create this movie magic are protesting that they and their entire industry are in deep financial trouble. Even the most celebrated visual-effects companies face the risk of going under, and there are calls to revamp the way they do business.

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Movies
4:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Will 'Oz The Great And Powerful' Gain Emerald Status?

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

"The Wizard of Oz" means to a lot of people, a young Judy Garland in sparkly ruby slippers. But in the hundred years since L. Frank Baum wrote the Oz stories, they, or stories featuring Oz characters, have been produced dozens of times. The latest, a prequel that opens in theaters this weekend, called "Oz the Great and Powerful."

NPR's Mandalit Del Barco has more.

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Television
5:16 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Spanish-Language Network Univision Ranks 3rd In U.S. Ratings

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 5:41 am

The latest TV ratings are out and CBS captured the top spot with help from its Super Bowl broadcast. Last fall, NBC was No. 1 but now it's fourth. What's surprising is that Spanish-language network Univision has surpassed NBC's ratings.

Movies
9:11 am
Mon February 25, 2013

'Argo,' 'Life Of Pi' Win Top Oscars

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:26 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Okay. The movies "Argo" and "Life of Pi" and the actors Daniel Day Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence were among the winners at last night's Academy Awards. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco was backstage.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: It wasn't a Hollywood star who announced this year's Best Picture. That honor went to First Lady Michelle Obama via satellite from the White House.

MICHELLE OBAMA: And the Oscar goes to "Argo."

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Monkey See
8:48 am
Mon February 25, 2013

What You Didn't See At The Academy Awards

Actress Jennifer Lawrence stumbles as she walks on stage.
Chris Pizzelo AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 8:06 pm

NPR's Sam Sanders and Mandalit del Barco were backstage at the Oscars on Sunday, covering the awards show. They sat in the press room, where winners go for interviews during and after the show. Here's a roundup of what they saw that you didn't see, in senior superlative form.

Most Likely To Stand By Her Man Until The End Of All Natural Time: Jennifer Garner

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Movie Interviews
2:31 am
Fri February 15, 2013

The Story Of 'No' Is The Story Of Modern Chile

The bright colors and throwback feel of the Chilean drama No mask the very real political consequences of the 1988 plebiscite it depicts. (Pictured: Gael Garcia Bernal as Rene Saavedra)
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

The film No revisits the moment in Chile's history when 56 percent of the country voted to oust a dictator from power. It's the tale of the ad campaign that helped persuade Chileans to cast their ballots against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a national referendum.

"This is an epic story, the story of a triumph," says Director Pablo Larrain. "It's how they defeat a dictator — probably one of the biggest bastards that we ever had in humankind."

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The Record
3:29 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Why Al Walser Got A Grammy Nomination And Justin Bieber Didn't

Justin Bieber on stage in December. Bieber's 2012 album Believe, despite selling over 1,000,000 copies, wasn't nominated for a single Grammy Award.
Michael Kovac Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 4:49 pm

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Around the Nation
5:05 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

South L.A. Teens Doubt New Laws Will Change Gun Culture

Handguns collected in South-Central Los Angeles as part of a Gun for Gift Card exchange in 2009. One teenager here says getting a gun on the streets is just "one phone call away."
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:04 pm

On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation. This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common — and so are guns.

"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."

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Around the Nation
5:47 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Porn Industry Turned Off By L.A. Mandate For Condoms On Set

The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation says a county law requiring condom use at porn shoots is necessary to protect actors from sexually transmitted diseases.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 7:54 pm

In November, more than 1.5 million Los Angeles County voters passed the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. The new law orders porn actors to wear condoms during sex scenes.

"The porn industry has been sending a very bad message by saying the only kind of sex that's hot is unsafe," says Michael Weinstein, CEO of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which sponsored the measure.

Sitting in his office, just over the hills from the nation's porn film capital, Weinstein says the new law was meant to protect both performers and those who watch the movies.

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Movies
3:43 am
Thu October 4, 2012

From Tim Burton, Another Signature Lovable Loner

After his best friend and beloved dog dies, Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) decides to harness the power of mad science to bring Sparky back to life — albeit a little the worse for wear.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 10:19 am

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