Margot Adler

Margot Adler is a NPR correspondent based in NPR's New York Bureau. Her reports can be heard regularly on All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

In addition to covering New York City, Adler reports include in-depth features exploring the interface of politics and culture. Most recently she has been reporting on the controversy surrounding the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero. Other recent pieces have focused on the effect of budget cuts on education, flood relief efforts by the Pakistani community in the United States, the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and the battles over the September 11th memorial as well as the continuing human story in New York City in the years since the attacks. Her reporting has included topics such as the death penalty, affirmative action and the culture wars.

Adler did the first American radio interview with J.K. Rowling and has charted the Harry Potter phenomenon ever since. Her reporting ranges across issues including children and technology, the fad of the Percy Jackson books and the popularity of vampires. She occasionally reviews books, covers plays, art exhibitions and auctions, among other reports for NPR's Arts desk.

From 1999-2008, Adler was the host of NPR's Justice Talking, a weekly show exploring constitutional controversies in the nation's courts.

Adler joined the NPR staff as a general assignment reporter in 1979, after spending a year as an NPR freelance reporter covering New York City. In 1980, she documented the confrontation between radicals and the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1984, she reported and produced an acclaimed documentary on AIDS counselors in San Francisco. She covered the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988 and in Sarajevo in 1984. She has reported on homeless people living in the subways, on the state of the middle class and on the last remaining American hospital for treating leprosy, which was located in Louisiana.

From 1972 to 1990, Adler created and hosted live talk shows on WBAI-FM/New York City. One of those shows, Hour of the Wolf, hosted by Jim Freund, continues as a science fiction show to this day. She is the author of the book, Drawing Down the Moon, a study of contemporary nature religions, and a 1960's memoir, Heretic's Heart. She co-produced an award-winning radio drama, War Day, and is a lecturer and workshop leader. She is currently working on a book on why vampires have such traction in our culture.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, Adler went on to earn a Master of Science degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York in 1970. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1982.

The granddaughter of Alfred Adler, the renowned Viennese psychiatrist, Adler was born in Little Rock, Ark., and grew up in New York City. She loves birding and science fiction.

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Health
4:58 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

NYC Mayor's Campaign Against Teen Pregnancy Widely Criticized

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 6:43 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is no stranger to controversy. His effort to scale back sugary soft drinks was struck down by a judge and we're going to hear now about another health campaign that's got him on the defensive. This one is an effort to reduce teen pregnancy, as NPR's Margot Adler reports.

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Law
4:07 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Once On Death Row, He Now Fights To Defeat The Death Penalty

Kirk Bloodsworth was the first person in the U.S. to be exonerated by DNA evidence after receiving the death sentence. Convicted in 1985 of the rape and murder of a young girl, he was released in 1993.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 7:35 pm

Maryland is about to become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.

A bill has passed the state Senate and is expected to pass the House of Delegates easily with the governor's ardent support. The strongest advocate to end the death penalty in Maryland is Kirk Bloodsworth, who was convicted of murder in that state in 1985 and was the first person in the U.S. to be sentenced to death row then exonerated by DNA evidence.

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Remembrances
5:32 pm
Sat February 9, 2013

For Longtime Central Park Birder, Walks 'Heightened Joys Of Life'

Saphir leads a bird walk in Central Park during spring migration last year.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 10:29 am

Legendary birder Starr Saphir died this week at the age of 73, after an 11-year battle with metastatic breast cancer. She led walks in New York's Central Park for some 30 years and enriched so many city lives.

I could never keep up with Starr Saphir. Even when her bones were fragile and you couldn't jostle her, and she stopped to rest several times during a walk to take pain medication, her walks could last five hours.

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Around the Nation
6:24 am
Sat February 9, 2013

NYC Labor Chorus Tries To Hit Right Note, Attract New Voices

The New York City Labor Chorus performs in 2011 at the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Old Havana.
Courtesy of NYCLC

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 5:15 pm

Union membership is at its lowest point since the 1930s. New figures show a drop, and only about 11 percent of workers belong to unions today.

But these numbers don't deter the New York City Labor Chorus, which has been singing in praise of unions for more than 20 years.

Jana Ballard, the choral director of the labor chorus, is one of the youngest in the group. She's 38. The average age of the 80 members is about 65.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:29 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Federal Aid For Religious Institutions In Murky Waters After Sandy

Torahs are draped on chairs and tables at Temple Israel of Long Beach, N.Y. The synagogue was flooded during Superstorm Sandy, but hasn't received federal aid.
Temple Israel

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 8:57 pm

More than 200 houses of worship damaged in Superstorm Sandy have applied for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But given the separation of church and state, it's unclear whether federal funds are available to them.

The sanctuary of Temple Israel of Long Beach, N.Y., was flooded with more than 10 feet of saltwater in some places, says Rabbi David Bauman.

"Roughly 5 to 7 feet [of water] in most, and there were surges — particularly in our mechanical room — that went upwards of 12 to 14 feet," he says.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
5:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

In Lower Manhattan, Sandy Still Keeping Businesses Dark

People walk past a closed business affected by Hurricane Sandy in the heavily damaged South Street Seaport in New York City in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

When compared with its neighbors Coney Island and the Rockaways, Manhattan seemed hardly touched by the waters and winds of Superstorm Sandy in late October. But almost three months later, areas of lower Manhattan are still laboring to recover.

Earlier this month, a museum devastated by Sandy finally reopened. About 800 people packed the lobby and upstairs galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan as Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the crowd.

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World
6:35 am
Wed January 9, 2013

U.N. Agency Watches Out For Domestic Workers

The International Labor Organization, the U.N. agency that deals with labor issues, has released a report on the growing number of domestic workers around the globe, and their lack of legal and worker protections. There are almost 53 million domestic workers and 83 percent are women. They have often been ignored by policy makers.

Around the Nation
4:50 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

New York City Real Estate Market One Of Few Thriving

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Over the past few years, New York City has fared better in this rocky economy than many American cities. A recent report by the Real Estate Board of New York says homes sales are up 6 percent. And NPR's Margot Adler reports that in two boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens, sales are back to pre-recession levels.

MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: So this house is on the market. It's not - it hasn't been sold yet.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: It hasn't been sold yet.

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Books
4:29 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Thousands Line Up For Rare Rowling Appearance

J.K. Rowling promotes her new novel, The Casual Vacancy, at Lincoln Center in New York. It was her only U.S. appearance.
Dan Hallman AP

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:09 pm

While much of America was watching the second presidential debate, about 2,000 people — many of them between the ages of 20 and 40 — were doing something very different. They had gotten a rare and prized ticket to the only U.S. appearance by J.K Rowling, as she promotes her new book for adults, The Casual Vacancy.

The crowd was huge but happy — double the number originally planned, forcing the organizers to change venues. Attendees got a ticket to the Lincoln Center event and a copy of the book, which Rowling would later sign.

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