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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Media
4:40 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Stories Behind This Year's Pulitzer Prize Winners

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Around the Nation
3:28 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Actors' Equity Minimum Wage Proposal Could Threaten LA's Small Theaters

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 5:16 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Record
2:26 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Percy Sledge Had A Voice The Whole World Heard

Percy Sledge performs in Montgomery, Ala., in 2010.
Rick Diamond Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 5:45 pm

Soul singer Percy Sledge epitomized Southern soul in ballads like "When A Man Loves A Woman," which became a massive international hit when it came out in 1966. Sledge died Tuesday morning of natural causes in East Baton Rouge, La. He was 74.

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Movies
3:40 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Kenneth Branagh Directs Live-Action Version Of 'Cinderella' For Disney

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Well, let's talk about Disney then. This weekend, it's looking to cast a spell with a new live-action version of its classic "Cinderella."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CINDERELLA")

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Remembrances
2:54 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

From Stadiums To Shelters: Remembering Pritzker Winner Frei Otto

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 8:40 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Movies
4:31 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

Movie Chains Balk At Netflix's Plan For Simultaneous Release

Idris Elba stars as an African warlord in the forthcoming film Beasts of No Nation. Netflix recently purchased distribution rights for the film for nearly $12 million.
Jac Cheairs Red Crown Productions/Participant Media/Netflix

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 10:58 am

Beasts of No Nation is the story of a West African child who is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters. Actor Idris Elba portrays a brutal warlord who recruits the child soldier.

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Movies
7:43 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Oscars Get Political, As Acceptance Speeches Wade Into Social Issues

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:02 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Movie Interviews
6:03 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Meet John Sloss, The Man Behind Some Of Your Favorite Indie Films

Sloss, pictured here at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, has been a key figure associated with independent films including The Fog of War, Little Miss Sunshine and Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 4:19 pm

It's not easy to get financing for independent films. And it's not easy to get them into movie theaters. But over the past few decades, John Sloss has succeeded in doing both, and has been a key player for indie filmmakers. He's an entertainment lawyer, a talent manager, a film sales agent and a producer of films including Boys Don't Cry, The Fog of War and Boyhood, which is up for a best picture Oscar on Sunday.

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Code Switch
4:30 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Sundance Festival Opens Doors For Minority Filmmakers

This year's Sundance Film Festival generated buzz for Dope, an indie film with an African-American director, Latino and Asian-American producers and starring a multicultural cast.
David Moir Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 1:18 pm

The Sundance Film Festival wrapped up last weekend. For more than two decades, the festival and the Sundance Institute have been a springboard for independent filmmakers. This year, two of its darlings — Boyhood and Whiplash — are nominated for an Academy Award in the best picture category.

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Law
3:14 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

'Suge' Knight Charged With Murder After Fatal Hit-And-Run

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 4:29 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Movies
2:01 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

New Technology Immerses Audiences At Sundance Film Festival

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 10:14 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Remembrances
4:02 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Remembering 'Generation Mex' Writer And Proud Outsider Michele Serros

Serros, pictured here in February 2014, got her big break as a college student in 1993.
Rachel Buchan AP

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 4:17 pm

When Michele Serros burst onto the literary scene in the 1990s, she was a new kind of Latina writer: She didn't speak much Spanish, she listened to ABBA and she was a vegan who liked to surf and skateboard. Her success as a writer, poet and comedic commentator made her an inspirational voice for Chicanas of her generation and beyond.

Serros, who Newsweek once hailed as a "Woman to Watch for the New Century," died of cancer Sunday at her home in Berkeley, Calif. She was 48 years old.

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Movie Interviews
1:27 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Satirizing Dictators Is Nothing New — Just Ask Charlie Chaplin

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:31 pm

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Around the Nation
3:20 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Hacking Of Sony's Computers Creates Much Drama

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:32 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Book News & Features
2:29 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Marvel At 75: Still Slinging Webs And Guarding Galaxies

Stan Lee — shown here in 2002 — helped create Marvel mainstays like Spider-Man and the Avengers.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 12:30 pm

Marvel Comics has provided some of Hollywood's biggest box-office characters ever: The Avengers, the X-Men, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Spider-Man, all starring in gargantuan special effects blockbusters.

And like every superhero, Marvel Comics has an origin story. It begins in New York City, in 1939.

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Color Decoded: Stories That Span The Spectrum
1:45 am
Thu November 13, 2014

How Kodak's Shirley Cards Set Photography's Skin-Tone Standard

For decades, Kodak's Shirley cards, like this one, featured only white models.
Kodak

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 7:45 am

Jersson Garcia works at Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood. He's 31 years old, and he's got a total crush on Shirley.

"Beautiful skin tones, beautiful eyes, great hair," he sighs. "She's gorgeous."

Garcia is holding a 4-by-6-inch photo of an ivory-faced brunette wearing a lacy, white, off-the-shoulders top. She has red lipstick and silver earrings, and the photo appears to have been taken sometime in the 1970s or '80s.

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Color Decoded: Stories That Span The Spectrum
3:41 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Sacred, Sad And Salacious: With Many Meanings, What Is True Blue?

Phil Stanton (from left), Chris Wink and Matt Goldman are the founders of the theatrical performance troupe Blue Man Group.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 7:49 pm

The color blue has meant a lot of things to a lot of different people. In medieval times, the Virgin Mary's cloak was often painted a celestial, pure, sacred blue. In the early 1900s, Pablo Picasso created somber blue paintings during a period of depression. The color has been championed by everyone from jazz musician Miles Davis and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell to the theatrical Blue Man Group.

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Movies
1:34 am
Thu August 21, 2014

A Maverick Director, At Home On The Range

Robert Rodriguez ventures into Hollywood for the premiere of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 11:07 am

Robert Rodriguez's newest film, Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, is about to hit theaters — it's a 3-D crime thriller based on Frank Miller's graphic novel series, laden with booze, broads and bullets.

But Rodriguez has also made comedic spaghetti Westerns, vampire flicks and four Spy Kids movies, about a young brother-sister duo of super sleuths — all from his home base in Austin, Texas.

He has been in and out of Hollywood recently, though, putting the finishing touches on Sin City 2.

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Book Your Trip
1:06 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Vroom, Vroom, Hmmmm: Motorcycles As Literary Metaphor

Biker Ron Hamberg says he's read Dickens, Twain and Gandhi's autobiography, but as for books about motorcycles, "I just ride 'em, I don't read about 'em."
Solvejg Wastvedt

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 10:28 am

Motorcycles provide an open road for literature — literally and figuratively. They're sometimes the dramatic device writers use to talk about many things: adventure, rebellion, even inner peace. But motorcycles aren't just a metaphor at Bartel's Harley-Davidson shop in Marina Del Rey, Calif. They're loud and shiny and very real.

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Business
3:07 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Amazon Relents: Begins Selling Rowling's 'Silkworm'

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 9:11 am

J.K. Rowling's new book, The Silkworm, has been caught up in Amazon's ongoing fight with publisher Hachette Book Group. Amazon has been delaying delivery on more than 5,000 of Hachette's titles

Law
2:06 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Settlement Brings An Early End To Apple's Price-Fixing Case

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 6:33 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

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Code Switch
5:43 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Ruby Dee: An Actress Who Marched On Washington And Onto The Screen

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee at the 1989 Cannes Festival for the showing of Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.
Courtesy of David Lee/All Rights Reserved

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 6:58 am

Born Ruby Ann Wallace in the early 1920s in Cleveland, actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee most identified with the part of New York City where she was raised.

"I don't know who I would be if I weren't this child from Harlem, this woman from Harlem. It's in me so deep," Dee told NPR's Tell Me More in 2007.

She died Wednesday of natural causes at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y., surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was 91.

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Business
3:24 am
Thu June 12, 2014

'Lego Movie' Caught In Amazon's Battle With Warner Home Video

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 7:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: We begin NPR's Business News with another Amazon standoff. Amazon, the giant online retailer, is in a battle with Warner Home Video. Amazon says it deserves a bigger piece of the pie, and until the company gets it it's refusing to sell Warner's forthcoming DVDs. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYTHING IS AWESOME")

TEGAN AND SARA: (Singing) Everything is awesome...

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: For fans of "The Lego Movie" hoping to order a DVD through Amazon, everything is not so awesome.

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Movies
2:08 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

'Nerdfighters' Mobilize For Film Premiere, Armed With Favorite Lines

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 5:18 pm

John Green's love story, The Fault in Our Stars, is a cult classic for young readers. The film adaptation comes out Friday, and excitement has reached a fever pitch among middle-schoolers obsessed with the book.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Author Interviews
2:16 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

In Hollywood, 50 Is The New 80: What Happens When 'It Girls' Get Old

Originally published on Sat May 31, 2014 8:56 pm

There's no shortage of "it girls" in Hollywood — there's 31-year-old Lupita Nyongo, 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, 21-year-old Shailene Woodley, and even 16-year-old Elle Fanning. But what will become of their careers when they're older?

The industry is notoriously young; acting roles for women often dry up by the time they're 40. And in her new book I See You Made an Effort, Annabelle Gurwitch shares "compliments, indiginities, and survival stories" from the other side of 50.

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Book News & Features
3:25 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Authors Angered Over Amazon's Dispute With Publisher Hachette

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've reached a moment that probably shouldn't surprise us when it comes to the modern publishing industry. A lot of people are addicted to buying books online using Amazon. But Amazon is now in a pricing dispute with the publisher Hachette. The online giant is refusing to accept orders for upcoming books from Hachette, which has a heavy-hitting roster of authors. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Some authors are furious at Amazon.

NINA LADEN: They don't really care. It's all about money.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:35 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

How Do You Get Latino Kids Into Classical Music? Bring The Parents

The 85 musicians in the Santa Cecilia Orchestra are paid professionals who play with other symphonies and in Hollywood studios.
Courtesy of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:53 am

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

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Business
3:21 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Calif. Gov. Brown Urged To Expand Tax Credits For Movie Industry

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:28 am

The state Assembly passed a bill to offer tax incentives to film and TV production companies. Big city mayors signed a letter in support, but it's not clear Gov. Jerry Brown will sign on.

Around the Nation
3:11 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Hollywood Protests Against Owners Of Beverly Hills Hotel

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 1:26 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A landmark hotel in Hollywood has become the focus of protest. The hotel is part of an international chain. The hotel chain is owned by the Sultan of Brunei. He's the ruler of a tiny Southeast Asian country that recently introduced a strict form of Islamic Sharia laws. Celebrities who once stayed in that Hollywood hotel say they cannot accept the politics of its owner.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "HOTEL CALIFORNIA")

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Book News & Features
2:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

A Film And Fashion Icon On Aging, And The Power Of Turtlenecks

Diane Keaton lives with her daughter and son in Los Angeles.
Ruven Afanador Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 6:07 pm

Actress Diane Keaton remains an icon, decades after her Oscar-winning performance in Annie Hall. At 68, she's a single mother of two, once romantically linked to some of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs and still starring in films. And she still rocks her trademark look: a bowler hat, tinted glasses, oversized clothes, scarves, gloves, long sleeves and boots — "Clothing that actually hides the body," she says. "There's a lot to hide in my case. I'm the only remaining person on earth with this particular look."

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