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."

Pages

Arts & Life
2:22 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

LA County Museum Of Art Presents Last Sculpture By Chris Burden

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 6:26 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Performance artist and sculptor Chris Burden died last week of cancer. He was 69. Today, his final completed work opens to the public at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

Read more
The Record
1:26 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 4:45 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.

Read more
Remembrances
1:54 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

From Stadiums To Shelters: Remembering Pritzker Winner Frei Otto

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 7:40 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 9:58 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.

Read more
Movies
7:41 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/.

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.

Read more
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/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages