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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7:01am

Fri July 8, 2011
Around the Nation

Royal Couple To Visit Southern California

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visit Southern California this weekend. They'll hobnob with celebrities, meet veterans, inner-city children and attend a polo match.

4:37pm

Tue June 14, 2011
U.S.

Hate-Crime Arrests Signal 'Victory' For California City

Azusa is a small, working-class college city along the train tracks in the San Gabriel Valley, just 25 miles east of Los Angeles. Federal prosecutors say for years, the Varrio Azusa 13 gang has monopolized sales of cocaine, heroin and meth here.

"This gang has waged an insidious, two-decade campaign of violence, fueled not only by drug dealing but by racial animus and hatred," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte told reporters in L.A. "They had an edict dating back to 1992 to basically get rid of African-Americans from Azusa."

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6:41am

Tue June 7, 2011
Around the Nation

L.A. Worries About State's Plan To Reduce Inmates

Los Angeles is bracing for what happens when California releases more than 30,000 inmates from the state's prison system. The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered counties and other states to help ease state prison overcrowding, but L.A. jails already are well over capacity.

3:29pm

Wed May 18, 2011
Around the Nation

Is The L.A. Food Truck Bubble Ready To Burst?

Originally published on Wed May 18, 2011 5:03 pm

Long before the new wave of gourmet trucks came to Los Angeles, Raul Ortega started a taco truck in East Los Angeles called Mariscos Jalisco. Last year at the L.A. Street Food Fest, Ortega won "Best in Show" and the "People's Choice Award."
Mandalit del Barco/NPR

The gourmet food truck craze that started in Los Angeles may be reaching its peak. These days, hundreds of gourmet food trucks are roving the Los Angeles streets, selling everything from Korean tacos to grilled cheese sandwiches, Indian street food to $12 hamburgers.

"It seems like every day, you see a new truck on Twitter," says Matt Chernus, who co-owns Grill 'em All. "It's getting to the point where you've got to wonder if this city can really hold this many trucks. Once you start seeing a copycat of every truck, you're going to see a downward spiral."

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12:01am

Thu May 5, 2011
Arts & Life

New Cultural Center Celebrates L.A.'s Mexican Roots

Los Angeles has a Mexican-American mayor and the largest Latino population in the country. Now, it has a new museum and cultural center celebrating the city's Mexican roots.

La Plaza pays tribute to the complex histories and identities of LA's Mexicanos, Californios, Mexican-Americans and Chicanos: Everyone from musicians in the group Ozomatli to the 44 settlers who arrived from Mexico in 1781 to establish the city of Los Angeles aka "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula."

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