Jennifer Ludden

Jennifer Ludden is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. She covers a range of stories on family life and social issues.

In recent years, Ludden has reported on the changing economics of marriage, the changing role of dads, the impact of rising student debt loads, and the ethical challenges of modern reproductive technology.

Ludden helped cover national security after the 9/11 attacks, then reported on the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal immigrants as well as Congressional efforts to pass a sweeping legalization. She traveled to the Philippines for a story on how an overburdened immigration bureaucracy keeps families separated for years, and to El Salvador to profile migrants who had been deported or turned back at the border.

Prior to moving into her current assignment in 2002, Ludden spent six years as a foreign reporter for NPR covering the Middle East, Europe, and West and Central Africa. She followed the collapse of the decade-long Oslo peace process, shared in two awards (Overseas Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists) for NPR's coverage of the Kosovo war in 1999, and won the Robert F. Kennedy award for her coverage of the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When not navigating war zones, Ludden reported on cultural trends, including the dying tradition of storytellers in Syria, the emergence of Persian pop music in Iran, and the rise of a new form of urban polygamy in Africa.

Before joining NPR in 1995, Ludden reported in Canada, and at public radio stations in Boston and Maine.

Ludden graduated from Syracuse University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in English and Television, Radio and Film Production.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: We want to bring you up-to-date now on one of the stories that's been part of the national conversation about police conduct in urban neighborhoods, particularly the treatment of black men. We're talking here about Freddie Gray, a black man who died from a spinal cord injury he sustained while in a police van last April. His death set off both peaceful and violent protests in Baltimore. Six officers...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: A Baltimore police officer on trial in the death of a young black man took the stand in his own defense today. Prosecutors say William Porter failed to seatbelt Freddie Gray into a police van and failed to call for medical aid. Gray broke his neck while in custody and later died. Today Porter told jurors that Freddie Gray seemed just fine when he checked on him in that police van. NPR's Jennifer Ludden...

Updated for testimony from Dec. 9. Officer William Porter is the first of six Baltimore police officers who stand accused of playing a role in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after injuries sustained in the back of a police van while he was handcuffed and shackled. Porter, who joined the police force in 2012, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, and misconduct in office. Essentially, prosecutors want him held accountable for failing to...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: In Baltimore, jury selection began today for the first police officer to face trial for the death of Freddie Gray. Gray was the unarmed black man who died after being arrested and transported in a police van last April. The officer, William Porter, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment. Defense lawyers have repeatedly expressed doubt that enough unbiased jurors can...

It's been seven months since protests over the death of an unarmed black man after his arrest erupted into looting and arson, leading Baltimore's mayor to declare a curfew and call in the National Guard. Now, that unrest remains a potent backdrop as the trial begins for the first of six police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death. "I just want peace while the trial is going on," says Missa Grant, standing at a bus stop across a busy intersection from the former CVS that became a televised...

When the state of Maryland wanted to reach dads who were behind on their child support payments, it started in the boarded-up blocks of West Baltimore, in neighborhoods marked by drugs, violence and unemployment. In just four zip code areas, the state identified 4,642 people who owed more than $30 million in back child support. Most of that was "state-owed," meaning that rather than going to the child through the custodial parent, it's supposed to reimburse taxpayers for welfare paid to the...

On a recent Saturday afternoon at his West Baltimore row house, Harrelle Felipa fields a steady stream of interruptions as he breads a large plate of fish and chicken for dinner. His 4-year-old son wants to recite his letters. The 3-year-old brings him a toy that's broken. The tweens play Minecraft on the Xbox while Felipa's teen daughter checks her email. Felipa says he loves it. "This is what my life consists of," he says. "I arrange my life around these guys." It's not the typical image of...

When West Baltimore's Renaissance Academy High School hired four African-American mentors earlier this year, student Jalone Carroll wanted nothing to do with them. He figured they would come "mess everything up, and then dip," or disappear. "We didn't know how to take that type, you feel me," says Carroll. "Somebody that cares, somebody that really wants to see us succeed." Carroll is 20, but he has only enough credits to be in 10th grade. He says no one at other schools he attended ever...

House Republicans questioned the head of Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, on whether the women's health group needs federal funding. The testimony comes after the release of a series of videos that allege the organization violates rules on fetal tissue donation for research. Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: On Capitol Hill, no federal government shutdown for now, but Republicans aren't giving up on efforts to defund Planned Parenthood....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: The head of Planned Parenthood testifies before Congress today. A House committee is investigating videos recorded secretly by an anti-abortion group. That group accuses Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood says that is not true, and experts have shown the videos to be heavily edited and misleading. But they have become a rallying point for some Republican...

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