Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro is an NPR international correspondent based in London. An award-winning journalist, his reporting covers a wide range of topics and can be heard on all of NPR's national news programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Prior to his current post, Shapiro reported from the NPR Washington Desk as White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama's first and second terms, as Justice Correspondent during the George W. Bush administration and as a regular guest host on NPR's newsmagazines. He is also a frequent analyst on CNN, PBS, NBC and other television news outlets.

Shapiro's reporting has consistently won national accolades. The Columbia Journalism Review recognized him with a laurel for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans. The American Bar Association awarded him the Silver Gavel for exposing the failures of Louisiana's detention system after Hurricane Katrina. He was the first recipient of the American Judges' Association American gavel Award, recognizing a body of work on U.S. courts and the American justice system. And at age 25, Shapiro won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission.

An occasional singer, Shapiro makes guest appearances with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini, whose recent albums feature several of his contributions. Since his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, Shapiro has performed live at many of the world's most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, L'Olympia in Paris, and Mount Lycabettus in Athens.

Shapiro graduated from Yale University magna cum laude and began his journalism career in the office of NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg.

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4:17am

Mon February 16, 2015
Parallels

Not A Group House, Not A Commune: Europe Experiments With Co-Housing

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:03 pm

Alfafar, a suburb of Valencia, Spain, is suffering from a poor economy and high unemployment. A quarter of homes are abandoned. Here, a cafe is still open on the ground floor of an abandoned municipal building in Alfafar's Orba neighborhood, but upper floors used to house shops. A pair of Spanish architects hopes to revitalize the high-density housing in this working-class area.
Lauren Frayer NPR

This is the latest story from the NPR Cities Project.

In an abandoned building near Spain's Mediterranean coast, someone softly strums a guitar. Chord progressions echo through empty halls.

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7:27am

Sun February 15, 2015
Parallels

ISIS May Be Gone, But Life Has Yet To Return To Normal In Northern Iraq

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 12:49 pm

Before ISIS attacked it, the northern Iraqi town of Snuny had a population of nearly 150,000 — a mix of Kurdish Muslims and Yazidis, who belong to a religious ethnic minority in this region. Only about 10,000 have returned after Kurdish fighters reclaimed the city.
Ari Shapiro NPR

The graffiti in Snuny — an Iraqi city at the base of Mount Sinjar that Kurdish peshmerga fighters recently regained control of — provides a kind of shorthand for its recent history.

There's black graffiti on some buildings, proclaiming "This is the Islamic State." It's been scribbled out.

Over it, there's green or red graffiti, which proclaims "This is now the property of the Kurdish peshmerga."

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3:43am

Fri February 13, 2015
Parallels

Outmanned And Outgunned, Fighters Defend Yazidi Shrine Against ISIS

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 9:08 pm

The temple of Sharfadin in Northern Iraq is 800 years old, and followers of the Yazidi religion consider it one of the most sacred sites in the world. Though ISIS tried to destroy it, a small group of Yazidi fighters kept the shrine standing.
Ari Shapiro NPR

In Kurdistan today, every fighter knows the name Qasim Shesho. He's been fighting with the Kurdish peshmerga forces in northern Iraq since the 1970s.

Shesho is a Yazidi — an ethnic and religious minority in Iraq — and the protagonist in a tale that could have come from literature, or Hollywood, or the Bible. It is a universal story, about a vastly outnumbered group of men defending sacred ground against an onslaught.

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5:47am

Sun February 8, 2015
Parallels

Not Too Much, Not Too Little: Sweden, In A Font

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 6:57 pm

Courtesy of Soderhavet

Nearly every country has a national flag, a national anthem, a national bird. Not many countries have a national typeface.

Sweden recently commissioned a team of designers to come up with a font to represent the country on its websites, press releases, tourism brochures and more.

The offices of Soderhavet look exactly the way you would expect a Scandinavian design firm to look: clean, sleek and warm, with tasteful bursts of color sprinkled among the minimalistic furniture.

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6:24pm

Thu February 5, 2015
Parallels

Sweden's Immigrant Influx Unleashes A Backlash

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 11:34 am

Two policemen stand outside a mosque in Uppsala, Sweden, last month. The mosque was firebombed on Jan. 1 in one of three arson attacks targeting the Muslim community in Sweden since Christmas Day.
Anders Wiklund AP

In the 1990s, the face of immigration to Sweden was someone like Robert Acker. His family emigrated from Bosnia when he was 6 years old.

"I got along with the Swedes early on," he says in American-accented English from his years playing basketball in Kentucky and New York. "But now, I believe it's a totally different thing."

Acker lives in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, an industrial center that has become the power base for the far-right Sweden Democrats.

"They want us out," says Acker. "They just want Swedes here."

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4:51pm

Wed February 4, 2015
Europe

Remote-Controlled Airport A Reality In Sweden

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 7:33 pm

Sweden is the first country in the world to get a remote-controlled airport. That means flights are guided by operators sitting miles away.

This piece originally aired on Morning Edition on Feb. 1, 2015.

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4:19pm

Mon February 2, 2015
Parallels

Cash Is Definitely Not King For Card-Carrying Swedes

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 8:08 pm

Nina Galata displays her smartphone equipped with a card reader to accept donations and payment for Situation Stockholm, a magazine sold by Stockholm's homeless.
Jonas Ekstromer TT/AFP/Getty

Peter Fredell carries an unusual wallet. It feels a bit like leather, but the material is pale and thin. He pulls it out on a street corner in Stockholm.

"I actually made it myself," he says. "It's an eel that I fished up. And I used the skin and stitched it together."

This eelskin wallet carries personal significance — but it does not carry cash.

Around the world, cash is fading. Electronic transactions are becoming a bigger part of the economy every year. And one of the leaders in this trend is Sweden, where more than 95 percent of transactions are digital.

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7:56am

Sun February 1, 2015
Parallels

In Sweden, Remote-Control Airport Is A Reality

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 1:56 pm

The tiny town of Sundsvall, Sweden, is home to the world's first airport to land passenger planes by remote control. The cameras used to help the air traffic controllers guide airplanes render details as small as cars pulling into the parking lot from miles away.
Rich Preston NPR

As our plane touches down in Sundsvall, Sweden, the horizon is all snow and ice. A small air traffic control tower sticks out above the white horizon.

But this airport actually has two air traffic control centers. The second one is just a short walk from the airport runway.

Inside a ground-floor, windowless room, there's a display that looks exactly like what you'd see out of an air traffic control tower. You can see the snowy runway, you can see the trees, you can even see a car pulling into the airport parking lot.

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6:30pm

Sat January 31, 2015
The Salt

Surströmming Revisited: Eating Sweden's Famously Stinky Fish

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:39 pm

Surströmming, a fermented herring considered to be a famous delicacy in Sweden, is also known as one of the most pungent foods in the world.
Pauline Conradsson AFP/Getty Images

More than a decade ago, NPR's Ari Shapiro attempted to eat a fermented Swedish herring called surströmming, one of the most pungent foods in the world. It did not go well. Twelve years later, on a reporting trip to Sweden, Ari decided it was time to face his fears and try the fish again.

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7:37am

Sat January 31, 2015
Europe

An Arctic Institution, Sweden's Ice Hotel Turns 25

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 1:08 pm

This year marks 25 years of the original Ice Hotel, carved from snow and ice bricks in far northern Sweden. This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 29, 2015.

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5:29pm

Thu January 29, 2015
Parallels

The Arctic Circle's Coolest Accommodations Turn 25 Years Old

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:07 am

Icehotel is located 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. The temperature outside is well below zero, but inside the hotel — while still, of course, below freezing — it's much warmer, hovering in the low 20s.
Ari Shapiro NPR

On a recent winter's day in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, it's 22 degrees below zero — or -30 Celsius. Whatever you call it, it's way below freezing.

Sculptor Jens Thoms Ivarsson stands over a block of ice with a razor-sharp chisel, turning a bare room into an ornate Spanish mosque made entirely of ice.

Here, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle, sits a frozen institution: Icehotel, the original.

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3:21am

Wed January 28, 2015
Parallels

Group Urges Swedes To Evade Subway Fares, And Even Insures Against Fines

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 2:06 pm

Christian Tengblad (right) and his fellow fare dodger are part of the group Planka.nu.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Every city that has public transportation struggles with fare jumpers — people who sneak onto the subway or the bus without buying a ticket. In Sweden, fare-dodging is a brazen movement in which the group's members don't try to hide what they're doing.

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3:37am

Tue January 27, 2015
Parallels

Russian Threats Expose Europe's Military Cutbacks

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:27 am

A soldier from the Swedish army participates in a military exercise at Hagshult Airbase in Sweden in November.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

An international cat-and-mouse game played out in the waters of Stockholm a few months ago.

The "mouse" was a foreign submarine — Russia is the main suspect — that got away.

And as Russia's military becomes more aggressive, European leaders fear they do not have the military power to deal with this new threat.

Take Sweden, for instance. Its days of military might are long gone.

The numbers tell the story, says Karlis Neretnieks, who used to run Sweden's National Defense College and has had a long career in the military.

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4:21pm

Thu January 15, 2015
Parallels

Carrying The Torch For London's Last Gas Lamps

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 6:33 pm

Garry Usher oversees the five lamplighters employed by British Gas. Each night, members of his crew wind up, by hand, the clocks that control when the lamps, like this one at St. John's church in Smith Square, turn on and off.
Rich Preston NPR

In the United Kingdom, British Gas employs 30,000 workers. Five of them could be said to carry a torch that has been burning for two centuries. They are the lamplighters, tending to gas lamps that still line the streets in some of London's oldest neighborhoods and parks.

As these lamplighters set out on their nightly rounds, they don't actually carry torches and don't wear top hats and waistcoats. In their blue and gray jackets with the British Gas logo, they look like 21st-century utility workers.

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3:33am

Mon January 5, 2015
Parallels

The Theater Company Is 1927; The Technology Is Cutting Edge

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:40 pm

The British theater company 1927 performs its latest play, Golem, based on the character from ancient Jewish folklore. The troupe's trademark is vintage style combined with distinctive animation.
Bernhard Mueller

Lots of theater companies use animation and video projection. None uses it quite like the British troupe called 1927. The company has combined vintage style with sophisticated technology to carve out a unique niche in the theater.

1927's newest play, Golem, has just opened in London to rave reviews.

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