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.

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5:54pm

Fri June 26, 2015
Around the Nation

Despite Supreme Court Ruling, Americans Remain Split On Same-Sex Marriage

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 9:20 pm

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

5:04am

Fri June 26, 2015
Race

A Baltimore Civil Rights Icon Is Still Pushing To Help City's Young

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 9:19 am

Helena Hicks has remained active in Baltimore through eras of desegregation and the drug trade. Now she gives back to her childhood neighborhood, the same one where Freddie Gray lived.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

When I set out to interview Helena Hicks, I thought we'd talk history. The soft-spoken, 80-year-old who stands just 4 feet 10 inches tall with a sleek, silver bob, is known for her role in helping to desegregate Read's Drug Store chain. But it turns out she's as active as ever, a force to reckon with at any sense of injustice.

"My father taught me that 'you are somebody,' " she says. "If it's wrong, you do something about it."

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5:17pm

Tue June 23, 2015
Around the Nation

In Baltimore, Rec Centers Provide So Much More Than Just Fun

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 8:56 pm

Najuel Gaylord plays foosball at the Lillian S. Jones Recreation Center in West Baltimore's Sandtown neighborhood. Local recreation centers, which have a long tradition in Baltimore, provide a much-needed refuge for children in some of the city's poorest areas.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

On a recent day at Baltimore's Lillian S. Jones Recreation Center, adolescent boys play basketball, while a group of girls play Monopoly at a nearby table. There's also air hockey, foosball and a computer room in back.

Director Brandi Murphy says there are also swim classes, science lessons, arts and crafts. But the center gives the kids — students age 5 to 12 who come after school and in the summer — far more than fun things to do.

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5:03am

Wed June 10, 2015
Law

Court Decision On Texas Abortion Law Could Hasten Clinic Closures

Originally published on Wed June 10, 2015 3:10 pm

Abortion-rights supporters (foreground) try to disrupt an anti-abortion march to the Texas Capitol during a Texas Rally for Life on Jan. 24 in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay AP

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a controversial state law requiring nearly all Texas facilities that perform abortions to operate like hospital-style surgical centers.

If the ruling stands, abortion providers say another dozen could close in the next few weeks. They say that would leave nearly a million women at least 150 miles from the nearest abortion provider.

Since the law first passed in 2013, about half the state's 40 clinics have shut down.

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6:00pm

Fri June 5, 2015
U.S.

Baltimore Community Engagement Efforts Slowed By Crime Spike

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 6:47 pm

A Baltimore police officer attempts to secure a crime scene with tape at the scene of a shooting at the intersection of West North Avenue and Druid Hill Avenue in West Baltimore, Md., on May 30. Local media have reported more than 35 murders in the city since the April rioting over the death of 25-year-old resident Freddie Gray.
Jim Bourg Reuters/Landov

Mistrust between police and residents in West Baltimore is longstanding, and the fallout from the death of Freddie Gray has only heightened it.

Both sides now say they're taking steps to restore that trust, including one-on-one meetings and a neighborhood cookout. But community leaders say the ongoing spike in violence threatens to undermine such efforts.

The community group No Boundaries holds lots of listening sessions in West Baltimore. Organizer Rebecca Nagle says at one, well before Gray's death, people were asked: Who has the most power in your community?

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5:21pm

Tue June 2, 2015
It's All Politics

In Several States, Abortion Waiting Periods Grow Longer

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 6:35 pm

Alyson Hurt NPR

In recent years, states have passed well over 250 laws restricting abortion. One trend in those restrictions: longer waiting periods before women can have the procedure.

Twenty-six states already have waiting periods. Most make women wait 24 hours between the time they get counseling on abortion and have the procedure. But this year, several states are extending that to 48 — even 72 — hours.

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5:19pm

Fri May 15, 2015
Around the Nation

Group Makes Character Key Part Of Reducing Baltimore Unemployment

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 3:01 pm

Graduates of a training program pose for a portrait after a completion ceremony at the Center for Urban Families.
Courtesy of the Center for Urban Families

In a West Baltimore classroom, three dozen adults — all African-American, mostly men — are in their first week of "pre-employment training."

"Show me Monday, what does Monday look like," asks the instructor. They all raise one hand high above their head.

"That's where the energy should be every day," she says. "Stay alert!" The class responds in unison: "Stay alive."

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4:23pm

Wed April 29, 2015
Around the Nation

Some Baltimore Residents Say They Don't Trust Police, Politicians

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 10:12 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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8:14pm

Mon April 27, 2015
Around the Nation

Baltimore Mayor Condemns Violent Protesters At Press Conference

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 10:24 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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6:36pm

Mon April 27, 2015
Around the Nation

Violent Protests Erupt In Baltimore After Freddie Gray's Funeral

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 10:21 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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5:28pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Goats and Soda

Thousands Of Young Women In U.S. Forced Into Marriage

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 8:13 pm

A year ago, Lina says her parents took her to Yemen because her grandmother was gravely ill. But when the family arrived, Lina's father announced that she would be getting married to a local man.
Renee Deschamps Getty Images/Vetta

Lina describes herself as strong and independent. Born in Yemen and brought to the U.S. as a toddler, the 22-year-old now works retail at a mall to pay her way through college.

"I was raised very, very Americanized. I did sports, I did community service, I worked," Lina says. (NPR is not using her full name because she fears retribution from her family.)

When people hear her story, she says they tell her, "I never thought that this would ever happen to you."

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4:34pm

Fri April 10, 2015
The Two-Way

#NPRreads: In Defense Of California And Wearing The Same Thing To Work Daily

#NPRreads is a new feature we're testing out on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom will share pieces that have kept them reading. They'll share tidbits on Twitter using the #NPRreads hashtag, and on occasion we'll share a longer take here on the blog.

This week, we bring you a bounty of six super insightful reads.

From Jennifer Ludden, a national correspondent for NPR News:

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3:59am

Thu April 2, 2015
The Salt

When Wal-Mart Comes To Town, What Does It Mean For Workers?

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 3:58 pm

Jessey Drewsen, 25, lives near the H Street Wal-Mart in Washington, D.C. She says she doesn't like the store, but that she goes there for cheap supplies like pens.
Emily Jan NPR

This is the second in a two-part story about Wal-Mart. Read and listen to Part 1 here.

One of the biggest objections critics often raise about Wal-Mart is how it treats its workers.

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3:36am

Wed March 11, 2015
Shots - Health News

States Aim To Restrict Medically Induced Abortions

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:08 pm

A view of the eastern entrance to the Ohio Statehouse.
Bob Hall/Flickr

Of the million or so women who have abortions every year in the U.S., nearly a quarter end their pregnancy using medications. But just as states have been passing a record number of restrictions on surgical abortion, more are trying to limit this option as well.

One of the country's strictest laws is in Ohio. To understand it, a little history helps.

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5:25pm

Mon March 9, 2015
Shots - Health News

States Fund Pregnancy Centers That Discourage Abortion

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 8:07 pm

Google "abortion Columbus" and halfway down the first page is a headline: "Your Right to Choose, Abortion in Columbus." It's for Pregnancy Decision Health Center, or PDHC, a chain of six sites in Ohio's capital whose aim is actually to guide women out of having the procedure.

Like many of the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers across the U.S., the PDHC near Ohio State University is right next door to a Planned Parenthood. There's a cozy room for private chats and a larger open space decorated in soothing colors.

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