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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Race
4:04 am
Fri June 26, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 8:19 am

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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Around the Nation
3:54 pm
Tue June 23, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 7:56 pm

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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Law
4:03 am
Wed June 10, 2015

Court Decision On Texas Abortion Law Could Hasten Clinic Closures

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

Originally published on Wed June 10, 2015 2:10 pm

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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U.S.
5:00 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Baltimore Community Engagement Efforts Slowed By Crime Spike

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

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

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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It's All Politics
4:13 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

In Several States, Abortion Waiting Periods Grow Longer

Alyson Hurt NPR

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 5:35 pm

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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