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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Music News
12:03 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Draco Rosa: A Pop Survivor Returns From The Brink, With Friends

Former bandmates Draco Rosa and Ricky Martin, seen here on stage at Univision's 2013 Premio Lo Nuestro awards celebration, reunite on Rosa's new album, Vida.
John Parra Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 7:47 pm

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Monkey See
5:30 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

A Tip Of The Mouse Ears To Annette Funicello, 1942-2013

The American actress and singer Annette Funicello, photographed here circa 1960, died April 8, more than two decades after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Henry Gris, FPG Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 9:59 pm

Now it's time to say goodbye to former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The singer, dancer and actress died April 8 at the age of 70, having battled multiple sclerosis for more than two decades.

Throughout her career, she was devoted to Walt Disney, who famously discovered her during a Swan Lake dance recital when she was just 12 years old.

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Movies
4:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Will 'Oz The Great And Powerful' Gain Emerald Status?

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

"The Wizard of Oz" means to a lot of people, a young Judy Garland in sparkly ruby slippers. But in the hundred years since L. Frank Baum wrote the Oz stories, they, or stories featuring Oz characters, have been produced dozens of times. The latest, a prequel that opens in theaters this weekend, called "Oz the Great and Powerful."

NPR's Mandalit Del Barco has more.

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Movies
9:11 am
Mon February 25, 2013

'Argo,' 'Life Of Pi' Win Top Oscars

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:26 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Okay. The movies "Argo" and "Life of Pi" and the actors Daniel Day Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence were among the winners at last night's Academy Awards. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco was backstage.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: It wasn't a Hollywood star who announced this year's Best Picture. That honor went to First Lady Michelle Obama via satellite from the White House.

MICHELLE OBAMA: And the Oscar goes to "Argo."

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Movie Interviews
2:31 am
Fri February 15, 2013

The Story Of 'No' Is The Story Of Modern Chile

The bright colors and throwback feel of the Chilean drama No mask the very real political consequences of the 1988 plebiscite it depicts. (Pictured: Gael Garcia Bernal as Rene Saavedra)
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

The film No revisits the moment in Chile's history when 56 percent of the country voted to oust a dictator from power. It's the tale of the ad campaign that helped persuade Chileans to cast their ballots against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a national referendum.

"This is an epic story, the story of a triumph," says Director Pablo Larrain. "It's how they defeat a dictator — probably one of the biggest bastards that we ever had in humankind."

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The Record
3:29 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Why Al Walser Got A Grammy Nomination And Justin Bieber Didn't

Justin Bieber on stage in December. Bieber's 2012 album Believe, despite selling over 1,000,000 copies, wasn't nominated for a single Grammy Award.
Michael Kovac Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 4:49 pm

Among the hundreds of musicians vying for Grammy Awards this year is Al Walser, a Los Angeles-based disc jockey and singer whose song "I Can't Live Without You" is nominated in the best dance single category. Walser is not a widely known name — many Grammy nominees aren't — but he's competing in a category against some of pop music's heaviest hitters.

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Around the Nation
5:05 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

South L.A. Teens Doubt New Laws Will Change Gun Culture

Handguns collected in South-Central Los Angeles as part of a Gun for Gift Card exchange in 2009. One teenager here says getting a gun on the streets is just "one phone call away."
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:04 pm

On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation. This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common — and so are guns.

"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."

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Around the Nation
5:19 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Porn Industry Turned Off By L.A. Mandate For Condoms On Set

The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation says a county law requiring condom use at porn shoots is necessary to protect actors from sexually transmitted diseases.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 7:54 pm

In November, more than 1.5 million Los Angeles County voters passed the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. The new law orders porn actors to wear condoms during sex scenes.

"The porn industry has been sending a very bad message by saying the only kind of sex that's hot is unsafe," says Michael Weinstein, CEO of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which sponsored the measure.

Sitting in his office, just over the hills from the nation's porn film capital, Weinstein says the new law was meant to protect both performers and those who watch the movies.

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U.S.
4:04 am
Tue December 25, 2012

In Pursuit of Recognition: An Undocumented Immigrant's Resilient Fight

Sofia Campos, 23, is the head of the United We Dream campaign — a national network of youth-led immigrant organizations. Campos was born in Peru, but grew up in California, entirely unaware of her undocumented status until she tried applying for college scholarships.
Courtesy of Sofia Campos

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 9:42 am

Unlike many undocumented immigrants, Sofia Campos is not afraid to give her real name.

"It's deliberate, and it's liberating," she says. "It's kind of a shock to hear somebody say, 'I am undocumented' or wear the 'I am undocumented' T-shirt, just in your face."

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The Record
3:17 am
Wed November 14, 2012

A&M Records: Independent, With Major Appeal

Herb Alpert (left) and Jerry Moss, who founded A&M Records in Alpert's garage in 1962.
Courtesy of A&M Records

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:12 pm

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Election 2012
6:05 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Calif. Affirms Death Penalty, Amends 'Three Strikes'

Mike Reynolds authored California's three-strikes law after his daughter, Kimber, was killed in a 1992 purse snatching. On Tuesday, Californians approved a ballot initiative that weakens the law — a measure Reynolds opposed.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 12:15 pm

Several thousand prisoners in California may be eligible to apply for sentence reductions, after voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative Tuesday that alters the state's controversial three-strikes law.

But voters also rejected a proposition that would abolish the death penalty in the state. Proposition 34 would have replaced capital punishment with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

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Movies
4:32 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

The Straight-To-DVD World Of 'Mockbusters'

Paul Bales, David Rimawi and David Latt of The Asylum call their films "mockbusters."
Mike Digrazia

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:32 am

Dreamworks' animated movie Puss in Boots was a big deal. It won an Oscar, and its swashbuckling, sloe-eyed kitty was voiced by Antonio Banderas.

The meticulous computer-generated animation took four years and something like $130 million to make. But another cartoon, Puss In Boots: A Furry Tail, was hand-drawn in six months for less than $1 million. It went straight to DVD — one of the many low-budget productions riding the coattails of Hollywood blockbusters.

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Around the Nation
5:24 am
Thu September 6, 2012

L.A.'s Ban On Marijuana Dispensaries Halted For Now

Medical cannabis patient Michael Oliveri smokes marijuana during a news conference in Universal City, Calif., last week. Medical marijuana advocates say they have enough signatures to place a referendum before voters that would overturn a ban on pot clinics in Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 5:01 pm

Thursday was supposed to mark the end of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, after the city council approved a ban on them this summer. But patients and advocates have managed to halt the ban, and some dispensary operators are suing the city.

For years, Los Angeles has been a mecca for medical marijuana dispensaries. Anyone with a doctor's recommendation could stop in at chic storefronts offering cannabis-laced desserts or at the more underground clinics, labeled only with a green cross. Hundreds, maybe 1,000 of these pot shops popped up around L.A.

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Music
3:29 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Juanes: A Superstar Slows Down, Shifts Gears

Juanes' latest album is all acoustic, and was recorded in front of a live audience as part of MTV's Unplugged series.
MTV

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:57 pm

The new release from Juanes marks a departure for the Colombian pop star. The all-acoustic album was recorded in front of a live Miami audience for MTV Unplugged.

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Remembrances
6:27 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Sherman Hemsley, TV's George Jefferson, Dies

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

George Jefferson was an upwardly mobile black businessman with a longsuffering wife, equal parts pride and frustration when it came to his family and neighbors. Actor Sherman Hemsley brought that vivid character to life on television in the 1970s and '80s. He was 74 when he died yesterday at his home in El Paso, Texas. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has this remembrance of the actor behind the headstrong, high-strung center of "The Jeffersons."

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME SONG, "THE JEFFERSONS")

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The Aurora Theater Shootings
5:50 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

'Dark Knight' Events Canceled, Theaters Add Guards

Workers dismantle an installation that was set up for the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Paris. It had been scheduled for Friday night but was canceled after a gunman killed 12 people at a Colorado opening of the same film.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 6:56 pm

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in a Colorado theater, the hoopla surrounding a blockbuster movie opening was toned down, and theaters around the country began beefing up security.

Warner Bros., the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises, canceled Friday night's red-carpet premiere in Paris. It also called off a press conference with the director and the stars.

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Arts & Life
3:48 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Seinfeld Hits The Web, Still Talking About Nothing

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:30 pm

Jerry Seinfeld's new series is called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and the promos promise exactly that. The comic toodles around in his vintage wheels, drinking java with his pals Alec Baldwin, Michael Richards and Larry David, and discussing (among other things) the effrontery of ordering herbal tea when invited out for coffee.

But the next act from the man behind the most popular sitcom on television won't be on television. It's a webseries.

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Politics
6:23 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Program On Ariz. Immigration Part News, Advocacy

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The U.S. Supreme Court is getting ready to rule on Arizona's controversial immigration law and a lot of people in that state are watching closely. Tonight, nearly two dozen Spanish language radio and TV stations in Arizona are scheduled to run the same program about the immigration law. As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, they're walking a fine line between journalism and advocacy.

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Around the Nation
5:57 am
Sat June 16, 2012

Is Deportation Freeze A 'Big Relief' Or 'Cynical Ploy'?

Myisha Areloano, Adrian James, Jahel Campos, David Vuenrostro and Antonio Cabrera camp outside President Obama's campaign headquarters in Culver City, Calif., on Friday to protest his immigration policies.
Grant Hindsley AP

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 7:53 pm

At the University of California, Los Angeles, Labor Center in downtown L.A., more than 100 student leaders from around the country hugged and cheered as President Obama delivered his immigration announcement Friday.

Obama outlined a new policy to temporarily stop deporting some young illegal immigrants and make them eligible for work permits.

Diego Sanchez was born in Argentina and brought to Miami 12 years ago. He's working on getting his MBA. He welcomed the president's announcement.

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Media
7:02 am
Tue May 8, 2012

English-Language News Launched By Univision, ABC

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 7:41 am

The joint venture will create a multi-platform news service for English-speaking Hispanics. The venture will feature a 24/7 cable channel, as well as digital media platforms.

Movies
6:52 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Silence Is Golden For 'The Artist'

The Artist became the first silent film to triumph at Hollywood's highest honors since the original Oscar ceremony 83 years ago. The film's lead actor, Jean Dujardin, also took home an Academy award for best actor while Michel Hazanavicius, the film's director, also won.

Race
5:21 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Moreno, Leguizamo Talk Latin Life In 'Hollywouldn't'

Four's The Score: One of a handful of performers to score an EGOT — an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — Rita Moreno is revisiting the highlights and lowlights of her life and career in a new solo show.

Michael LaMonica Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 7:03 pm

Rita Moreno — the only Latino performer to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — is reprising some of her most memorable characters in a solo show at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Up the coast in Los Angeles, John Leguizamo, who co-starred opposite Al Pacino in Carlito's Way and voiced Sid the sloth in the animated Ice Age films, is performing another of his acclaimed solo shows. And while their Hollywood success came 40 years apart, the two say they encountered many of the same hurdles.

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Reporter's Notebook
5:24 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

A New Destination For Kayakers: The L.A. River?

The fifth graders from L.A.'s Pico Union neighborhood, who rarely get to spend time in nature, say it was the best field trip ever.
Mandalit del Barco NPR

The once-polluted and often ridiculed Los Angeles River is now open to kayak and canoe adventures. City officials and the Army Corps of Engineers are running a pilot program that allows people to explore the river.

In the South American rain forest, I once paddled in a dugout canoe through the lush Amazon River, filled with pink dolphins and flesh-eating piranhas. So the thought of navigating down the Los Angeles River at first seemed almost ridiculous.

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