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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Europe
1:38 pm
Sat April 12, 2014

Between Friends, Family And Country, Ukrainian Police Lie Low

Pro-Russian activists sit at a barricade at the regional administration building in Donetsk on Wednesday. Police have been conspicuously absent at Eastern Ukraine protest sites.
Efrem Lukatsky AP

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 10:33 am

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The Two-Way
9:58 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Molotov Cocktails And Razor Wire: Inside An Occupied Building In Ukraine

Pro-Russian protesters surround a barricade made by used tires and barbed wire Friday in Donetsk, Ukraine. Pro-Russian protesters took control of the government building and have held it since Sunday.
The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 10:36 pm

In Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk, activists who want to align the country more with Russia seized a regional administration building in the center of town last weekend. NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro went inside the building Friday and reports on what it was like:

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Parallels
3:20 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

God Save The Queen — And Donetsk, Too?

The online "God Save The Queen" campaign that started as a joke called for Donetsk to hold a referendum on whether to join Great Britain. Eventually, it was shut down: for being anti-Russian.
Novosti Donbassa

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 12:16 am

The eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk has been the center of a standoff since Sunday, with demonstrators pleading for the city to join Russia, while government leaders insist it will remain part of Ukraine.

In the midst of this tug-of-war, there's a third country that may have a claim on the city — though admittedly, a much looser one.

"God Save The Queen" isn't just the British national anthem, it's also the name of a campaign to bring Donetsk under the sheltering wing of Her Majesty's United Kingdom.

(You read that correctly: the UK. Stay with us here.)

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Parallels
2:59 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Ukrainian Protesters Seize Weapons, Raising The Stakes

A pro-Russian activist speaks at the Security Services building, which was seized in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. The standoff is one of three taking place in the region, and Luhansk is considered particularly volatile because the Security Services building contains many weapons.
Igor Golovniov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:48 pm

The drive to Luhansk takes you past fields of corn and sunflowers that are just beginning to sprout. You pass the town of Yennakieva, where the ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was born. Eventually the fields give way to factories, and about 15 miles from the border with Russia, you hit the industrial city of Luhansk.

Police have blocked off the center of town. The last few blocks to the heart of the protest, at the occupied security services building, is a journey by foot, past graffiti that say, "Luhansk is a Russian City."

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Parallels
10:36 am
Tue March 18, 2014

After 300 Years Of Marriage, Scotland Contemplates U.K. Divorce

Pro-independence campaigners attend a rally In Edinburgh, Scotland, in September.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 7:22 am

Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for more than 300 years. This fall, that could change. In mid-September, a referendum on independence will determine whether Scotland breaks off from England, Northern Ireland and Wales to become a sovereign nation.

Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, is ground zero in this debate. The East End of this city is poor and run down, with some of the worst health figures in Europe. Men here are expected to live into only their mid-50s, some 30 years less than in wealthy areas.

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Parallels
9:57 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Britain's 'Tea Party' Pushes For Cutting Ties With European Union

At the UK Independence Party's recent national convention Torquay, England, vendors sell tote bags printed with leader Nigel Farage's face in bright purple ink.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:35 pm

Torquay is a beach resort in the part of southwest Britain known as the English Riviera for its abundant sun (relative to the rest of the country, anyway). Agatha Christie was born here in 1890. By the mid-1970s, the TV show Fawlty Towers was emphasizing Toquay's shabby aspects over its glamour. And now, well, the town has seen better days.

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Parallels
10:27 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Will Scotland Go Independent? A Primer On The Secession Vote

A bakery in Edinburgh recently launched an independence referendum poll using Yes, No and Undecided cupcakes.
Andrew Milligan PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 8:06 am

An intense campaign is underway for the future of the United Kingdom. On Sept. 18, the people of Scotland will vote on whether to become an independent country. Here are answers to a few key questions about the issue.

1. Why would Scotland want to leave the U.K.?

There are some reasons grounded in logic and others based in emotion.

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Parallels
10:37 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Why More Americans Are Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

A case against the Swiss bank UBS in 2008 led Congress to create more regulations for foreign banks holding American money. Rather than comply, many banks opted to stop serving American account-holders.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 5:32 am

A few times a year, the Treasury Department publishes a long list of names announcing all of the Americans who have lately abandoned their U.S. citizenship.

According to the legal website International Tax Blog, the number hovered around 500 a decade ago. Last year, it hit a record high of nearly 3,000.

This was not a gradual change. It was a sudden spike. It's a story of dominoes falling, one after another, leading to an unexpected outcome.

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Parallels
8:55 am
Tue February 18, 2014

For U.S. Ambassador, Ties To Prague That Transcend Diplomacy

Norm Eisen, the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, poses at his official residence in Prague in October 2013. Eisen's mother was born and raised in what was Czechoslovakia and was sent by the Nazis to the Auschwitz concentration camp, which she survived.
Filip Singer The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:18 am

The drive into Prague is like a journey into the past. As you approach, grand castles and cathedrals appear on the horizon and pull you into an old-world city that could be the setting for a fairy tale.

Three years ago, Norm Eisen made this journey in a motorcade. It was his first day as U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic. He was returning to the land where his mother, Frieda, had been born almost 90 years ago.

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Parallels
11:59 am
Thu February 13, 2014

In Damp Country, Record-Breaking Rains Flood Britain

Priscilla Smithers and her four children have arranged chairs around a few air mattresses to create a space for themselves, after fleeing their home.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:15 am

Parts of England have been underwater for more than six weeks now, since storms began pummeling the west of Great Britain around Christmas. While many of those areas are still submerged, the situation keeps getting worse.

Now the floodwaters are lapping near Windsor Castle, as the Thames overflows its banks. Thousands of people have fled their homes, with more evacuating every day.

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Parallels
9:15 am
Wed February 12, 2014

For Elephants And Rhinos, Poaching Trends Point In Wrong Direction

Two adult white rhinos stand in an enclosure at South Africa's Entabeni Safari Conservancy in 2012. Entabeni is one of the world's only dedicated orphanages for rhino calves whose parents were poached for their horns — a trend that is rising.
Stephane De Sakutin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 1:48 pm

South Africa has a stable government that makes wildlife protection a high priority. But even in that country, there's been a dramatic surge in poaching, particularly for rhinos.

A decade ago, fewer than 100 rhinos were killed in a year. Last year, it was more than 1,000, says Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"When you're talking about something that is more valuable than gold, and it is easily accessible, you're going to create the atmosphere where people are going to take advantage of that," he says.

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Parallels
9:31 am
Mon January 27, 2014

British Satire: Still Current After 170 Years

Punch magazine began publishing in 1841 and survived until 2002. It was a British institution and has been credited with introducing humorous cartoons.
Ari Shapiro/NPR

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:41 am

After three weeks in London, I'm finally starting to understand some local customs and mores. Yet I confess that political cartoons remain a challenge. They often reference obscure government ministers or historical practices in such an oblique way that I totally miss the joke.

So it was with some relief that I stumbled upon a cartoon over the weekend whose meaning was unambiguously clear. In the black-and-white drawing, a glutton with a gaping mouth full of sharp teeth steps on a poor, miserable man, who lies pinned to the floor.

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Parallels
10:25 am
Thu January 23, 2014

From The Trenches To The Web: British WWI Diaries Digitized

The British National Archives has digitized and posted online about 1.5 million pages of diaries from soldiers and units that fought in World War I. Here, a photo of the 12th (Prince of Wales') Lancers Group.
From a private collection, provided courtesy of the National Archives

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 11:37 am

On the outskirts of London, in a basement room of the British National Archives, a historian delicately turns pages that have the brittle feel of dead leaves. Each is covered in text — some typewritten, some in spidery handwriting from a pen that scratched across the page 100 years ago.

"Saturday, the 26th of September, 1914," reads one. "The most ghastly day of my life. And yet one of my proudest, because my regiment did its job and held on against heavy odds."

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Parallels
10:25 am
Wed January 15, 2014

The 'Downton Abbey Law' Would Let British Women Inherit Titles

Cawdor Castle is often called Macbeth's Castle because it's the place of a murder in Shakespeare's Macbeth. The castle was built long after Shakespeare died. Lady Liza Campbell, who was raised at the castle, is pushing to revise the law to allow women to inherit titles and estates.
Hans Wild Time

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:44 pm

Centuries before the U.S. was colonized, the British were handing down estates and titles from father to son. Never from mother to daughter.

Then came the royal pregnancy last year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, had a boy, George. But before the prince was born and his sex known, Parliament changed British law so a first-born girl could inherit the throne. And a group of female aristocrats began fighting to apply the principle more broadly.

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Politics
3:49 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

President Obama's Rocky Year Falls Far Short Of Ambitions

By many standards, President Obama had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 3:52 pm

President Obama heads to Hawaii on Friday. He goes there for Christmas every year and always talks about how good it is to get away from Washington. This year, that's likely to be especially true.

It's been a rough year for the president, starting with the very first hours of 2013.

One year ago, when the ball dropped on Times Square and people sang "Auld Lang Syne," Obama was supposed to be in Honolulu. Instead, he was in Washington as the country went over the so-called fiscal cliff.

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