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 face of retirement as the baby boomers enter old age, 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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2:32am

Thu October 16, 2014
New Boom

For More Millennials, It's Kids First, Marriage Maybe

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 8:09 am

Phillip Underwood and Michelle Sheridan and their children, Logan and Lilliana, gather in their living room in Frederick, Md., after a long day of work and school. The couple had delayed marriage, in part for financial reasons.
James Clark NPR

Decades ago, an "oops" pregnancy might have meant a rush to the altar. But when Michelle Sheridan got pregnant three years ago, the topic of marriage never came up with her boyfriend, Phillip Underwood, whom she lives with in Frederick, Md.

If anything, it was the opposite.

"It changes the dynamic of the household," she says. "I had a friend who put off her marriage. Got pregnant, and she's like, 'Let's just wait, 'cause we don't know if we're going to be able to make it through this.' "

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4:44pm

Mon September 22, 2014
Sports

With Dark Humor, Anger And Empathy, Women Respond To The NFL

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 9:21 am

A Ravens fan trades in her Ray Rice jersey Friday after he was cut from the team over allegations of domestic abuse.
Patrick Semansky AP

As the National Football League scrambles to defend its actions in amid a series of domestic abuse allegations against players, some of its harshest critics have been women. Female fans are a key part of the league's business strategy — the NFL says that women make up 45 percent of its fan base — but they haven't reacted to the scandal with one voice.

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2:46pm

Tue September 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Colleges Brainstorm Ways To Cut Back On Binge Drinking

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:48 pm

Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi conducts a "knock and talk" at a house near campus, reminding students of laws on underage drinking and open containers.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

It's early Friday night, and Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi is just starting the late shift. At a white clapboard house, he jumps out of his SUV to chat with four students on the front steps.

"S'up guys!" he calls out, assuring them he just wants to chat. All are underage but one, and that one tells Pirolozzi he has a string of alcohol violations from past years. Pirolozzi banters a bit. He tells them to "call anytime," and reminds them not to walk around the street with open containers.

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3:45pm

Thu August 28, 2014
Around the Nation

Shooting Range Accident Draws Focus On Children Handling Guns

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 6:28 pm

A tragedy at an Arizona shooting range this week has set off a debate about children using high-powered weapons, as well as America's gun culture. Shooting range owners are defending their industry as safe, criticizing this particular operator for allowing a small girl to use an Uzi.

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10:06am

Tue August 26, 2014
A Closer Look At Sexual Assaults On Campus

Student Activists Keep Pressure On Campus Sexual Assault

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 10:47 am

Dana Bolger, who says she was raped in 2011 while a student at Amherst College, co-founded a group that seeks to educate students about their rights under Title IX.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

For Georgetown University freshmen, orientation this week included a new activity: mandatory small-group discussions on sexual assault.

"For a lot of the kids, this might be the first time they ever actually talk about sexual assault or what consent means in an environment with their peers," says Chandini Jha, a junior who helped lead several discussions and who's been pushing administrators to do this for two years.

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2:48pm

Wed August 13, 2014
Men In America

More Dads Want Paternity Leave. Getting It Is A Different Matter

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 8:14 pm

Kumar Chandran and Elanor Starmer with their son, Kailas Chandran. The couple's friends are envious of Chandran's paid paternity leave.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

After nearly four weeks at home with his infant son, Kumar Chandran has the diaper thing down.

"Shhh, almost done," he says, hunching over Kai on the living room floor of their Washington, D.C., townhouse, while his wife, Elanor Starmer, tries to placate the fussy baby.

Chandran says there was no question he wanted to be home at this time. The nonprofit he works for offers four weeks of paid parental leave — the same for men and for women. He says this has let him bond with his son and pick up on subtle cues.

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5:39pm

Tue July 8, 2014
War On Poverty, 50 Years Later

To Break Cycle Of Child Poverty, Teaching Mom And Dad To Get Along

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:52 am

Brittiny Spears, 26, is not with the father of her daughter, Zykeiria, 4. "He just still wanted to go out and party and be a little boy," Spears says.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

After a half-century of the War on Poverty, an anti-poverty agency in Ohio has concluded that decades of assistance alone just hasn't changed lives. Instead, it says, the ongoing breakdown of the family is to blame.

"You're seeing the same people come year after year, and in some cases generation to generation. And so then you think, why is that happening?" says Jennifer Jennette, program manager of the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties in Ohio.

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2:01am

Thu June 19, 2014
Around the Nation

U.S. Plan To House Immigrant Kids In Tiny Va. Town Rattles Residents

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 9:15 am

St. Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Va., closed last year, but recently struck a deal to lease campus buildings to the federal government. The rent would allow the college to remain open — though not for education — and would provide funds to cut grass, staff guards, issue transcripts and allow the college to find a buyer.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

The influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children to the U.S. has sparked a controversy in an unlikely place far from the U.S.-Mexico border: a tiny town in southern Virginia.

The federal government had struck a deal to house some of the migrants in an empty college in Lawrenceville, in the heart of Virginia's tobacco belt. The first busload was expected as early as Thursday, but a local backlash has put the plan on hold.

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5:53pm

Thu June 5, 2014
Around the Nation

Stay-At-Home Dads On The Rise, And Many Of Them Are Poor

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:38 am

The number of fathers in the U.S. who stay at home with their children has nearly doubled since 1989.
iStockphoto

The number of dads staying at home with their children has nearly doubled in the past two decades, and the diversity among them defies the stereotype of the highly educated young father who stays home to let his wife focus on her career.

A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that almost 2 million fathers are at home, up from 1.1 million in 1989. Nearly half of those men live in poverty.

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5:00pm

Thu May 22, 2014
Health

Think Work Is Stressful? For Many, It's More Relaxing Than Home

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 6:10 pm

Work can be rough, but a researcher has found that for many people, being at home is more stressful than being at the office.
iStockphoto

Many Americans say their jobs are stressful — we complain of too much to do in too little time, demanding bosses or difficult colleagues. But researcher Sarah Damaske wanted to know, objectively, is being at work any harder than being at home?

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12:17am

Mon May 12, 2014
Education

Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 9:21 am

British Library of Political and Economic Science Flickr

Harry Potter and The Hunger Games haven't been big hits for nothing. Lots of teens and adolescents still read quite a lot.

But a roundup of studies, put together by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, shows a clear decline over time. Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that.

That's way down from a decade ago.

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8:52am

Sat May 3, 2014
Business

Present But Not There: Ruling Supports Telecommuting

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:33 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Working from home used to be an exception. Technology's changed that. And now an appeals court has ruled that being at work doesn't always require you to physically have to be at work. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

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4:15pm

Tue April 29, 2014
Around the Nation

If You Want Flextime But Are Afraid To Ask, Consider Moving

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 10:23 am

More companies than ever before say that they're offering flexible hours or telecommuting to their workers. Still, San Francisco and the state of Vermont are trying a new approach to push businesses to do more: They're using the law.

Starting this year, employees in both places have the right to ask for a flexible or predictable work schedule, without fear of retaliation.

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3:59pm

Sun April 13, 2014
Your Money

Outdated Tax Code Gives Some Working Spouses A Bad Deal

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 9:07 am

The U.S. tax code, which dates back to the days of Ozzie and Harriet, works against dual-income spouses. In some cases, it's cheaper for one spouse to stay home.
Sherry Yates iStockphoto.com

Women today are nearly half the workforce, and two-income couples are the norm. But the U.S. tax code? It's straight out of Ozzie and Harriet.

When it comes to paying taxes, economists say, a lot of secondary wage-earners are getting a raw deal. It's called the marriage penalty.

"The system was never designed to penalize working spouses," says Melissa Kearney, director of the Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution. "It was just designed in a different era."

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2:28am

Mon March 31, 2014
The Changing Lives Of Women

When Planning For The Future, Women Have Been Hands Off

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:46 am

In Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett plays a wealthy New York socialite who has it all, loses it all and ends up delusional on a park bench.
Perdido Productions

It's a truism in the financial industry that women need to get more out of their money than men since they live longer and make less, especially if they take time out to care for children or aging parents. But it's also a given that they lack confidence when it comes to investing, something that's clear on a recent evening at the Women's Center in Vienna, Va.

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