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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Parallels
2:34 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 3:48 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
11:58 am
Thu February 6, 2014

From Projects To Parliament, Britain's 'Rev. Rose' Breaks Barriers

The Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin outside her home in Hackney, England. The first woman and the first person of color to serve as chaplain to the queen and in the House of Commons moves between those rarefied worlds and that of the poverty- and crime-ridden parish in East London that she continues to run.
Godong UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 10:39 am

Parliament in London is an old-fashioned place. When members gather in the House of Commons, the sea of faces is generally wrinkled, white and male.

The chaplain who leads them each day in prayer is emphatically not.

The Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin is the first black woman to serve as chaplain to the speaker in the House of Commons. She broke the same barrier when she was appointed chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II. She was also the first woman, and the first person of color, to run her parish in Northeast London.

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Parallels
12:14 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Did London Get An Economic Boost From The 2012 Olympics?

This cable car line in London, shown on Jan. 27, was built in time for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in the city. It is taking 35 percent fewer visitors than predicted.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 1:33 pm

Ronald Reagan once joked that the game Trivial Pursuit had a special economists' edition: It came with 100 questions and 3,000 answers. Economists are notorious for being unable to agree on anything. So it's striking that on the finances of the Olympics, they almost all agree.

"Investing in the Olympics is not worth the investment," says Andy Zimbalist of Smith College.

"You build all these facilities that are perfect for the Olympics, that are not really as desirable once the circus leaves town," says Allen Sanderson of the University of Chicago.

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The Edge
2:25 am
Mon February 3, 2014

The Games Are A Great Party, But Not A Great Investment

Graffiti covers a vent adjacent to the Athens Olympic Stadium in this photo from Feb. 18, 2012. Expenditures on the 2004 Athens Summer Games contributed to the country's debt load, which sparked the current economic crisis.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:02 pm

NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro, in London, and Joanna Kakissis, in Athens, teamed up for this joint look at Olympics economics.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi are just a few days away. Russia has spent $50 billion on everything from construction to security, making these the most expensive games in history.

Countries often justify the Olympic-sized price tag by saying the investment pays off in increased business and tourism.

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Parallels
8:55 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 11:41 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
2:39 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 1:37 pm

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
3:41 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

ln A Global Economy, Why's It So Expensive To Transfer My Money?

NPR's Ari Shapiro, who recently moved to London and set up a bank account, reports that it can still be an expensive and time consuming process to transfer money internationally. Here, people pass by a branch of Lloyds Bank in London, on Sept. 17.
Sang Tan AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:39 am

When relocating to a new country, it's important to establish routines and traditions. My ritual here in London is spending an hour on the phone with the bank every day.

It's a strange thing about 2014 — we've got one collective foot planted squarely in the 21st century, while the other is stuck in back in the 19-something-or-others.

My email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts don't care whether I'm in Dublin or Dubai. I can jog along the Seine in Paris to the same music on Spotify that I listen to when I'm running along the Willamette River in Portland.

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Parallels
12:28 pm
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 6:44 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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Parallels
2:35 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Some Brits Not Ready To Say 'Ta-Ra' To Iconic Telephone Box

Though most people rely on cellphones, not pay phones these days, the telephone boxes aren't obsolete. During an art exhibit in summer 2012, artist Benjamin Shine transformed one into a work called Box Lounger, on display here in Central St. Giles in London.
Dave Catchpole/Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 9:14 am

People in the United Kingdom are racing to save a beloved icon, in a mission that in some ways resembles efforts to save the giant panda in China, or the polar bear in the Arctic.

But this icon isn't threatened by habitat loss or climate change. The problem here comes from companies like Apple, Samsung and Nokia.

"Mobiles have taken over," laments Mark Johnson, the man in charge of pay phones for BT (formerly known as British Telecom).

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Parallels
5:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

London's Cheeky Skyscrapers

The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe at 1,016 feet, was inaugurated in London in 2012. It got its formal name when the builders adopted the term used by critics, who called it a "shard of glass" in the city's skyline.
Ben Fitzpatrick AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 6:58 am

I arrived in London a few days ago for my new NPR assignment. As an unofficial part of my orientation, I decided to take a guided walking tour of the old city.

Yes, the history was fascinating. Yes, the city is beautiful. Well, most of it. Parts are not exactly my taste.

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Law
3:36 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

How 2013 Became The 'Gayest Year Ever'

Utah's surprise decision to legalize same-sex marriage caps a landmark year for gay rights. The last 12 months saw a huge string of victories, from state legislatures, to Congress, to the Supreme Court.

Politics
4:57 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 5:52 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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Around the Nation
7:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

White House Invites All To 'Gather Around' A Holiday Tradition

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, almost 100 volunteer decorators show up at the White House. They spend the next five days stringing garlands and hanging ornaments, making the White House sparkle for the holidays.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 10:35 pm

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, almost 100 volunteer decorators show up at the White House. They spend the next five days stringing garlands and hanging ornaments, making the White House sparkle for the holidays.

At NPR, we have a related tradition. This is the fourth year in a row that White House correspondent Ari Shapiro has brought us the voices of some of those volunteers.

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NPR Story
4:55 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama: World Lost A Profoundly Good Man In Nelson Mandela's Death

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 10:57 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tributes are pouring in from around the globe on news that Nelson Mandela, the man who led South Africa out of apartheid, has died. He was 95 and had been ill for a long time. His death marks the passing of an era and President Obama spoke a short time after hearing the news. President Obama held Mandela up as an inspiration to his own leadership.

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Shots - Health News
4:03 am
Thu December 5, 2013

White House Cites Pre-Existing Condition Case From Its Own Ranks

Michael Robertson, then chief of staff of the Government Services Administration, testifies on Capitol Hill on April 16, 2012. Now chief of staff of the Cabinet Affairs Office in the Obama administration, Robertson has undergone treatment for stage IV colorectal cancer.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 10:07 am

It's Day 4 of the White House's new messaging push for the Affordable Care Act. Today the goal is to tell the stories of people with pre-existing conditions who are now entitled to coverage under the new health care law.

One such story comes from within the White House.

Michael Robertson, deputy assistant to the president and deputy cabinet secretary, was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer 16 months ago. He was 35.

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The Salt
1:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Party Like It's 1799: Traditional Cider Makes A Comeback

Chuck Shelton in the cold room at Albemarle CiderWorks in Virginia, which makes sparkling alcoholic cider with some of the same apple varieties used by Thomas Jefferson.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 11:51 am

Feeling extra American this week? Wanna keep that post-turkey glow going? Well, how about a very American beverage: cider?

We're not talking about the hot mulled stuff that steams up your kitchen, or the sweet pub draft in a pint glass. This cider is more like sparkling wine.

"This is a phenomenally funky, sour, even mildly smoky cider that has to be tasted to be believed," says Greg Engert, one of the owners of a bar in Washington called ChurchKey. He's pouring cider from a tall champagne-style bottle that retails for around $15.

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Health
1:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

As HealthCare.Gov's Deadline Approaches, What Will Be Ready?

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 5:49 pm

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Ari Shapiro. Tomorrow is judgment day for healthcare.gov. The Obama administration has repeatedly said that by November 30, the troubled website will be up and running for the vast majority of users, and officials say they're on track to reach that goal.

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It's All Politics
2:20 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Bad To Worse: Iran Deal Strains Obama-Netanyahu Relationship

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have had a rocky relationship.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most prominent critics of the U.S. deal with Iran. While President Obama calls the agreement a breakthrough, Netanyahu calls it a "historic mistake." It's far from the first time the Israeli and American leaders have clashed.

Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu took charge of their countries within a few months of each other. They were hardly a matched pair.

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Politics
3:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Obama Shifts To Foreign Policy Goals During Second Term

A breakthrough on Iran's nuclear program could shape history's view of President Obama.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 2:10 pm

The White House has been fighting to prevent the disastrous rollout of the health care law from defining President Obama's second term. While that struggle continues, another story is unfolding this week that could shape this president's legacy.

Diplomats from the U.S. and other countries are going to meet for a second round of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, and a breakthrough there could shape history's view of Obama.

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It's All Politics
5:55 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

How Obama's Response To NSA Spying Has Evolved

President Obama's response to the NSA spying revelations has changed over the past five months.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 7:01 pm

A team of surveillance experts on Wednesday delivered preliminary recommendations to the White House on whether and how to amend U.S. spying policies.

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Politics
1:59 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Why Obama Shouldn't Worry About His Lousy Poll Numbers

President Obama walks with the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 10:06 am

President Obama's poll numbers have hit just about the lowest point of his presidency.

They started sinking after the Obamacare website's miserable debut last month. Now, only around 40 percent of Americans think Obama is doing a good job. More than half disapprove of his performance. (A year ago, the numbers were the opposite.)

It seems obvious to say that a high approval rating helps a president, while a low approval rating hurts him. But here are five reasons Obama's numbers might not be as troublesome as they sound.

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It's All Politics
5:01 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Would The U.S. Be Better Off With A Parliament?

A view of the German Bundestag, or federal Parliament, in Berlin.
Michael Sohn AP

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 2:31 pm

There are many reasons for the gridlock in Washington. Some are recent developments, as the U.S. becomes more politically polarized. Others are structural, built into the American political system.

Regardless, the extreme paralysis that has recently become the norm in D.C. almost never happens in Western European democracies.

"You're asking: Do other democracies have this problem? And the answer is: Not many," says Jane Mansbridge, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Raids Project Presidential Power Amid Shutdown's Gridlock

President Obama arrives to speak about the government shutdown at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Response Coordination Center on Monday.
Shawn Thew-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:50 pm

The American system of government was built on gridlock. Yet even by that standard, this past week has demonstrated new levels of immobility.

So the special forces operations carried out in Libya and Somalia over the weekend were a bracing change. President Obama decided to do something — and it happened.

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The Government Shutdown
4:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

For Obama And Boehner, No Sign Of Thaw In Frosty Relationship

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner take part in a ceremony to unveil a statue honoring the late civil rights activist Rosa Parks in the Capitol in February.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:13 am

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have had five years of fights and negotiations to learn how to work together.

The relationship has had ups and downs. Today it's as sour as it's ever been.

Even if they had a warm friendship, it might not be enough to solve the government shutdown. But the chilliness doesn't help.

'We Get Along Fine'

Their relationship has been a constant source of fascination in Washington. Interviewers ask the two men about it all the time. And they give pretty much the same response, year after year:

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It's All Politics
3:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Obama's Shift In Rhetoric Helping Democrats Stick Together

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid celebrate the open enrollment of the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday. During the government shutdown, the Democrats have been more unified than they have been in a long time.
Michael Reynolds EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 6:56 pm

President Obama has been railing against Republicans in Congress nearly every day this week.

"One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government," he said in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday. "All because they didn't like one law."

He's expected to take that message on the road on Thursday, visiting a construction company in Maryland to talk about the impact of the shutdown on the economy.

And that finger-pointing at Republicans is sure to be part of his speech again.

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It's All Politics
2:44 am
Sat September 28, 2013

In Washington's Fiscal Tango, Obama's Lacking A Dance Partner

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act on Thursday in Largo, Md. In the latest fiscal fight with Republicans, the president is lacking a partner to make a deal with — or even to vilify.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 10:16 am

Top White House aides constantly refer to a "civil war" in the Republican Party.

They sometimes use the phrase with near delight, reveling in the tensions that threaten to pull apart the GOP. But for President Obama, the divided opposition creates a major problem: He has neither a partner to cut a deal with nor a high-profile adversary to vilify.

That situation stands in stark contrast to previous fiscal standoffs.

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It's All Politics
4:36 am
Sun September 22, 2013

Obama's Passing Up Chances To Turn On The Charm

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive at last year's congressional picnic on the South Lawn of the White House. This year, the picnic — seen as a chance for lawmakers to socialize beyond party lines — was canceled.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 10:20 am

President Obama isn't known as a schmoozer like Bill Clinton or a back-slapper like George W. Bush. But he does know that a personal touch can woo allies and soften adversaries.

Right now, domestic and international crises are looming on all sides of the president. Although a little tenderness might come in handy, Obama is repeatedly passing up opportunities to wage a charm offensive.

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The Two-Way
7:25 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

White House Takes Stock Of Financial Crisis Five Years Later

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 1:20 pm

Five years ago this week, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and America's financial crisis began. On Monday morning, President Obama will mark the anniversary with a speech in the White House Rose Garden. The White House released a new report ahead of the address, assessing how the government's efforts to stabilize the economy turned out.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
2:40 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Syria Puts Obama's Multilateralist Philosophy To The Test

President Obama holds a press conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday on the sideline of the G-20 summit.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 12:11 am

President Obama has come home from the Group of 20 summit with essentially no more international support for a strike on Syria than when he left the U.S.

He spent the last three days in Sweden and Russia, lobbying U.S. allies on the sidelines and on the public stage, with little movement.

The conflict has presented perhaps the biggest challenge yet to Obama's multilateralist inclinations.

'A Hard Sell'

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National Security
8:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Obama's Sudden Shift On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 2:54 pm

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Wade Goodwyn. Rachel Martin is away. Syrians and the world have spent the last week bracing for a U.S. attack on Damascus that seemed to be imminent. Now, President Obama has surprised everyone by pushing the pause button and by announcing yesterday in the Rose Garden that he will go to Congress for approval. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from the White House.

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