Steve Inskeep

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.

Known for interviews with presidents and Congressional leaders, Inskeep has a passion for stories of the less famous: Pennsylvania truck drivers, Kentucky coal miners, U.S.-Mexico border detainees, Yemeni refugees, California firefighters, American soldiers.

Since joining Morning Edition in 2004, Inskeep has hosted the program from New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, Cairo, and Beijing; investigated Iraqi police in Baghdad; and received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "The Price of African Oil," on conflict in Nigeria. He has taken listeners on a 2,428-mile journey along the U.S.-Mexico border, and 2,700 miles across North Africa. He is a repeat visitor to Iran and has covered wars in Syria and Yemen.

Inskeep says Morning Edition works to "slow down the news," making sense of fast-moving events. A prime example came during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when Inskeep and NPR's Michele Norris conducted "The York Project," groundbreaking conversations about race, which received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence.

Inskeep was hired by NPR in 1996. His first full-time assignment was the 1996 presidential primary in New Hampshire. He went on to cover the Pentagon, the Senate, and the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he covered the war in Afghanistan, turmoil in Pakistan, and the war in Iraq. In 2003, he received a National Headliner Award for investigating a military raid gone wrong in Afghanistan. He has twice been part of NPR News teams awarded the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for coverage of Iraq.

On days of bad news, Inskeep is inspired by the Langston Hughes book, Laughing to Keep From Crying. Of hosting Morning Edition during the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, he told Nuvo magazine when "the whole world seemed to be falling apart, it was especially important for me ... to be amused, even if I had to be cynically amused, about the things that were going wrong. Laughter is a sign that you're not defeated."

Inskeep is the author of Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi, a 2011 book on one of the world's great megacities. He is also author of Jacksonland, a history of President Andrew Jackson's long-running conflict with John Ross, a Cherokee chief who resisted the removal of Indians from the eastern United States in the 1830s.

He has been a guest on numerous TV programs including ABC's This Week, NBC's Meet the Press, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, CNN's Inside Politics and the PBS Newshour. He has written for publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic.

A native of Carmel, Indiana, Inskeep is a graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky.

The new commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says he is reviewing scores of incidents in which agents have used deadly force.

R. Gil Kerlikowske made that statement during an exclusive interview with NPR's Morning Edition. It was his first extended conversation about controversial incidents in which the Border Patrol has killed civilians without apparent accountability. (Click here for a full transcript of the interview.)

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Now let's remember a writer who was published for the first time in the final years of his life. Jamil Ahmad has died at the age of 83. When he was 79, he published a book of short stories to widespread acclaim.

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NPR's Business News begins with the price of a safety defect. This is a developing story today. General Motors has agreed to pay $35 million in fines for violating federal safety laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has been investigating GM's handling of a recall of 2.6 million cars due to faulty ignition switches. They were linked with a number of deaths as you may recall. The agency wanted to find out how long GM new about the problem and whether the recalls could've come sooner.

Tijuana is itself a creation of the border. The borderline was drawn here in 1848, as the United States completed its conquest of the present-day American Southwest. The border, along with the growth of San Diego and Los Angeles, gave Tijuana a reason to be.

It's hard enough to drive through the Arizona desert, where the sun is harsh and the distances immense. This is the story of people who walk it.

In particular, it's the story of Brenda, who asked us to use only her first name. She told us yet another of the unbelievable stories you hear in the Borderland.

We met her in Nogales, Sonora, on the northern border of Mexico opposite Arizona. She was living in a shelter for deported people, where she told us of her brief and difficult stay in the United States.

Columbus, N.M., is all about the border. It's an official border crossing. Its history centers on a cross-border raid. In more recent years, it was a transit point for illegal weapons heading south into Mexico.

It's also the destination for children heading north to a U.S. school.

All the different strands of Columbus came together when we spent the day with the new mayor of the village. Phillip Skinner, former real estate developer and maquiladora owner-turned politician and school bus driver, was inaugurated early this month, on the morning we rolled into town.

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About midway through our road trip along the U.S./Mexico border, my colleagues and I rode up a mountain. Okay. Should we hop in?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hop in.

INSKEEP: We boarded a tram car suspended by a cable.

We had just finished our time in Juarez, Mexico, when we had dinner with some distant relations on the U.S. side of the border. "You," one of my relatives said, "are the first Juarez survivors we've seen in some time."

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We begin our next story with the sound of a parade this month in Brownsville, Texas.

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We drove 2,428 miles on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and it's safe to say that for much of the road trip, we were being watched.

Border Patrol agents, customs officers, cameras, sensors, radar and aircraft track movement in the Borderland. None of that has stopped the struggle to control the border, or the debate over how best to do it.

Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep stops in Zapata, Texas, in the latest installment of our Borderland series. Zapata is the hometown of the lead singer of Intocable, a band popular on both sides of the border. Ricky Munoz explains how listening to a mix of Mexican music, country hits and rock bands like Def Leppard while growing up influenced his band.

My colleagues and I drove 2,428 miles and remained in the same place.

We gathered a team, rented a car, checked the batteries in our recorders and cameras. We moved from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. We crossed deserts, plains and mountains. But all the while, we were living in Borderland — zigzagging across the frontier between Mexico and the United States.

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Elsewhere on today's program, we began hearing about Steve Inskeep road trip along the U.S./Mexico border. His team set off from the Gulf of Mexico and headed west towards the Pacific, seeking stories of people, goods and culture that cross the border.

Less than a week before Christmas, holly-jolly holiday music abounds — and if you're not feeling holly or jolly, it can be a little hard to take. For NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Morning Edition producer Travis Larchuk, the holidays often mean searching for alternatives: In Thompson's case, it means diversions into melancholy, while Larchuk often seeks something cutting or sarcastic or hyperrealistic to cut through the treacle.

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A music video made in Venezuela this year calls attention to a special kind of crime: corruption by Venezuelan police.

Two rappers who go by the names Apache and Canserbero show themselves driving a beat-up Lincoln, maybe from the 1970s. They're pulled over at a checkpoint by cops who want cash.

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Well, let's hear from some of the rest of the world. We're gonna go to China and India and to NPR correspondents in those countries, beginning with NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Beijing. Hi, Anthony.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

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Okay. We all know about the partisan divide in this country - Democrats, Republicans - but there's another political divide. Part of the country is very engaged in the political process and part is not.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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