About The Code Switch Team

Remember when folks used to talk about being "post-racial"? Well, we're definitely not that. We're a team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting. Here's some more information about us:

Kat Chow

Kat Chow's role on the team includes reporting and telling stories using social media, sparking conversations online and blogging.

She previously worked with WGBH in Boston and was a reporting fellow for The Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper in Phnom Penh.

While a student at the University of Washington in Seattle, she was a founding member of a newsmagazine television show and freelanced for the Seattle Weekly. She also interned with the Seattle Times, KOMO News, Allrecipes.com, Comcast and worked on NBC's Winter Olympics coverage in Vancouver, B.C.

Gene Demby

Gene Demby is the team's lead blogger.

Before coming to NPR, he served as the editor and later covered politics for Huffington Post BlackVoices. He spent six years in various roles at The New York Times.

While working for the Times in 2007, he started a blog about race, culture, politics and media called PostBourgie, which won the 2009 Black Weblog Award for Best News/Politics Site.

He's an avid runner, mainly because he wants to stay alive long enough to finally see the Sixers and Eagles win championships in their respective sports.

Karen Grigsby Bates

Karen Grigsby Bates comes to the team after a year covering race, ethnicity and socio-cultural change for the network. Some of those stories included in-depth profiles of public intellectual Cornel West and civil rights lawyer Connie Rice; a look at Los Angeles' Korean American community 20 years after the LA Riots, and a piece on how Vietnamese Americans came to dominate the affordable manicure industry. Hers was one of the last profiles of LAPD beating victim Rodney King.

Prior to that, Bates spent several years as a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. Her first job at NPR was as a correspondent for Day to Day, its midday news program.

Bates was a print reporter before joining NPR and spent a decade as a contributing editor to the Op Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times. She was a freelance reporter for Time Magazine's Los Angeles bureau for several years, and her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Vogue and Emerge.

A graduate of Wellesley College, Bates also attended the University of Ghana, Yale University's School of Management, and Journalist Law School at Loyola University.

In her outside life, Bates is the author of Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People, mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell, and co-author, with Karen Elyse Hudson, of the best-selling etiquette book Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and are the parents of a college student who, they devoutly hope, will graduate on time so they can stop paying tuition.

Shereen Marisol Meraji

Shereen Marisol Meraji joined the team after reporting for Marketplace's Wealth & Poverty Desk. Before coming to Marketplace, Meraji was a business and economy reporter for Southern California Public Radio. There, she covered entertainment, technology, entrepreneurship, and breaking business news.

Meraji also worked at NPR from 2003-2011, first as a producer for Day to Day and then for NPR's flagship news magazine, All Things Considered. Over that time, Meraji produced by day and worked as a freelance reporter for NPR in her free time (nights, weekends, and vacations) until she landed a full-time reporting gig at Southern California Public Radio.

In 2007 Meraji received Johns Hopkins University's International Reporting Project Fellowship, which took her to Beirut, Lebanon. In Beirut, her stories focused on the effects of the 2006 war on youth and youth culture, and they aired on NPR. Meraji is a native Californian with family roots in Puerto Rico and Iran. Her first real job in college involved radio journalism and she hasn't been able to shake her passion for story telling since. The best career advice Meraji ever received was from veteran radio journalist Alex Chadwick, who said, "when you see a herd of reporters chasing the same story, run in the opposite direction."

Matt Thompson

Before joining Code Switch as the team's manager, Matt Thompson was an Editorial Product Manager at NPR, where he helped to coordinate the development of 12 niche, local websites in conjunction with NPR member stations. He is also an adjunct faculty member at American University. He previously served as an adjunct for the Poynter Institute, having completed a four-year term on the organization's National Advisory Board in 2010. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Center for Public Integrity.

Before coming to NPR, Thompson served as an interim Online Community Manager for the Knight Foundation. From 2008 to 2009, he was a Donald W. Reynolds Fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. He came to RJI from his position as deputy Web editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he led the creation of the award-winning arts-and-entertainment website vita.mn, as well as managing other technology and interactivity-related projects for StarTribune.com.

Thompson moved to the Star Tribune after serving as the first online reporter/producer for the Fresno Bee, winning first- and third-place Best of the West awards in 2004 for his multimedia projects. He worked at the Poynter Institute from 2003-04 as the Naughton Fellow for Online Reporting and Writing. While at Poynter, he and his colleague Robin Sloan produced the viral Flash movie EPIC 2014, a picture of the media past set 10 years in the future.

Thompson graduated with honors in English from Harvard College in 2002, after writing his senior thesis on the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." He can sing most of the musical episode.

Hansi Lo Wang

Before joining the Code Switch team, Hansi Lo Wang was a production assistant for NPR's Weekend Edition. He was previously awarded the NPR Kroc Fellowship, during which he reported for NPR's National Desk and Seattle public radio station KUOW.

As a student at Swarthmore College, Wang hosted, produced, and reported for a weekly, student-run program on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A Philadelphia native, Wang also founded a radio reporting program for high school students in Philadelphia's Chinatown and has worked as a refugee housing coordinator. He lives in Washington, D.C.


For more on the team, check out our about page. Don't miss our discussion guidelines. And if you're wondering what it means to "code-switch," you'll probably find this helpful.



Discussions about race, ethnicity and culture tend to get dicey quickly, so we hold our commenters on Code Switch to an especially high bar. We may delete comments we think might derail the conversation. If you're new to Code Switch, please read over our FAQ and NPR's Community Guidelines before commenting. We try to notify commenters individually when we remove their comments, but given that we receive a high volume of comments, we may not always be able to get in touch. If we've removed a comment you felt was a thoughtful and valuable addition to the conversation, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us by emailing codeswitch@npr.org.