Karen Grigsby Bates
Sandy Huffaker/N/A

Karen Grigsby Bates

Correspondent, Culver City, CA

Karen Grigsby Bates is the Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News. Bates contributed commentaries to All Things Considered for about 10 years before she joined NPR in 2002 as the first correspondent and alternate host for The Tavis Smiley Show. In addition to general reporting and substitute hosting, she increased the show's coverage of international issues and its cultural coverage, especially in the field of literature and the arts.

In early 2003, Bates joined NPR's former midday news program Day to Day. She has reported on politics (California's precedent-making gubernatorial recall, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign and the high-profile mayoral campaign of Los Angeles' Antonio Villaraigosa), media, and breaking news (the Abu Ghrarib scandal, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams).

Bates' passion for food and things culinary has served her well: she's spent time with award-winning food critic Alan Richman and chef-entrepreneur Emeril Lagasse.

One of Bates' proudest contributions is making books and authors a high-profile part of NPR's coverage. "NPR listeners read a lot, and many of them share the same passion for books that I do, so this isn't work, it's a pleasure." She's had conversations with such writers as Walter Mosley, Joan Didion and Kazuo Ishiguru. Her bi-annual book lists (which are archived on the web) are listener favorites.

Before coming to NPR, Bates was a news reporter for People magazine. She was a contributing columnist to the Op Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times for ten years. Her work has appeared in Time, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Essence and Vogue. And she's been a guest on several news shows such as ABC's Nightline and the CBS Evening News.

In her non-NPR life, Bates is the author of Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People, mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell. She is co-author, with Karen E. Hudson, of Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times, a best-selling etiquette book now in its second edition. Her work also appears in several writers' anthologies.

Bates holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College. Additionally she studied at the University of Ghana and completed the executive management program at Yale University's School of Organization and Management.

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Story Archive

Wes Moore speaks at the Robin Hood Veterans Summit at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on May 7, 2012 in New York City. Craig Barritt/Getty Images hide caption

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Shutdown Averted: White House Backs Down On Health Care Demands

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A demonstrator protests the verdict in the trial of four Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on April 29, 1992. Riots broke out in Los Angeles after a jury acquitted the four police officers accused of beating King. Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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'It's Not Your Grandfather's LAPD' — And That's A Good Thing

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Looters load up a car at the Viva shopping center near a billowing fire during the rioting that erupted in Los Angeles on April 29, 1992, after a jury found four Los Angeles Police Department officers not guilty in the beating of Rodney King. Ron Eisenbeg/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

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When LA Erupted In Anger: A Look Back At The Rodney King Riots

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Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., speaks at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Jan. 31. Waters called for an investigation into Trump administration ties to Russia. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images hide caption

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Fatima Avelica, 13, daughter of of Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, attends a rally with loved ones and supporters for his release outside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices on March 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. David McNew/Getty Images hide caption

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