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.

[+] read more[-] less

Purchase Featured Books

Plain Brown Wrapper: An Alex Powell Novel

Purchase Book

Purchase Featured Book

Title
Plain Brown Wrapper: An Alex Powell Novel
Author
Karen Grigsby Bates

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

The New Basic Black : Home Training for Modern Times

Purchase Book

Purchase Featured Book

Title
The New Basic Black : Home Training for Modern Times
Author
Karen Grigsby Bates

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Morris Robinson in the Los Angeles Opera's 2009 production of The Magic Flute. Los Angeles Opera hide caption

toggle caption Los Angeles Opera

On his new album The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You, musician Shawn Amos combines old-school style with new tools. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Music News

Shawn Amos' Long Road To Old-School Blues

The veteran singer, songwriter and producer recently released The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You, which combines old-fashioned blues music with new technology.

Listen Loading… 4:33
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/463212069/463371560" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Kenya Barris, the creator and writer of Black-ish, in his office on the ABC lot in Burbank, Calif., in December. Black-ish is now in its second season, airing on ABC. Megan Miller for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Megan Miller for NPR

Code Switch

Kenya Barris Creates An 'Absolutely Black' Family for Prime Time

"We're kind of taught to give your kids more than you had. But in giving them more, what do they lose?" asks the creator of Black-ish.

Listen Loading… 4:35
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/459073469/459378548" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Sweet potato pie has long been a cultural touchstone in the black community. But you don't need Patti's product to try a slice — links to good recipes below. Daniel Zemans/Flickr Creative Commons hide caption

toggle caption Daniel Zemans/Flickr Creative Commons
Diane Bigda/Getty Images/Illustration Works

A screenshot from a video made by a Spring Valley High School student on Monday, Oct. 26, shows Senior Deputy Ben Fields trying to forcibly remove a student from her chair after she refused to leave her high school math class, in Columbia, S.C. CBS This Morning via YouTube hide caption

toggle caption CBS This Morning via YouTube

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor