Laura Sydell

Laura Sydell

Correspondent, Arts Desk

Laura Sydell fell in love with the intimate storytelling qualities of radio, which combined her passion for theatre and writing with her addiction to news. Over her career she has covered politics, arts, media, religion, and entrepreneurship. Currently Sydell is the Digital Culture Correspondent for NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and

Sydell's work focuses on the ways in which technology is transforming our culture and how we live. For example, she reported on robotic orchestras and independent musicians who find the Internet is a better friend than a record label as well as ways technology is changing human relationships.

Sydell has traveled through India and China to look at the impact of technology on developing nations. In China, she reported how American television programs like Lost broke past China's censors and found a devoted following among the emerging Chinese middle class. She found in India that cell phones are the computer of the masses.

Sydell teamed up with Alex Bloomberg of NPR's Planet Money team and reported on the impact of patent trolls on business and innovations particular to the tech world. The results were a series of pieces that appeared on This American Life and All Things Considered. The hour long program on This American Life "When Patents Attack! - Part 1," was honored with a Gerald Loeb Award and accolades from Investigative Reporters and Editors. A transcript of the entire show was included in The Best Business Writing of 2011 published by Columbia University Press.

Before joining NPR in 2003, Sydell served as a senior technology reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, where her reporting focused on the human impact of new technologies and the personalities behind the Silicon Valley boom and bust.

Sydell is a proud native of New Jersey and prior to making a pilgrimage to California and taking up yoga she worked as a reporter for NPR Member Station WNYC in New York. Her reporting on race relations, city politics, and arts was honored with numerous awards from organizations such as The Newswomen's Club of New York, The New York Press Club, and The Society of Professional Journalists.

American Women in Radio and Television, The National Federation of Community Broadcasters, and Women in Communications have all honored Sydell for her long-form radio documentary work focused on individuals whose life experiences turned them into activists.

After finishing a one-year fellowship with the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, Sydell came to San Francisco as a teaching fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California, Berkeley.

Sydell graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree from William Smith College in Geneva, New York, and earned a J.D. from Yeshiva University's Cardozo School of Law.

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A person plays Candy Crush Saga on his tablet in Lille, northern France. This year, mobile games revenues are expected to fly past console games and hit more than $30 billion worldwide. Philippe Hugen /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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In Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, director Alex Gibney turns a critical lens on the Apple co-founder and his products. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures hide caption

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A federal judge in California has allowed some Uber drivers to proceed with a class-action suit against the company. Jeff Chiu/AP hide caption

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Jack Douglass says he lost thousands of dollars when his YouTube video was uploaded to Facebook. YouTube hide caption

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Farmer Dave Alford can't fix his own tractors like this one because it's run by software with proprietary digital locks. Laura Sydell/NPR hide caption

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Customers try out cellphones and tablets in a store in Tehran, in 2012. Financial sanctions make it difficult for U.S. firms to do business in Iran, analysts say. Vahid Salemi/AP hide caption

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Comedian Ari Shaffir performs at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June in Manchester, Tenn. Shaffir has said fellow comedian Carlos Mencia stole his joke about who would build a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border. Copyright on jokes is difficult to prove, and it turned out two other comedians had made similar jokes as well. John Davisson/Invision/AP hide caption

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