Laura Sydell
NPR/N/A

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 NPR.org.

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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Inventor Thomas Edison stands in his chemistry lab in West Orange, N.J., in 1904. Thomas Edison National Historical Park/National Park Service hide caption

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Thomas Edison National Historical Park/National Park Service

Before Silicon Valley, New Jersey Reigned As Nation's Center Of Innovation

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For Video Soundtracks, Computers Are The New Composers

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David Giovannoni uses a reproduction of Scott's phonautograph. Giovannoni is part of the team that recovered the audio from Scott's recordings. Art Silverman/NPR hide caption

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At The Dawn Of Recorded Sound, No One Cared

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Dan Howley tries out the Google Daydream View virtual-reality headset and controller on Oct. 4, 2016, following a product event in San Francisco. This week, Google announced plans for stand-alone VR goggles that won't need to be attached to a PC or smartphone. Eric Risberg/AP hide caption

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Google Is Investing In 'Immersive Technology'

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Tom Hanks stars in The Circle as a tech CEO who is part Steve Jobs and part Mark Zuckerberg. Frank Masi/STX Entertainment hide caption

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In 'The Circle', What We Give Up When We Share Ourselves

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A conference worker passes a demo booth at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference, on Tuesday in San Jose, Calif. Noah Berger/AP hide caption

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Murder Video Again Raises Questions About How Facebook Handles Content

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YouTube has changed the way it pays video creators. One says his earnings have recently "taken a huge nose dive." Danny Moloshok/AP hide caption

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Online Video Producers Caught In Struggle Between Advertisers And YouTube

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Morning News Brief: Jared Kushner Rising, Bill O'Reilly's Future, YouTube Ads

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Has Apple Lost Its Innovation Mojo?

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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will take the same position at the head of Verizon's Oath. Mary Altaffer/AP hide caption

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Yahoo And AOL Move In Together Under 'Oath,' Verizon's New Digital Arm

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Tech Companies Have Mixed Feelings Toward Trump Administration

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Rise Of Artificial Intelligence Met With Mixed Reaction At SXSW

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Pro-Trump supporters, left, argue with demonstrators after a Feb. 18 march in Los Angeles to protest the president's immigration policies. Sociologists say President Trump's actions and rhetoric are politically energizing both conservatives and liberals. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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On Both The Left And Right, Trump Is Driving New Political Engagement

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Even after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, there have been efforts to pass a religious freedom bill. LGBTQ rights advocates believe lawmakers anticipate support from the Trump administration. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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LGBTQ Advocates Fear 'Religious Freedom' Bills Moving Forward In States

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