Karen Grigsby Bates Karen Grigsby Bates is an NPR correspondent.
Karen Grigsby Bates
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Karen Grigsby Bates

Karen Grigsby Bates

Correspondent

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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Founder of Ebony magazine and Johnson Publishing Company John H. Johnson. Almost 15 years after the company was handed down to his daughter, JPC is filing for bankruptcy. Bettmann/Getty Images hide caption

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Bettmann/Getty Images

Johnson Publishing Company Files For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection

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LA Johnson/NPR

When Civility Is Used As A Cudgel Against People Of Color

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'Unexampled Courage' Tells The Story That Inspired Integration Of U.S. Armed Forces

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John Hunter Gray, Of Mississippi Lunch Counter Sit-In, Dies At 84

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Rev. Jerome LeDoux, Who Fought To Keep His Church Open After Katrina, Dies At 88

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Contemporary reprints of original Green Books from 1940 (front) and 1954. Karen Grigsby Bates hide caption

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Karen Grigsby Bates

The Green Book: Celebrating 'The Bible of Black Travel'

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In a video produced by ACRONYM, woman calls 911 and informs the police Todd doesn't plan to vote. ACRONYM/Screenshot by NPR hide caption

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ACRONYM/Screenshot by NPR

Getting Out The Youth Vote With A Dash Of Snark

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Extending gloved hands skyward in racial protest, U.S. athletes Smith and Carlos stare downward during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City on Oct. 16, 1968. AP hide caption

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AP

Those Raised Fists Still Resonate, 50 Years Later

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50 Years Later, Raised Fists During National Anthem Still Resonate

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Imani Perry, author of Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry Sameer A. Khan hide caption

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Sameer A. Khan

Lorraine Hansberry: Radiant, Radical — And More Than 'Raisin'

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New Biography More Fully Defines Playwright Lorraine Hansberry

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Remembering Dancer And Choreographer Arthur Mitchell

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