Pam Fessler Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty and philanthropy.
Pam Fessler at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)
Stories By

Pam Fessler

Allison Shelley/NPR
Pam Fessler at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)
Allison Shelley/NPR

Pam Fessler

Correspondent, National Desk

Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues.

In her reporting at NPR, Fessler does stories on homelessness, hunger, affordable housing, and income inequality. She reports on what non-profit groups, the government, and others are doing to reduce poverty and how those efforts are working. Her poverty reporting was recognized with a 2011 First Place National Headliner Award.

Fessler also covers elections and voting, including efforts to make voting more accessible, accurate, and secure. She has done countless stories on everything from the debate over state voter identification laws to Russian hacking attempts and long lines at the polls.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Fessler became NPR's first Homeland Security correspondent. For seven years, she reported on efforts to tighten security at ports, airports, and borders, and the debate over the impact on privacy and civil rights. She also reported on the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, The 9/11 Commission Report, Social Security, and the Census. Fessler was one of NPR's White House reporters during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Before becoming a correspondent, Fessler was the acting senior editor on the Washington Desk and NPR's chief election editor. She coordinated all network coverage of the presidential, congressional, and state elections in 1996 and 1998. In her more than 25 years at NPR, Fessler has also been deputy Washington Desk editor and Midwest National Desk editor.

Earlier in her career, she was a senior writer at Congressional Quarterly magazine. Fessler worked there for 13 years as both a reporter and editor, covering tax, budget, and other news. She also worked as a budget specialist at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and was a reporter at The Record newspaper in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Fessler has a master's of public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from Douglass College in New Jersey.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

An aerial view shows homes under construction at a housing development in Petaluma, Calif., in January. As housing prices surge around the country, Democratic presidential candidates are offering plans to address the shortage of affordable homes and apartments. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Why Democratic Presidential Contenders Are Discussing Affordable Housing

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/733615931/733615932" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Harlem residents choose free groceries at the Food Bank For New York City in 2013. A number of new rules and actions proposed by the Trump administration could affect poor or low-income people who use government safety net programs. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
John Moore/Getty Images

A voting line trails outside of a precinct on Election Day 2016 in Durham, N.C. The county's polling places were plagued by malfunctioning equipment to check in voters that day, and it was later revealed that the vendor behind that equipment had been targeted by Russian hackers. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Low-Key Election Supervisors' Meeting Takes On New Dimension

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/726035410/726064036" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

An employee of the District of Columbia Housing Authority walks on the grounds of a public housing complex called Richardson Dwellings in Northeast Washington, D.C. The Trump administration wants to eliminate the federal fund now used to repair public housing in favor of attracting more private investment to repair and replace it. Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Amr Alfiky/NPR

Trump Administration Wants To Cut Funding For Public Housing Repairs

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/723231160/725610829" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Florida Governor Says Russia Hacked Into 2 Counties' Election Systems In 2016

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/723325863/723325864" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

HUD Secretary Ben Carson is portraying the proposed change as a way to help low-income Americans who are in need of housing assistance. Shannon Finney/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Shannon Finney/Getty Images

A sign announces the acceptance of electronic benefit transfer cards at a farmers market in California. Anti-poverty groups fear that many low-income people might be pushed off programs such as food stamps under a possible change to how the government measures poverty. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Trump Administration Considering Changes That Would Redefine The Poverty Line

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/721559472/721829031" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

An electronic voting machines that produces a paper receipt from Election Services & Software. The company is among those bidding to replace all of Georgia's voting machines but close relationships between state officials and ES&S have raised questions about the fairness of the bidding process. David Goldman/AP hide caption

toggle caption
David Goldman/AP

Trips To Vegas And Chocolate-Covered Pretzels: Election Vendors Come Under Scrutiny

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/718270183/719366924" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Challenges Remain In Securing U.S. Elections By 2020

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/715616259/715616260" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Voting booths at a polling station in Christmas, Fla., on Election Day 2016. A Florida-based company that provides election equipment to localities was hacked by Russia during the 2016 election, the Mueller report found. Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images

"I voted" stickers at a polling station on the campus of the University of California, Irvine, on Nov. 6, 2018 in Irvine, Calif. California, ten other states and the District of Columbia have all implemented automatic voter registration as a way of increasing voter turnout. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, seen here in February, spoke before the House and Senate appropriations committees Wednesday. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Franciscan Center in Baltimore serves a hot lunch daily to those who need extra help, even if they receive food stamps. Those benefits could end for 755,000 able-bodied adults. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Pam Fessler/NPR

More Than 750,000 Could Lose Food Stamps Under Trump Administration Proposal

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/707681965/708856258" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript