Eric Westervelt Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk.
Stories By

Eric Westervelt

Allison Shelley/NPR
Eric Westervelt at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)
Allison Shelley/NPR

Eric Westervelt

Correspondent

Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.

For a decade as a foreign correspondent, Westervelt served as NPR reporter and bureau chief in Baghdad, Jerusalem, and Berlin. He's covered the Pentagon, the war in Afghanistan, and the U.S. invasion and troubled occupation of Iraq, including the insurgency, sectarian violence, and the resulting social and political tumult.

He has reported on the ground from North Africa during revolutions there, including from Tahrir Square during fall of Egypt's Mubarak, the front lines during the civil war and NATO intervention in Libya, and the popular uprising in Tunisia. He's also reported from Yemen, the Arabian Gulf states, and the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, Djibouti, and the Somalia border region.

Westervelt was among the first western reporters to reach Baghdad during the 2003 U.S-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein embedded with the lead elements of the army's Third Infantry Division. He was also among the first western reporters to enter the Gaza Strip via Egypt during the 2008-2009 Israeli ground offensive in the coastal Palestinian enclave known as the Gaza War.

Westervelt has reported extensively across the U.S. on big stories and breaking news, from mass shootings to natural disasters and police use of force. He helped launch NPR's innovative, award-winning education platform NPR Ed, and serves as a guest host for NPR news shows.

Westervelt is currently helping to launch a collaborative team that covers America's criminal justice system, including issues and reform efforts surrounding prisons, policing, juvenile justice, and the courts.

He's been honored with broadcast journalism's highest honors, including the 2002 George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the aftermath; the 2003 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of Sept. 11 and the subsequent war in Afghanistan; and 2004 and 2007 DuPont-Columbia Awards for NPR's in-depth coverage of the war in Iraq and its effect on Iraqi society. Westervelt's 2009 multimedia series with the late NPR photojournalist David Gilkey won an Overseas Press Club Award. He also recently shared in an Edward R. Murrow RTNDA Award with NPR Ed for innovative education coverage.

In 2013, Westervelt returned to the U.S. from overseas as a visiting journalism fellow at Stanford University with the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship

As Jerusalem bureau chief, Westervelt covered the failed diplomatic efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and the social, political, and cultural news across Israel and the occupied West Bank. He reported from the front lines of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah known as the Second Lebanon War. He was on the ground for multiple Israeli-Hamas battles in the Gaza Strip and the Fatah-Hamas civil war and battle of Gaza City that led to the current political split within the Palestinian Authority.

While based in Berlin, Westervelt covered a broad range of news across the region, including the Euro debt crisis, the rise of far right nationalists, national elections, and more.

Prior to his Middle East assignments, Westervelt covered military affairs and the Pentagon out of Washington, DC, reporting on the major defense, national security, and foreign policy issues of the day. He began his work at NPR on the network's national desk where his coverage spanned the mass shooting at Columbine High School, the presidential vote recount following the 2000 election, and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks reporting from the Ground Zero recovery in New York City, among many other stories.

On the lighter side, Westervelt also produces occasional features for NPR's Arts Desk, including for the series American Anthem, as well as Rock Hall Award profiles of blues great Freddie King and an exploration of roots rock pioneer Roy Orbison for NPR's 50 Great Voices series. His feature on the making of John Coltrane's jazz classic "A Love Supreme" was part of NPR's project on the most influential American musical works of the 20th century, which was recognized with a Peabody Award.

Before joining NPR, Westervelt worked as a reporter in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, reported for the broadcast edition of the Christian Science Monitor, Monitor Radio, and worked as a news director and reporter in New Hampshire for NHPR.

Westervelt grew up in upstate New York. He's a graduate of the Putney School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Reed College. He was a recipient in 2013 of a J.S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University.

Story Archive

Wednesday

Californians are reeling from 2 mass shootings that left at least 18 people dead

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1151270393/1151270394" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Tuesday

There's been another shooting massacre in California. This one in Half Moon Bay

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1150942713/1150942714" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Thursday

David Crosby, an icon of American rock, has died at age 81

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1150123764/1150126985" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Friday

California's San Quentin prison houses the state's only death row for male inmates. Death row for men and women will soon be dismantled. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California says it will dismantle death row. The move brings cheers and anger

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1148846720/1149148322" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Thursday

California moves ahead with efforts to dismantle the nation's largest death row

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1148810092/1148810124" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Thursday

The latest on the storm that has knocked out power to tens of thousands in California

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1147256378/1147298972" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Wednesday

Dire warnings of flooding, power outages and mudslides as storms hit California

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1146953382/1146960963" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Saturday

UC students on strike say they are overworked and underpaid

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1138018383/1138018384" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Wednesday

Jeremy Baldwin tags young cannabis plants Oct. 31, 2022, at a marijuana farm operated by Greenlight in Grandview, Mo. Voters in North Dakota, South Dakota and Arkansas have rejected measures to legalize recreational pot, while those in Maryland and Missouri have approved legalization. Charlie Riedel/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Charlie Riedel/AP

Monday

Man charged with assault and kidnapping for the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1132955006/1132955007" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Jars of marijuana line a shelf at The Flower Shop Dispensary in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Oct. 14, 2022. South Dakota's legal pot industry has started with medical cannabis, but voters are deciding whether to also legalize recreational pot. Stephen Groves/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Stephen Groves/AP

Tuesday

The office of the California Employment Development Department is seen in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Facing as much as $2 b billion in fraud, the EDD is near the top of California lawmakers fixit list as they prepare to return to the state Capitol in the new year. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Pandemic-related fraud totaled billions. California is trying to get some of it back

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1128561539/1129736038" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript