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

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

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Ride-Hailing Revolution Leaves Some People With Disabilities Behind

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The Psychological Effects Of Earthquakes Are Just As Real As The Physical Effects

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Ridgecrest Faces More Aftershocks Following 2 Powerful Earthquakes

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Border Patrol agents with a sniffer dog at the new and expanded Falfurrias checkpoint. Eric Westervelt/NPR hide caption

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As Migrants Stream In At The Border, Inland Checkpoints Feel The Strain

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Trump Hopes U.S.-Mexico Deal Will Stem The Flow Of Asylum-Seekers

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Bottaro recognizes that the trees around her house pose a potential fire risk. She says that maintaining the vegetation in the backyard and creating defensible space around the house is one more step toward fire mitigation. Next to her house, the city hired goats to clear away overgrown raspberry bushes in a park. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

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After Paradise, Living With Fire Means Redefining Resilience

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In Massachusetts last July, several Franklin County Jail inmates were watched by a nurse and a corrections officer after receiving their daily doses of buprenorphine, a drug that helps control opioid cravings. By some estimates, at least half to two-thirds of today's U.S. jail population has a substance use or dependence problem. Elise Amendola/AP hide caption

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County Jails Struggle With A New Role As America's Prime Centers For Opioid Detox

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A view of Pikes Peak from the Carroll Lakes, circa 1925. Katharine Lee Bates' trip up the Colorado mountain inspired her poem "America," later to become the song "America the Beautiful." Harry L. Standley/Courtesy of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum hide caption

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Greatness Is Not A Given: 'America The Beautiful' Asks How We Can Do Better

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California's Governor Says The State Will No Longer Execute People

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2nd Crash Of Boeing 737 Max 8 Leaves Flying Public Concerned

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Jay Jordan, 33, is the director of the #TimeDone/Second Chances project for the nonprofit Californians for Safety and Justice. The clinic involves public defenders who volunteer to help people get their criminal charges or records reduced or expunged. Philip Cheung for NPR hide caption

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Scrubbing The Past To Give Those With A Criminal Record A Second Chance

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Chico Housing Action Team organizers Leslie Johnson, left, Charles Withuhn, center, and Bill Kurnizki, right, in the field in south Chico where they plan to soon break ground on a 33-unit tiny home community for homeless adults called Simplicity Village. Eric Westervelt/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Homes For Homeless Get The Go-Ahead In The Wake of California's Worst Wildfire

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California's PG&E Power Utility Files For Bankruptcy After Wildfire Lawsuits

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Firefighters battle flames at a burning apartment complex in Paradise, Calif., in November. State fire officials say power lines coming into contact with trees have sparked multiple Northern California wildfires in recent years. PG&E filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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