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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This coyote was one of several collared by wildlife biologists monitoring their behavior in the Bay Area headlands. Authorities are trying to catch an unusually bold coyote in the East Bay responsible for attacks on humans. San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst N/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Imag hide caption

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San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst N/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Imag

Pandemic Approaches: The Differences Between Florida, California

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In this Jan. 31, 2020, file photo, a masked worker cleans a street in the Chinatown district in San Francisco. Police and volunteers have increased their street presence after a series of violent attacks against older Asian residents in Bay Area cities stoked fear and subdued the celebratory mood leading up to the Lunar New Year. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File) Ben Margot/AP hide caption

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New Surge Of Violent Attacks Against Asian Americans In Bay Area

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California's first surgeon general, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, is sworn in by Gov. Gavin Newsom in February 2019. A leading voice on health care equity, she's helping shape the state's vaccination makeover following its rocky start. CA Governors Office. hide caption

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CA Governors Office.

California, Nation's Most Populous State, Struggles With Vaccine Rollout

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Pro-Trump supporters breeched security and stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Federal authorities as well as several local departments are looking into whether any off-duty officers were involved in the attack. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump extremists climb the walls of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The pro-Trump mob broke windows of the Capitol and clashed with police officers. Now there's debate about whether federal charges of seditious conspiracy should be used against some of the rioters. Jon Cherry/Getty Images hide caption

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Federal 'Strike Force' Builds Sedition Cases Against Capitol Rioters. Will It Work?

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Should Capitol Rioters Be Charged With Seditious Conspiracy?

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Ashli Babbitt of San Diego, seen here in a photo posted on Twitter in 2020, was shot and killed by U.S. Capitol Police during the insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday. @Ashli_Babbitt/Screenshot by NPR hide caption

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@Ashli_Babbitt/Screenshot by NPR

Authorities Identify Woman Killed By Police During U.S. Capitol Rioting

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California Hospitals Face Staff Shortages As Hospitalizations Soar

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In California, COVID-19 Optimism Is Tempered By Rising Infections, Full ICUs

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These days only park rangers and loggers are allowed in to Big Basin Redwoods State Park following a devastating wildfire that destroyed most of the infrastructure in California's oldest and one of its most iconic state parks. Big Basin is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coastal redwoods south of San Francisco. Eric Westervelt/NPR hide caption

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California's Ancient Redwoods Face New Challenge From Wildfires And Warming Climate

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San Quentin State Prison in California is among several across the U.S. that have experienced coronavirus outbreaks. David Paul Morris /Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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David Paul Morris /Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pandemic's Deadly Toll Behind Bars Spurs Calls For Change In U.S. Jails And Prisons

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