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.

Story Archive

Can Rage Hotlines Prevent Some Mass Shootings? Researchers Study The Idea

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A demonstrator holds her hands up while she kneels in front of the Police at the Anaheim City Hall on June 1, 2020 in Anaheim, California. Reform pressures have many cops leaving the job. APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

Visitors feel the heat in California's Death Valley earlier this week. This record-setting heat wave's remarkable power, reach and unusually early appearance is giving meteorologists yet more cause for concern about extreme weather in an era of climate change. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Mike Marshall is the co-founder and director of Oregon Recovers. He says he's concerned the state is failing to expand addiction treatment capacity in a strategic way. "So we put the cart before the horse," he says. Eric Westervelt/NPR hide caption

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Oregon's Pioneering Drug Decriminalization Experiment Is Now Facing The Hard Test

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Oakland City Vice Mayor and Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan says sending police to mental health and behavioral calls they aren't trained for is a mistake cities keep repeating. Philip Pacheco/ AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Philip Pacheco/ AFP via Getty Images

Oakland Becomes Latest City Looking To Take Police Out Of Some Nonviolent 911 Calls

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Owner and founder Jeff Smith in front of what remains of Hourglass' winery and processing facility in California's Napa Valley. He's rebuilding, but wildfires have him rethinking everything about his land and business. Eric Westervelt/NPR hide caption

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Deepening Drought Holds 'Ominous' Signs For Wildfire Threat In The West

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Julia Sherwin, lawyer for the family of Mario Gonzalez, speaks about his death in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday. Members of the Gonzalez family believe police used excessive force when they attempted to arrest him. Josh Edelson/AP hide caption

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Police Bodycam Footage Released After Man Died During Arrest In Alameda, Calif.

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Cities Looking To Reform Police Traffic Stops To Combat 'Fishing Expeditions'

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The U.S. Has Restricted Assault-Style Weapons Before. Did It Work?

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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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