Frank Langfitt Frank Langfitt is NPR's Global Democracy correspondent based on the Investigations desk in Washington, D.C.
Frank Langfitt
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Frank Langfitt

Julie Langfitt
Frank Langfitt
Julie Langfitt

Frank Langfitt

Global Democracy Correspondent

Frank Langfitt is NPR's Global Democracy correspondent based on the Investigations desk in Washington, D.C. He covers threats to democracy at home and abroad. Please send tips to Frank Langfitt on Signal or Telegram.

Previously, Langfitt spent nearly two decades as an international correspondent reporting from more than 50 countries and territories. Based most recently in London, he covered the UK and Ireland, as well as the war in Ukraine and its implications in Europe.

Langfitt was one of three NPR correspondents in Ukraine when Russia invaded in February 2022. He reported on battlefield tactics, Europe's political response, the impact of Western weapons, Finland and Sweden's push to join NATO and the war's effect on front-line states, including Moldova and Poland.

Langfitt arrived in London in June 2016. A week later, the UK voted for Brexit. He went on to cover the most tumultuous period in British politics in decades, including five prime ministers. Langfitt also reported on Chinese influence campaigns, terror attacks, a renewed push for Scottish independence, political tensions in Northern Ireland and the death of the Queen.

In 2022, Langfitt won an Edward R. Murrow award for a journey across London exploring the evolution of the English pub. Langfitt has contributed to NPR podcasts, including Consider This, The Indicator from Planet Money, Code Switch and Pop Culture Happy Hour. He has also appeared on the BBC and PBS Newshour.

Before Europe, Langfitt spent five years as an NPR correspondent in China, where he covered the first term of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Based in Shanghai, Langfitt also drove a free taxi around the city for a series on a changing China as seen through the eyes of ordinary people. As part of the series, he drove passengers back to the countryside for Chinese New Year and served as a wedding chauffeur. Langfitt expanded his reporting into a book, The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China (Public Affairs, Hachette).

While in China, Langfitt also reported on the government's infamous "black jails" — secret detention centers — as well as his own struggles taking China's driver's test, which he failed three times.

Before moving to Shanghai, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He covered the civil war in Somalia, helped track elephants in South Sudan, and interviewed imprisoned Somali pirates, who insisted they were just misunderstood fishermen. During the Arab Spring, Langfitt covered the crushing of the democracy movement in Bahrain.

Prior to Africa, Langfitt was NPR's labor correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covered coal mine disasters in West Virginia, the 2008 financial crisis and the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler. His story with producer Brian Reed on how GM failed to learn from a joint-venture factory with Toyota was featured on This American Life.

Langfitt also won an Edward R. Murrow award for NPR's team coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an Overseas Press Award for The Baltimore Sun's team coverage of environmental pollution in China and a citation from the White House News Photographers Association for documenting the destruction of a Beijing neighborhood.

Highlights from Frank Langfitt

Before coming to NPR, Langfitt spent five years as a correspondent in Beijing for The Baltimore Sun, covering a swath of Asia from East Timor to the Khyber Pass.

Langfitt spent his early years in journalism stringing for the Philadelphia Inquirer and living in Hazard, Kentucky, where he covered the state's Appalachian coalfields for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Prior to becoming a reporter, Langfitt dug latrines in Mexico and drove a taxi in his hometown of Philadelphia. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

Story Archive

Wednesday

People in Ramallah look into the window of a gold store, one of the West Bank businesses affected by the economic decline resulting from Israel's war in Gaza. Ayman Oghanna for NPR hide caption

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Ayman Oghanna for NPR

Tuesday

Joudeh Said runs a carpentry business in the West Bank, and has been having trouble with customers paying. "They give me a check, and then the check bounces, and then I have to chase them." he says. Ayman Oghanna for NPR hide caption

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Ayman Oghanna for NPR

The Economic Impact of the War, In Israel And In the West Bank

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Saturday

2024 is a big election year around the globe. Will democracy win?

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Friday

Israeli soldiers work on artillery after coming out of Gaza and across the border into Israel on Dec. 28, 2023. Maya Levin for NPR hide caption

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Maya Levin for NPR

Thursday

How the war in Gaza is taking a toll on Israel's economy

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Thursday

War in Gaza ends effort by Netanyahu's government to overhaul the judiciary

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Friday

More than 20,000 people have now been killed in Gaza since the start of the war, according to Gaza's Ministry of Health. Above, a home in Rafah is shown in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike. Anas Baba/NPR hide caption

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Anas Baba/NPR

Wednesday

The death toll from Israel's offensive in Gaza nears 20,000 people

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Saturday

Images showing Israeli soldiers stripping and 'humiliating' Palestinians spark outrage

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Thursday

Israel pushes back as the Biden administration pressures it to spare Gaza civilians

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Friday

Britain's Boris Johnson, pictured in 2021, resigned as prime minister last year, but his policies are still felt. He resigned his seat in the House of Commons last week after receiving a draft of a report excoriating his behavior as prime minister. Toby Melville/WPA Pool/Getty Images hide caption

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Toby Melville/WPA Pool/Getty Images

As the U.S. and democracies worldwide face threats, Britain shows how to fight back

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Thursday

Boris Johnson tried to chip away at Britain's checks and balances — he failed

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Monday

NPR's Frank Langfitt reflects on covering a tumultuous seven years in the U.K.

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Thursday

Reaction in Ireland to President Biden's visit is lukewarm

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Tuesday

Biden begins his three-day visit to the island of Ireland in Belfast

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Tuesday

How Scotland's incoming prime minister is making history

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Monday

Magnus Ek, 53, a retired Swedish lieutenant, is teaching a group of Ukrainian conscripts how to fire an AK-47 in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region. Ek, who spent a decade as an instructor in Sweden, is among a group of foreign military volunteers who have gone to train Ukrainians how to defend their country from Russia's invasion. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

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Frank Langfitt/NPR

Foreign volunteers race to train new Ukrainian troops to be sent to the front

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Wednesday

A look at one volunteer's efforts to rescue civilians from Bakhmut, Ukraine

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Thursday

Flags of different nations. The new Freedom House report finds that the gap between the number of countries where freedom has improved and where it has declined is at its narrowest in 17 years. Oliver Helbig/Getty Images hide caption

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Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

Thursday

Max, 33, a Ukrainian sniper, poses in the backyard of the reconnaissance team's safe house in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. He's holding a "trophy" — an antitank missile taken off Russian soldiers. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

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Frank Langfitt/NPR

In the Donbas, Russia's vast numbers of troops weigh heavily on Ukraine's defenders

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Thursday

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg pledged the alliance's support for Ukraine. Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images

After the Ukraine war, what comes next? NATO allies don't agree

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Wednesday

The view from Ukrainian soldiers, the Pentagon and U.S. lawmakers as the war grind on

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Monday

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a virtual address to Congress at the U.S. Capitol on March 16, 2022, less than a month after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Volodymyr Zelenskyy went from comedian to icon of democracy. This is how he did it

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President Biden makes an unannounced trip to Ukraine's capital

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