About The Code Switch Team : Code Switch Information about Code Switch, NPR's race, ethnicity and culture team.
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About The Code Switch Team

Remember when folks used to talk about being "post-racial"? Well, we're definitely not that. We're a team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting. Here's some more information about us:

Shereen Marisol Meraji

Shereen Marisol Meraji joined the team after reporting for Marketplace's Wealth & Poverty Desk. Before coming to Marketplace, Meraji was a business and economy reporter for Southern California Public Radio. There, she covered entertainment, technology, entrepreneurship, and breaking business news.

Meraji also worked at NPR from 2003-2011, first as a producer for Day to Day and then for NPR's flagship news magazine, All Things Considered. Over that time, Meraji produced by day and worked as a freelance reporter for NPR in her free time (nights, weekends, and vacations) until she landed a full-time reporting gig at Southern California Public Radio.

In 2007 Meraji received Johns Hopkins University's International Reporting Project Fellowship, which took her to Beirut, Lebanon. In Beirut, her stories focused on the effects of the 2006 war on youth and youth culture, and they aired on NPR. Meraji is a native Californian with family roots in Puerto Rico and Iran. Her first real job in college involved radio journalism and she hasn't been able to shake her passion for story telling since. The best career advice Meraji ever received was from veteran radio journalist Alex Chadwick, who said, "when you see a herd of reporters chasing the same story, run in the opposite direction."

You can read Shereen's stories here, and follow her on Twitter at @radiomirage.

Gene Demby

Gene Demby is the team's lead blogger.

Before coming to NPR, he served as the editor and later covered politics for Huffington Post BlackVoices. He spent six years in various roles at The New York Times.

While working for the Times in 2007, he started a blog about race, culture, politics and media called PostBourgie, which won the 2009 Black Weblog Award for Best News/Politics Site.

He's an avid runner, mainly because he wants to stay alive long enough to finally see the Sixers and Eagles win championships in their respective sports.

You can read Gene's stories here, and follow him on Twitter at @geedee215.

Adrian Florido

Adrian Florido comes to Code Switch from member station KPCC in Los Angeles, where he covered public and community health. Before that, he was the border reporter at KPBS in San Diego, where he worked on the Fronteras Desk covering news from the Southwest. He's reported on the US-Mexico border and Tijuana, immigrant and tribal communities, and demographics and culture. He began his journalism career at the Voice of San Diego, where he reported on neighborhoods.

Adrian is a Southern California native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago. He's a runner and a lover of good coffee and great music. He also has a love of Son Jarocho, a traditional music from the Mexican state of Veracruz. He travels there as often as possible to learn from master musicians.

You can read Adrian's stories here, and follow him on Twitter at @adrianflorido.

Karen Grigsby Bates

Karen Grigsby Bates comes to the team after a year covering race, ethnicity and socio-cultural change for the network. Some of those stories included in-depth profiles of public intellectual Cornel West and civil rights lawyer Connie Rice; a look at Los Angeles' Korean American community 20 years after the LA Riots, and a piece on how Vietnamese Americans came to dominate the affordable manicure industry. Hers was one of the last profiles of LAPD beating victim Rodney King.

Prior to that, Bates spent several years as a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. Her first job at NPR was as a correspondent for Day to Day, its midday news program.

Bates was a print reporter before joining NPR and spent a decade as a contributing editor to the Op Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times. She was a freelance reporter for Time Magazine's Los Angeles bureau for several years, and her work has also appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Essence, Vogue and Emerge.

A graduate of Wellesley College, Bates also attended the University of Ghana, Yale University's School of Management, and Journalist Law School at Loyola University.

In her outside life, Bates is the author of Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People, mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell, and co-author, with Karen Elyse Hudson, of the best-selling etiquette book Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and are the parents of a college student who, they devoutly hope, will graduate on time so they can stop paying tuition.

You can read Karen's stories here, and follow her on Twitter at @karenbates.

Leah Donnella

Leah Donnella is Code Switch's assistant editor. Before joining the team, Leah worked with Public Media Commons at WHYY in Philadelphia, teaching high school students the basics of journalism and film-making. She also spent two years working at the University of Pennsylvania, where she coordinated programming for Gregory House, the film and foreign language residence hall.

As an undergraduate at Pomona College, Leah edited the Africana Studies newsletter. In high school, she penned the wildly popular advice column, "Ask Leezul."

You can read Leah's stories here, and follow her on Twitter at @AskLeezul.

Maria Paz Gutierrez

Maria Paz Gutierrez is Code Switch's production assistant.

Before joining the team, Maria Paz floated around NPR working with Invisibilia, How I Built This, TED Radio Hour, and just about every news show in the building.

As an undergraduate at Rollins College, she spent years of her time in a basement, DJ'ing for her college radio station under the moniker Paz — she even hosted a show call "Daft Chillin' with Paz." Eventually, she moved her way up to station manager. If you see her, you should probably ask her about Brazilian music of the 1960's and 70's — that's where her jams live.

You can read Maria Paz's stories here, and follow her on Twitter at @mpazgr.

Jess Kung

Jess Kung is one of Code Switch's summer interns. They are a recent graduate of Long Beach State University, where they studied journalism with minors in documentary film and queer studies. They were heavily involved with student media and became the editor-in-chief of the campus alt-monthly, 22 West Magazine. Previously they interned with KCRW in Santa Monica, for the podcast The Document. If they ever have to go into hiding, the first thing they'd do is shave off all the pink hair they've been trying to grow out (they'd be sad about it).

You can follow them on Twitter at @jessskung.

Kat Chow

Kat Chow is a reporter with Code Switch. She's currently on book leave.

She previously worked with WGBH in Boston and was a reporting fellow for The Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper in Phnom Penh.

While a student at the University of Washington in Seattle, she was a founding member of a newsmagazine television show and freelanced for the Seattle Weekly. She also interned with the Seattle Times, KOMO News, Allrecipes.com, Comcast and worked on NBC's Winter Olympics coverage in Vancouver, B.C.

You can read Kat's stories here, and follow her on Twitter at @katchow.

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