Jennifer Ludden

Jennifer Ludden is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. She covers a range of stories on family life and social issues.

In recent years, Ludden has reported on the changing economics of marriage, the changing role of dads, the impact of rising student debt loads, and the ethical challenges of modern reproductive technology.

Ludden helped cover national security after the 9/11 attacks, then reported on the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal immigrants as well as Congressional efforts to pass a sweeping legalization. She traveled to the Philippines for a story on how an overburdened immigration bureaucracy keeps families separated for years, and to El Salvador to profile migrants who had been deported or turned back at the border.

Prior to moving into her current assignment in 2002, Ludden spent six years as a foreign reporter for NPR covering the Middle East, Europe, and West and Central Africa. She followed the collapse of the decade-long Oslo peace process, shared in two awards (Overseas Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists) for NPR's coverage of the Kosovo war in 1999, and won the Robert F. Kennedy award for her coverage of the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When not navigating war zones, Ludden reported on cultural trends, including the dying tradition of storytellers in Syria, the emergence of Persian pop music in Iran, and the rise of a new form of urban polygamy in Africa.

Before joining NPR in 1995, Ludden reported in Canada, and at public radio stations in Boston and Maine.

Ludden graduated from Syracuse University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in English and Television, Radio and Film Production.

On her first day back at work after giving birth, Tricia Olson drank copious amounts of coffee, stuffed tissues in her pocket, and tried not to cry. After all, her son Gus was just 3 weeks old. Olson, 32, works for a small towing company and U-Haul franchise in Rock Springs, Wyo., and she could not afford to be away from work any longer. "The house bill's not going to pay itself," she says, her voice breaking in an audio diary she kept as part of a series on the challenges facing working...

A powerful drug that's normally used to tranquilize elephants is being blamed for a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says communities everywhere should be on alert for carfentanil. The synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the prescription painkiller that led to the death earlier this year of the pop star Prince. Fentanyl itself can be up to 50 times more...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR .

Orientation at Arkansas Tech University this year included a surprising topic for a Bible Belt state that pushes abstinence-only in high school. Every freshman was shown a newly produced video in which real students talk about the struggle of an unplanned pregnancy, and the challenge of staying in school as a parent. "I lost a lot of friends," says one young woman in the video who had dreamed of becoming a surgeon. A young man says he "went from not having any responsibility to having a full...

Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many. He's at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a "small-family ethic" — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to "give them grandchildren." Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR .

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: In a surprise move, Baltimore prosecutors have dropped all charges against three officers who still face trial in the death of Freddie Gray. The death of that young black man last year touched off protests that turned violent. State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby had been lauded by some for swiftly charging six officers, but the case has been an uphill battle from the start. NPR's Jennifer Ludden is here with us to...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR .

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