Steve Inskeep

Steve Inskeep is host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the United States. He co-hosts the program with Renee Montagne and David Greene.

Known for probing questions to everyone from presidents to warlords to musicians, Inskeep has a passion for stories of the less famous—like an American soldier who lost both feet in Afghanistan, or an Ethiopian woman's extraordinary journey to the United States.

Since joining Morning Edition in 2004, Inskeep has hosted the program from New Orleans, Detroit, Karachi, Cairo, Houston and Tehran; investigated Iraqi police in Baghdad; and received a 2006 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award for "The Price of African Oil," on conflict in Nigeria. In 2012 he traveled 2,700 miles across North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring. In 2013 he reported from war-torn Syria, and on Iran's historic election. In 2014 he drove with colleagues 2,428 miles along the entire U.S.-Mexico border; the resulting radio series, "Borderland," won widespread attention, as did the acclaimed NPR online magazine of the same name.

Inskeep says Morning Edition works to "slow down the news," making sense of fast-moving events. A prime example came during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when Inskeep and NPR's Michele Norris conducted "The York Project," groundbreaking conversations about race, which received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence.

Inskeep was hired by NPR in 1996. His first full-time assignment was the 1996 presidential primary in New Hampshire. He went on to cover the Pentagon, the Senate, and the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, he covered the war in Afghanistan, turmoil in Pakistan, and the war in Iraq. In 2003, he received a National Headliner Award for investigating a military raid gone wrong in Afghanistan. He has twice been part of NPR News teams awarded the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for coverage of Iraq.

On days of bad news, Inskeep is inspired by the Langston Hughes book, Laughing to Keep From Crying. Of hosting Morning Edition during the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, he told Nuvo magazine when "the whole world seemed to be falling apart, it was especially important for me ... to be amused, even if I had to be cynically amused, about the things that were going wrong. Laughter is a sign that you're not defeated."

Inskeep is the author of Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi, a 2011 book on one of the world's great megacities. He is also author of Jacksonland, a forthcoming history of President Andrew Jackson's long-running conflict with John Ross, a Cherokee chief who resisted the removal of Indians from the eastern United States in the 1830's.

He has been a guest on numerous TV programs including ABC's This Week, NBC's Meet the Press, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, CNN's Inside Politics and the PBS Newhour. He has written for publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic.

A native of Carmel, Indiana, Inskeep is a graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Pages

NPR Story
5:41 am
Sun March 23, 2014

Congressmen Are Bullish On The Borderlands

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 9:36 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We begin our next story with the sound of a parade this month in Brownsville, Texas.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more
Parallels
10:22 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Always Watching: A Fragile Trust Lines The U.S.-Mexico Border

Dob Cunningham (left) and his friend Larry Johnson look over the edge of Cunningham's 800-acre ranch in Quemado, Texas.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 12:21 pm

We drove 2,428 miles on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and it's safe to say that for much of the road trip, we were being watched.

Border Patrol agents, customs officers, cameras, sensors, radar and aircraft track movement in the Borderland. None of that has stopped the struggle to control the border, or the debate over how best to do it.

Read more
Parallels
5:35 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Borderland: A Journey Along The Changing Frontier

Dob Cunningham (right) and his friend Larry Johnson stand on the edge of Cunningham's 800-acre ranch in Quemado, Texas, which touches the Rio Grande. On the other side, Mexico.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 3:42 pm

My colleagues and I drove 2,428 miles and remained in the same place.

We gathered a team, rented a car, checked the batteries in our recorders and cameras. We moved from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. We crossed deserts, plains and mountains. But all the while, we were living in Borderland — zigzagging across the frontier between Mexico and the United States.

Read more
NPR Story
5:28 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Remembering The Alamo With A Texas Historian

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

At The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, historian Frank de la Teja explains how the dividing line between the United States and Mexico came to be drawn where it is.

Africa
4:07 am
Thu December 19, 2013

U.S. Diplomat Tours Central African Republic

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 10:08 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The American ambassador to the United Nations is visiting Central African Republic today. Before becoming a diplomat, Samantha Power was a journalist who wrote about stopping genocide. And now she is visiting a country where there's fear of one. Fighting between Muslims and Christians has killed nearly 1,000 people. NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with Ambassador Power. She's on the line. Hi, Michele.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: Where are you now, and what have you seen?

Read more
Environment
3:14 am
Tue November 26, 2013

A View From China, India On Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Well, let's hear from some of the rest of the world. We're gonna go to China and India and to NPR correspondents in those countries, beginning with NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Beijing. Hi, Anthony.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

Read more
Research News
2:23 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Study: Commuting Adversely Affects Political Engagement

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Okay. We all know about the partisan divide in this country - Democrats, Republicans - but there's another political divide. Part of the country is very engaged in the political process and part is not.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Older Americans, richer Americans and better educated Americans are more likely to be politically engaged. Now researchers have found one more factor that seems to shape political engagement, the length of your commute. It comes to our attention as MORNING EDITION focuses on commuting.

Read more
Asia
6:12 am
Fri November 15, 2013

China Expected To Loosen One-Child Policy

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 8:49 am

A state-run news service says the government will make a big change to the policy designed to restrain population growth. That policy has also led to a relative shortfall of young people and especially of girls.

Asia
4:22 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Grim Details Reveal Brutal Effects Of Philippine Typhoon

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:25 am

The official death toll from the typhoon is expected to keep rising — thousands are still missing. Aid continues to come into the Philippines from around the world, but its flow is being hampered by poor logistics. The central government is being blamed for not doing more.

Asia
6:15 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Tacloban Took Brunt Of Typhoon Haiyen

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We have two perspectives now on the destruction a typhoon left behind in the Philippines. The first is the view from the air. It comes from U.S. Marine Brigadier General Paul Kennedy, who is coordinating an American military effort to help typhoon survivors. Not long ago, General Kennedy stepped on board a helicopter for what he called reconnaissance. He flew over a wide strip of land struck by one of the strongest storms on record.

Read more
Politics
10:13 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Senate Expected To Announce Deal To Raise Debt Limit

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Hours before a deadline to extend the federal debt limit, the stock market seems kind of comfortable. The Dow Jones Industrials are actually up this morning, amid some hope that Congress may agree on a measure to avoid default and also reopen the federal government.

Read more
Research News
2:11 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Why College Freshmen May Feel Like Impostors On Campus

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 9:47 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tens of thousands of freshman have just finished their first month in college. They've signed up for classes, met a bunch of other people and, if history is any guide, asked themselves a question: What am I doing here? Everyone else is smarter and better adjusted than I am. And for some, that question totally changes the college experience, may even cause them to drop out, which is why a researcher was determined to intervene. He told his story to NPR's Shankar Vedantam, who's here to tell it to us. Hi, Shankar.

Read more
Business
5:46 am
Mon October 14, 2013

3 American Economists Win Nobel Prize

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Planet Money
2:21 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Prize In Economics A Latecomer To Nobel Lineup

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Later this morning, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics will be announced in Sweden. Unlike some other Nobel Prizes we've heard about in recent days, this one comes with an asterisk. And NPR's Robert Smith is covering the story. He's in New York. Hi, Robert.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Hey, it's good to be here.

INSKEEP: Why is there an asterisk over the Nobel Prize in Economics?

Read more
Research News
2:44 am
Wed October 9, 2013

3 Scientists Share 2013 Nobel Prize For Chemistry

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 4:08 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be shared by three scientists who took chemistry inside the world of computing. This powerful technology is now used to develop drugs and perform all sorts of vital tasks in chemistry. The three winners were all born overseas but collaborated in the United States and elsewhere in the 1970s, where they started their work.

Read more
Research News
2:55 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Nobel Prize Awarded In Medicine

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 3:55 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. This year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine will go to three scientists who have figured out how cells package up material - like hormones - and how they deliver those materials to other cells. This is one of the most basic functions for living cells and diseases can result when the machinery goes awry, so it's important to understand.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:38 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Netanyahu's Push: Countering Iranian Leader's Charm Offensive

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 7:07 am

It must be draining to do eight interviews in a row, but Benjamin Netanyahu seemed energized by it. The Israeli prime minister walked into our meeting in a New York hotel room bantering and smiling. He commented on the shades (pulled down to avoid a backlit photo) and noticed a novel that our engineer had brought along. Netanyahu picked it up and looked it over — a novel by Joe Hill, the pen name for the son of Stephen King.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:09 am
Tue October 1, 2013

After Shutdown, A Familiar Feeling At The White House

Steve Inskeep interviews President Obama in the Oval Office on Monday for NPR's Morning Edition.
Pete Souza The White House

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 9:17 am

President Obama spoke with NPR in the Oval Office on Monday, as a visiting group of young people in suits got a tour of the Rose Garden outside the windows. The most striking part of our encounter in this moment of crisis was how familiar the atmosphere seemed.

Read more
Law
4:10 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Holder Makes Moral Argument Against Mandatory Sentences

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The nation's top law enforcement officer says the criminal justice system is broken. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus yesterday.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: Throughout this country, too many Americans are trapped and too many Americans are weakened by a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration.

Read more
Parallels
3:28 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

As Sanctions Squeeze, Iranians Keep Improvising

Female supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, chant slogans at a campaign rally in Tehran on Wednesday, two days ahead of the election.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:59 pm

Iranians have lived with American sanctions for many years, and we could see the evidence of this when we stepped into a Tehran shop called GM Auto Parts.

It had the famous blue and white General Motors logo, though the sign, like almost everything in the spare parts shop for American cars, looked decades old.

Read more
Parallels
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Iran's Election May Not Really Be About Picking A President

Female supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, hold up posters and national flags at a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, on May 24. Jalili advocates for traditional roles for women and resistance against the U.S.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 7:55 am

When Iranians vote Friday for president, it will be an election unlike any other.

Clerics who hold supreme power in the Islamic Republic have allowed elections for decades.

But while the people vote, clerics and their allies make the rules. Those already in power choose who can run for office and limit what they do if elected.

Restrictions are tighter than ever after massive protests that followed a disputed election in 2009. In fact, the country has come to redefine the whole purpose of an election.

Read more
Middle East
1:28 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Despite Limited Election Choices, Iranians Eager To Be Heard

Supporters of Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator and a candidate in Iran's June 14 presidential election, attend a street campaign after Friday prayers in Tehran on June 7.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:53 am

The day we arrived in Iran's capital, Tehran, billboards along the drive from the airport to the city center were already telling us something about what's happening in the country as it prepared for Friday's presidential elections.

We see typical highway signs for Sony Ericsson, but also billboards featuring the face of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. We also see and drive under giant signs that are from Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urging people to vote.

Read more
The Salt
10:40 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Za'atar: A Spice Mix With Biblical Roots And Brain Food Reputation

Lebanese bread topped with za'atar, a spice mix ubiquitous in the Middle East.
Photostock Israel Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 9:27 am

NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep recently traveled to Damascus for a series of reports on the ongoing war in Syria. He sent this postcard from the road.

Dear Salt:

On my first day in Damascus, I went walking in the ancient bazaar — narrow stone-paved streets surrounding a great stone mosque. The mosque is so old, it used to be a church during the Roman Empire, and before it was a church, it was a pagan temple. The bazaar is surely as old as the mosque, for Damascus is a historic city of trade.

Read more
Parallels
3:23 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Inmates In A Venezuelan Prison Build A World Of Their Own

At this prison in Barinas, Venezuela, the inmates are in charge.
Steve Inskeep NPR

In Latin America — home to the vast majority of the world's most violent cities — it's said the only part of a prison a guard controls is the gate, leaving convicts to fend for themselves inside, even running criminal networks from behind bars.

I wanted to understand how a prison like that worked, and I was in luck: A colleague knew a man serving time a Venezuelan prison. The prisoner got in touch with the leader of the inmates, who sent word that he'd be willing to see us.

Read more
Parallels
5:15 am
Mon June 10, 2013

In Venezuela, A Family Blames The Police For Their Misery

Eloisa Barrios visits the humble graves of nine male family members in the Guanayen cemetery. She says all nine were killed by the police, in what was a vendetta against her family. Recently, a 10th member of the family was stabbed to death. He was 17.
Meridith Kohut for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 3:05 pm

The story of Venezuela's Eloisa Barrios is especially revealing because so many of her relatives have been killed. Revealing because of who she believes pulled the trigger.

Some weeks ago, Barrios climbed into our van for a drive to a cemetery. The burial ground is outside a village in the Venezuelan countryside. We went there to visit the Barrios family dead.

She told us nine relatives had been killed in shootings over the past 15 years. All nine were young men.

Read more
Parallels
12:50 am
Thu June 6, 2013

For Venezuelans, Kidnappings Are Simply Business As Usual

Kidnappings and other crime have infiltrated every aspect of daily life in Venezuela, especially the capital, Caracas, which was recently ranked the world's third most violent city.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:18 pm

German Garcia-Velutini got into his car and left work one day. It took him 11 months to get home.

Kidnappers had nabbed the Venezuelan banker. His abduction is part of a problem that's been getting worse every year for the past decade in Venezuela, which belongs to a region riddled with crime and the most violent cities in the world.

Gracia-Velutini tells his story at an outdoor table at a hotel in Caracas, the capital, with a view of a mountainside that climbs into the clouds.

Read more
Middle East
3:54 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Fight For Homs Fades From Headlines As War In Syria Rages

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 8:23 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. We're going to get a glimpse from the front lines of the civil war in Syria now. That war is expected to be the focus of peace negotiations, in the coming weeks. The U.S. is pressing for those talks after brutal fighting, fighting that's begun to spread to neighboring countries.

Read more
Parallels
3:24 am
Sun June 2, 2013

A City Of Assad Supporters In War-Ravaged Syria

The port city of Tartous is in a region loyal to President Bashar Assad. The city has been a refuge for supporters to vacation and seek work.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 12:33 pm

Many people in Syria are accustomed to the sound of daily gunfire. It is normal in battle-scarred cities like Damascus or Qusair.

But along the beaches and in the cafes of Tartous, an area that is a center of support for the embattled President Bashar Assad, the sounds are a bit more peaceful.

Near the water's edge of the Mediterranean, tables, chairs and umbrellas sit upon huge stones. At one of these tables sits a brother and sister on vacation.

Read more
Parallels
12:58 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Syria's Civil War: The View From A Damascus Shrine

Zeinab
Nishant Dahiya NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am

Traveling to Damascus gives you a view of Syria's war turned inside out.

The international community talks of arming Syria's rebels against President Bashar Assad, but in the capital many people still hope the rebels will lose.

That's the thinking we found around a Muslim shrine in Damascus, a tribute to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She lived centuries ago, but a Damascus doctor we met spoke of her in the present tense.

Read more
Parallels
10:52 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

In Damascus, A View Of Syria's War Turned Inside Out

The Ummayyid Mosque in Damascus has been a mosque for around 1,400 years. It sits in the center of a city where many people are struggling to live normal lives amid war.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 7:41 am

Many years ago, the president of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, approved the construction of a new presidential residence on a mountainside above Damascus.

Assad never occupied the building, saying his successor should take it. When his son Bashar Assad became that successor, he didn't move into the house, either. He preferred a residence down the slope.

Read more

Pages