Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro has reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One. He has covered wars in Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel, and he has filed stories from five continents. (Sorry, Australia.)

In 2015, Shapiro joined Kelly McEvers, Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel as a weekday co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.

Shapiro was previously NPR's International Correspondent based in London, from where he traveled the world covering a wide range of topics for NPR's national news programs.

Shapiro joined NPR's international desk in 2014 after four years as White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama's first and second terms. In 2012, Shapiro embedded with the presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney. He was NPR Justice Correspondent for five years during the George W. Bush Administration, covering one of the most tumultuous periods in the Department's history.

Shapiro is a frequent guest analyst on television news programs, and his reporting has been consistently recognized by his peers. The Columbia Journalism Review honored him with a laurel for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans. The American Bar Association awarded him the Silver Gavel for exposing the failures of Louisiana's detention system after Hurricane Katrina. He was the first recipient of the American Judges' Association American Gavel Award for his work on U.S. courts and the American justice system. And at age 25, Shapiro won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission.

An occasional singer, Shapiro makes guest appearances with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini, whose recent albums feature several of his contributions. Since his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, Shapiro has performed live at many of the world's most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, L'Olympia in Paris, and Mount Lycabettus in Athens.

Shapiro was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale. He began his journalism career as an intern for NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, who has also occasionally been known to sing in public.

What does it mean to be middle class in America? Nearly a century ago, in Detroit — which was then the burning core of the country's middle class — the answer might have looked like a hot dog: a Detroit Coney, to be precise.

At its most basic, a Detroit Coney is a kind of chili dog — "a steamed bun, with a natural-casing hot dog, beef and pork," explains Joe Grimm, author of the book Coney Detroit. "And on top of that hot dog — which should be grilled, not boiled, not deep-fried — goes the sauce, the most important part."

In the U.S., affordable housing has always been a big concern for poor people.

Now in some of America's biggest cities, "middle class" families can't afford the rent. And that is making affordable housing a more important issue for the elected leaders who run these cities.

As part of the All Things Considered series "The New Middle," a look at what it means to be middle class in America today, NPR's Ari Shapiro went to the most expensive city in the country to see what happens when you earn a middle class salary in an upper class town.

While covering the aftermath of the shooting at Pulse in Orlando, Fla., NPR's Ari Shapiro realized he had gone to the nightclub more than a decade ago.

"We saw you there by yourself and wanted to make sure you were, you know, part of the group," recalls Nathan Jokers, a former Pulse bartender. "We didn't want you to feel alone."

You can listen to their conversation at the audio link above.

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In a remote corner of eastern India, far in the jungle and hours by boat from any village, there is a camp with a brightly colored shrine to a forest goddess. Behind a tall fence, a statue of Bonbibi wears silks and garlands, with a gold headdress. She shelters a boy from a tiger.

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In a dimly lit hut made of mud and straw, a shaft of sunlight slices through a hole in the ceiling and lands on a bag of rice. Debendra Tarek, 80, pulls out a handful of the rough brown grains and holds them up to the beam of light.

His bare chest is sunken, and his eyes glow deep in their sockets. "This resists the saltwater," the village elder explains through an interpreter. This variety of rice, he says, allows his family to remain here on Ghoramara, the island where they were born.

Waiting quietly in the living room of a home in an upscale New Delhi neighborhood are a dozen people of all ages — maids, security guards, construction workers, all of whom earn at most a few dollars a day. The elegant, plant-filled room is hushed except for the sound of coughing.

Over in the next room, Dr. Gita Prakash is at her dining table with a stethoscope pressed to a pregnant woman's chest. Prakash has been treating indigent patients here for 30 years, six nights a week, in the evenings after she finishes her rounds at the local hospital where she works.

A few months ago, when we were in Toledo, Ohio, we spotted a small item in the Toledo City Paper about a tattoo artist named Brian Finn.

Finn has been tattooing for nearly 20 years. These days, he does it on his days off, too — but not for just anyone. On those days, he's creating tattoos for people with scars caused by trauma: domestic violence, human trafficking or self-inflicted.

In Flint, Mich., government officials allowed water from the Flint River to corrode the city's pipes, leaching lead and other toxins into the tap water. The damaged pipes continue to contaminate the water, and it could take months — or years — to repair and rebuild the water system.

It could take even longer to rebuild something more abstract: trust, between citizens and their government.

Roxanne Adair, a vendor at the local farmers market, says this goes deeper than just the water.

The problems with high lead levels in Flint, Mich.'s water started in April 2014, when the city switched water sources and began drawing its supply from the Flint River. The new water was harder, and government officials allowed it to corrode the city's pipes, leaching lead and other toxins into the tap water.

In Flint, Mich., families are using bottled water to do everything — from cooking to bathing.

The tap water is still unsafe to drink after government officials allowed corroded lead pipes to poison the water.

People in Flint have lots of questions for those officials. Perhaps the biggest is the one Hattie Collins has.

"When are you gonna fix it? And I mean fix it right," she says.

Hillary Clinton walks a daily tightrope between attacking Republicans and trumpeting her ability to work with them. Republicans "seem to be very fact averse," she told me in an interview, shortly after saying "I'm interested in us solving problems together."

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Transcript

STEPHEN MARCUS: Hello, everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Hi.

MARCUS: You're on the Gangster London Tour. This thing here...

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Nearly 200 countries are attending the Paris climate summit and nearly every one has something at stake. Yet it's hard to find anyone with more on the line than Tony de Brum, the foreign minister for the Marshall Islands.

"The Marshall Islands covers an area of approximately a million square miles of ocean. Many people call us a small island state. I prefer to be called a large ocean state," de Brum says.

At the U.N. climate summit in Paris, the U.S. has a big footprint. Cabinet officials scurry from meeting to meeting, trying to get a binding deal that would help some 200 countries slow the planet's warming. Yet in some ways, the United States is an outlier.

"Everybody else is taking climate change really seriously," President Obama said during his visit to Paris at the start of the summit. "They think it's a really big problem."

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In the United States, a baby is born dependent on opiates every 30 minutes. In Tennessee, the rate is three times the national average.

The drug withdrawal in newborns is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, which can occur when women take opiates during their pregnancies.

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Dr. Tim Littlewood handles more gross and terrifying creatures than just about anyone in London.

And he loves it.

"I'm a parasitologist," he explains, "so I tend to work on things that live inside other animals. And most people think of them as quite gross and revolting. But upon looking at these things and studying them, [I find] they are the most beautiful, spectacular animals you can find."

Although you wouldn't want to get one inside of you.

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Now we have an odd-couple story. Actually, it's an odd group of five. They're all in their 20s living in one house in Toledo, Ohio.

For a place that five guys live, this is kind of shockingly clean.

Neatly trimmed lawns divide dozens of identical two-story brick buildings that make up the Kenwood Gardens apartment complex in Toledo, Ohio. The people who live here are college students, blue-collar workers and — as of recently — refugees from Syria's civil war.

It's where Omar Al-Awad and his family are settling into their new life in America. On a recent morning, the apartment is already bustling: a tea kettle is on the stove, and Omar's wife, Hiyam, is helping their three children review what they learned in their first day of American school.

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This story is the latest in NPR's Cities Project.

Getting around a city is one thing — and then there's the matter of getting from one city to another. One vision of the perfect city of the future: a place that offers easy access to air travel.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Well, we've been making some special arrangements of our own to welcome two voices you know to our regular host lineup. Starting next week, NPR's Kelly McEvers and Ari Shapiro will join us as hosts of ALL THING CONSIDERED.

Today, the 53 countries of the British Commonwealth mark a historic milestone as Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history.

She surpasses Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, seven months and two days.

Sixty-four years ago, Quentin Wadman was a Boy Scout in Kenya, then a British colony.

Elizabeth, then still a princess, was visiting, and there weren't enough police, so the Boy Scouts were called in to line the route.

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