Karen Grigsby Bates

Karen Grigsby Bates is the Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News. Bates contributed commentaries to All Things Considered for about 10 years before she joined NPR in 2002 as the first correspondent and alternate host for The Tavis Smiley Show. In addition to general reporting and substitute hosting, she increased the show's coverage of international issues and its cultural coverage, especially in the field of literature and the arts.

In early 2003, Bates joined NPR's former midday news program Day to Day. She has reported on politics (California's precedent-making gubernatorial recall, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign and the high-profile mayoral campaign of Los Angeles' Antonio Villaraigosa), media, and breaking news (the Abu Ghrarib scandal, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams).

Bates' passion for food and things culinary has served her well: she's spent time with award-winning food critic Alan Richman and chef-entrepreneur Emeril Lagasse.

One of Bates' proudest contributions is making books and authors a high-profile part of NPR's coverage. "NPR listeners read a lot, and many of them share the same passion for books that I do, so this isn't work, it's a pleasure." She's had conversations with such writers as Walter Mosley, Joan Didion and Kazuo Ishiguru. Her bi-annual book lists (which are archived on the web) are listener favorites.

Before coming to NPR, Bates was a news reporter for People magazine. She was a contributing columnist to the Op Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times for ten years. Her work has appeared in Time, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Essence and Vogue. And she's been a guest on several news shows such as ABC's Nightline and the CBS Evening News.

In her non-NPR life, Bates is the author of Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People, mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell. She is co-author, with Karen E. Hudson, of Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times, a best-selling etiquette book now in its second edition. Her work also appears in several writers' anthologies.

Bates holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College. Additionally she studied at the University of Ghana and completed the executive management program at Yale University's School of Organization and Management.

Pages

Pop Culture
5:00 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Bill Cosby Removed From Documentary On Black Stuntmen

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 6:34 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
NPR Ed
5:13 am
Tue July 28, 2015

The 'Swim Whisperer' Teaches Kids To Be Water-Safe

Cooper is known as the Swim Whisperer. He's been teaching swimming full-time since 1995.
Elissa Nadworny NPR

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 5:35 pm

If you looked at the children at the edge of Conrad Cooper's pool, you'd think you were watching an ad for something. Jell-O, maybe. Or a breakfast cereal kids like. They're that cute.

They're lined up on the steps in the shallow end, 10 little ones, ranging from age 2 to 5. The boys are in board trunks, many wearing rash-guard shirts like the weekend surfers they might become years from now. The girls wear bright one-piece suits and two-pieces that show their childish potbellies.

Read more
Code Switch
2:15 pm
Mon July 13, 2015

A Tribute To John Williams, The Man Who Wrote 'I Am'

John A. Williams, a renowned poet and novelist, died July 3. He was 89.
University of Rochester River Campus Libraries

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 10:14 pm

John A. Williams might be one of the most prolific writers most people have never heard of.

Although he was often compared to Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Williams didn't much like that. He felt that when black writers were lumped together by the literary establishment, only one at a time would be allowed to succeed. His novels, which were always focused through the prism of race and were told from his black characters' point of view, were well-reviewed. But Williams never reached the level of fame of writers like Wright, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.

Read more
U.S.
5:56 pm
Sun June 28, 2015

In The Aftermath Of Charleston, Many Whites Ask What They Can Do To Fight Racism

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 12:59 pm

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

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

And in the aftermath of those shootings in Charleston, many white Americans are wondering how they can fight racism. Karen Grigsby Bates from NPR's code-switch team reports on some suggestions.

Read more
Code Switch
7:03 am
Sun June 21, 2015

'Project Fatherhood': In A Struggling Neighborhood, Dads Are Helping Dads

A group of dads from Project Fatherhood join author Jorja Leap to celebrate the publication of her book, Project Fatherhood: A Story of Courage and Healing in One of America's Toughest Communities.
Todd Cheney Courtesy of UCLA Photography

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 2:39 pm

It's early evening and several men are making their way, alone or in twos or threes, to the community room at the Jordan Downs public housing complex. This building looks like everything else here: squat, rectangular, painted boring, government-regulation beige. But what's going on inside is pretty exciting.

It's Wednesday night, and Project Fatherhood is in session.

Read more
Race
5:09 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Players' Costs May Be A Factor In Why Tennis Leads Golf In Diversity

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:32 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Code Switch
3:37 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Is It An 'Uprising' Or A 'Riot'? Depends On Who's Watching

What do you see in this image? An "uprising" or a "riot"?
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 11:08 am

Read more
Code Switch
3:13 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Trevor Noah Is A Quarter Jewish. Does That Make His Anti-Semitic Jokes OK?

Trevor Noah at a Comedy Central event in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2012.
Dominic Barnardt/Gallo Images Getty Images

Editor's note: This post contains words and sentiments you might find deeply offensive.

The glow had barely dimmed on Comedy Central's unveiling of comedian Trevor Noah as the new host of The Daily Show when Noah's Twitter past came under fire. His critics have called some of his old tweets offensive, racist, misogynistic, homophobic and — the charge that seems to be getting the most attention — anti-Semitic.

Read more
Code Switch
7:31 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

From Selma To Eisenhower, Trailblazing Black Reporter Was Always Probing

Ms. Payne interviewing a soldier from Chesapeake, Va., in Vietnam in 1967.
Courtesy of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center/Harper Collins

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 9:39 am

When Ethel Payne stood to ask President Dwight Eisenhower a question at a White House press conference in July 1954, women and African-Americans were rarities in the press corps. Payne was both, and wrote for The Chicago Defender, the legendary black newspaper that in the 40s and 50s, was read in black American households the way The New York Times was in white ones.

Read more
Code Switch
7:03 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Reverend Willie T. Barrow, A 'Little Warrior' For Civil Rights, Dies

Rev. Willie Barrow, a 'superdelegate,' attending the opening night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The long-time activist, who was a mentor to President Obama, died on Thursday.
Melanie Stetson Freeman Christian Science Monitor/Getty

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 5:01 pm

Read more

Pages