Marisa Peñaloza

Marisa Peñaloza is a Producer on the National Desk. From breaking news to documentary-style features, Peñaloza's productions are among the signature pieces heard on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. Her work has covered a wide array of topics, from hurricanes, education, immigration, politics and the economy to homeland security and litigation. She has also produced investigative reports and traveled across the U.S. and the world for NPR.

Although Peñaloza's permanent assignment is on the National Desk, she occasionally travels overseas on assignment. She was in Haiti soon after the heartquake hit near Port au Prince in early 2010. She's covered education in Peru and a dengue outbreak in El Salvador, the Madrid train bombings in Spain as well as the Tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Last year, she traveled to Honduras to cover the sock industry as part of a two-part series on globalization and to El Salvador to produce a series of stories on immigration. Her past productions include coverage of the Elian Gonzalez custody battle from Miami, protests outside the Navy site on the Island of Viequez, in Puerto Rico, the aftermath of the crash of the American Airlines flight 587 in New York. She contributed to NPR's 9/11 coverage. Peñaloza was one of the first NPR staff members to arrive on the Virginia Tech campus to cover the shootings in 2007. She was on assignment in Houston waiting for hurricane Ike to make landfall in September 2008, and she continues to produce coverage of New Orleans recovery after Katrina.

Peñaloza is an award-winning journalist. This year, Peñaloza and a NPR team were honored with several awards for "Dirty Money," an enterprising four-part series of stories that examined law enforcement's pursuit of suspected drug money, which they can confiscate without filing charges against the person carrying it. Local police and sheriffs get to keep a portion of the cash. The awards for "Dirty Money" include the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award in the investigative reporting category; the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Foundation Award; and the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award in the "best website" category.

In 2008, Peñaloza was honored by the Education Writers Association with its "National Award for Education Reporting" for a year-long NPR on-air and online series following a Baltimore-area high school's efforts to improve student achievement. She won the Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for Excellence in Reporting on Drug and Alcohol Problems in 2007, for a five-part series of stories that examined this country's gains and losses since the war on drugs was launched more than thirty years ago, "The Forgotten Drug Wars." She is the recipient of the 2005 unity award for producing Debbie Elliott's Brown vs Board of Education piece, "Before Desegregation: The Education Migration."

In 2003, Peñaloza produced a two-part story entitled "Corruption at the Gates." NPR correspondent John Burnett and Peñaloza discovered that some U.S. border officials are on the take, illegally passing drugs and immigrants into the country in return for bribes. The reports won them a National Headliner Award in the investigative reporting category.

In 2001, "Globalization and the Return of Dengue" won Peñaloza the Pan American Health Organization's Award for Excellence in International Health Reporting. The story was part of a series of stories for NPR and American Radio Works on globalization and disease.

Peñaloza made the leap from television to radio in 1997, when she joined NPR's National Desk. Before coming to NPR she was a staff at the local NBC station and a freelance writer for the Fox affiliate in Washington, DC.

Peñaloza graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, DC with bachelor's degrees in Broadcast Media and Political Science. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband Eric Niiler, also a journalist, and son Diego.

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1:04am

Wed April 4, 2012
Sports

U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastics Star Readies For London

Rhythmic gymnast Julie Zetlin, seen here during last October's Pan-American Games, hopes to win a medal for the United States at the Summer Olympics in London.
Martin Bernetti AFP/Getty Images

10:01pm

Mon January 16, 2012
Latin America

The Challenge Of Measuring Relief Aid To Haiti

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 7:13 am

Pierre Jean Nelson (left) has lived at Champs de Mars, a camp for displaced people, since the quake hit.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

After Haiti's devastating earthquake two years ago, Americans donated large sums of money. This helped charities and aid groups save lives immediately after the disaster. But it's been much harder for them to help Haitians rebuild their devastated country. In the second of two stories, NPR's Carrie Kahn and Marisa Penaloza report that its difficult to get detailed information about how organizations spend their money.

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10:01pm

Sun January 15, 2012
Latin America

Two Years After Quake, Many Haitians Await Aid

Originally published on Mon January 16, 2012 9:05 pm

Seventy-three temporary wooden shelters were built last month by the American Red Cross together with other nongovernmental organizations in the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Some residents of the new settlement, Village Carvil, have already added living space with tarps.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

First of a two-part report.

It was two years ago this month that a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands and leaving more than a million people homeless. Through U.S. charities, Americans donated more than $1.8 billion, but some in Haiti haven't seen much of that yet.

Charles Giiagliard, his wife and their five children live in a tiny one-room shack in downtown Port-au-Prince.

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4:00am

Sat January 14, 2012
Reporter's Notebook

In Haiti, Hope Is Still Hard To Find

Elicia Andre, who says she used to be much larger — a sign of affluence in Haiti — is now skin and bones.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

You can see some progress in Haiti two years since the 7.0-magnitude quake hit. But Port-au-Prince is a tour of unrelenting misery and often disturbing images. Things are happening — slowly. You can tell the pace of progress by looking into people's eyes — emptiness looks back at you. Pain is etched on their faces.

You see it in Elicia Andre. We met her back in December at the homeless encampment run by Catholic Relief Services in Port-au-Prince, where she sought refuge after the quake. The charity had just given her $500 to rent an apartment for a year.

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4:04am

Sun December 11, 2011
Living Large: Obesity In America

Spandex Stretches To Meet U.S. Waistlines

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 4:44 pm

Ed Gribbin, head of Alvanon, says spandex is a "democratic" fiber because it morphs to the body as opposed to limiting it.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America

When you think of spandex, 1970s disco mania may come to mind. Spandex came off the dance floor and into everyone's closet — stretchy leggings, jumpsuits and leg warmers were the rage. But spandex had a life before disco. It was invented by two DuPont chemists. It made its debut in 1959, first used in bras and jockstraps, as well as in workout gear.

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