Tom Gjelten

Tom Gjelten covers a wide variety of global security and economic issues for NPR News. He brings to that assignment many years covering international news from posts in Washington and around the world.

Gjelten's overseas reporting experience includes stints in Mexico City as NPR's Latin America correspondent from 1986 to 1990 and in Berlin as Central Europe correspondent from 1990 to 1994. During those years, he covered the wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Colombia, as well as the Gulf War of 1990-1991 and the wars in Croatia and Bosnia.

With other NPR correspondents, Gjelten described the transitions to democracy and capitalism in Eastern Europe and the breakup of the Soviet Union. His reporting from Sarajevo from 1992 to 1994 was the basis for his book Sarajevo Daily: A City and Its Newspaper Under Siege (HarperCollins), praised by the New York Times as "a chilling portrayal of a city's slow murder." He is also the author of Professionalism in War Reporting: A Correspondent's View (Carnegie Corporation) and a contributor to Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (W. W. Norton).

Prior to his current assignment, Gjelten covered U.S. diplomacy and military affairs, first from the State Department and then from the Pentagon. He was reporting live from the Pentagon at the moment it was hit on September 11, 2001, and he was NPR's lead Pentagon reporter during the war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. Gjelten has also reported extensively from Cuba in recent years, visiting the island more than a dozen times. His 2008 book, Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause (Viking), is a unique history of modern Cuba, told through the life and times of the Bacardi rum family. The New York Times selected it as a "Notable Nonfiction Book," and the Washington Post, Kansas City Star, and San Francisco Chronicle all listed it among their "Best Books of 2008."

Since joining NPR in 1982 as labor and education reporter, Gjelten has won numerous awards for his work. His 1992 series "From Marx to Markets," documenting the transition to market economics in Eastern Europe, won an Overseas Press Club award for "Best Business or Economic Reporting in Radio or TV." His coverage of the wars in the former Yugoslavia earned Gjelten the Overseas Press Club's Lowell Thomas Award, a George Polk Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He was part of the NPR teams that won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for Sept. 11 coverage and a George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the war in Iraq. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In addition to reporting for NPR, Gjelten is a regular panelist on the PBS program Washington Week. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, he began his professional career as a public school teacher and a freelance writer.



Thu March 24, 2011
Conflict In Libya

In Libyan Conflict, Is Endgame A Stalemate?

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and the forces loyal to him are still getting pounded. Since Operation Odyssey Dawn began last Saturday, more than 160 cruise missiles have been launched, and jet fighters from at least four countries have dropped bombs on targets all across Libya. But is the operation achieving its goals? Not yet.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the U.S.-led operation in Libya had achieved air superiority: Gadhafi's aircraft were staying on the ground. Also, maritime superiority: No ship could reach Libyan shores without being stopped and inspected.

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Tue March 15, 2011

How Will Japan's Disaster Hurt The Global Economy?

The attacks on Sept. 11 prompted analysts to ponder this question: How bad does a disaster have to be for it to bring down a country's whole economy?

Marcus Noland, deputy director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says it all depends on whether the effects of a disaster spread beyond the local area and make their way through a country's power, transportation or communication networks.

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Mon March 14, 2011

Tsunami's Effect On Japan's Economy Hard To Judge

Stock markets plunged around the world Monday on concerns that the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear crisis could devastate Japan's economy and push the rest of the world back into recession.

Japan has the third-largest economy in the world, and a disruption of manufacturing there would have ripple effects around the globe, including in the United States.

But economists say it's much too soon to say whether the worst-case scenarios will actually come to pass.

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Fri March 11, 2011

To Figure Out The Price Of Oil, Follow The News

Generally, the market price of something is the result of two things: the supply of a product and the demand for it.

But in the oil market, it's not so simple. On Friday, for example, the variety of oil that traders follow most closely was selling for about $114 a barrel — up about $18 from the price at the beginning of the year.

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Wed March 9, 2011
Middle East

Unrest Makes U.S. Rethink Arms Trade In Arab World

The outcome of popular revolts in the Arab world is yet to be determined, but they have already forced the United States to reconsider military sales to the region.

The first country to be affected is Libya, which under Moammar Gadhafi had actually moved closer to the U.S. in recent years and was rewarded with some new trade deals.

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