International correspondent opens up on time with NPR


NPR International Correspondent Carrie Kahn reports in the field. Kahn’s reporting focuses on community issues, particularly in Latin America. At “The Journalist As Witness” multimedia conference, Kahn will present about the changes in Latin America after the transition to the Trump administration.//Photo courtesy of Carrie Kahn

“I’ll go.”

It was this two-word message that NPR international correspondent Carrie Kahn sent to her editors in Miami before boarding a red-eye flight to Haiti.

Kahn was the first NPR reporter to arrive in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake struck.

“It was tough,” said Kahn. “I had never been to the country before and I don’t speak the language, which is very difficult. The biggest challenge was logistics.

“I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going or what I would find.”

Kahn’s coverage of natural disasters, such as the Haitian earthquake and Hurricane Katrina, helped her develop credibility as a journalist.

“NPR is a big place,” said Kahn. “It was kind of hard for me. I was used to being a bigger fish in a small pond and to be at NPR, with such great reporter, it was tough. And so I really made a niche for myself as a person who would go to disaster areas. First one in and I could cover them well.”

Kahn applied for the international correspondent position she currently holds twice unsuccessfully before getting the job on the third try.

Prior to NPR and journalism, Kahn pursued science, receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

“I did science for a while,” said Kahn. “I did actually end up working in Costa Rica in a lab at a university for a short while, but then coming back after that time in Central America, it was during the 80s and the early 90s, when there was a lot of civil unrest.

“When I got back to the U.S., I didn’t want to do biomedical work anymore and I ended up working with Salvadorean refugees and we started a bilingual newspaper.”

From there, Kahn worked at the NPR station KQED in San Francisco and the station KPBS in San Diego.

Much of Kahn’s reporting has focused on immigration and community issues, particularly in Latin America, as she is currently based in Mexico City, Mexico.

Kahn will speak as part of “The Journalist as Witness: Politics, Protests and Displaced Peoples,” a journalism conference at Guilford College in a presentation titled, “Latin America in the Time of Trump.” Additionally, Kahn will speak in one of Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages Karen Spira’s Spanish classes prior to her presentation.

“I think that what I’ll try and present is that it’s been a difficult transition for Latin American to hear Trump,” said Kahn. “We heard a lot of his criticism of Mexico, to put it lightly, in his campaign, and that was difficult.

“I think I’ll focus on what that means for Mexico and Cuba because for Mexico, this administration has been incredibly corrupt and the consequence has been incredibly violent with no clear path of how to get out of that. It’s worrisome.”

Kahn’s presentation will be on Saturday, March 17 at 2 p.m. in Dana Auditorium. Kahn’s presentation, as well as all other events of “The Journalist As Witness” conference, are free and open to the public.