Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe.
Langfitt arrived in London in June, 2016. A week later, the UK voted for Brexit. He's been busy ever since, covering the political battles over just how the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. Langfitt also frequently appears on the BBC, where he tries to explain American politics, which is not easy.
Previously, Langfitt spent five years as an NPR correspondent covering China. Based in Shanghai, he drove a free taxi around the city for a series on a changing China as seen through the eyes of ordinary people. As part of the series, Langfitt drove passengers back to the countryside for Chinese New Year and served as a wedding chauffeur. He has expanded his reporting into a book, The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China (Public Affairs, Hachette), which is out in June 2019.
While in China, Langfitt also reported on the government's infamous black jails — secret detention centers — as well as his own travails taking China's driver's test, which he failed three times.
Before moving to Shanghai, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He reported from Sudan, covered the civil war in Somalia, and interviewed imprisoned Somali pirates, who insisted they were just misunderstood fishermen. During the Arab Spring, Langfitt covered the uprising and crushing of the reform movement in Bahrain.
Prior to Africa, Langfitt was NPR's labor correspondent based in Washington, DC. He covered the 2008 financial crisis, the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler, and coal mine disasters in West Virginia.
In 2008, Langfitt also covered the Beijing Olympics as a member of NPR's team, which won an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. Langfitt's print and visual journalism have also been honored by the Overseas Press Association and the White House News Photographers Association.
Before coming to NPR, Langfitt spent five years as a correspondent in Beijing for The Baltimore Sun, covering a swath of Asia from East Timor to the Khyber Pass.
Langfitt spent his early years in journalism stringing for the Philadelphia Inquirer and living in Hazard, Kentucky, where he covered the state's Appalachian coalfields for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Prior to becoming a reporter, Langfitt dug latrines in Mexico and drove a taxi in his hometown of Philadelphia. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.
When the Philadelphia Orchestra first visited China four decades ago, it was a prestigious, well-funded institution performing in a poor, underdeveloped nation. Now the orchestra is emerging from bankruptcy and hoping that an increasingly wealthy China can provide new streams of revenue.
In a Nemo-inspired cartoon, a menacing fish lures unsuspecting little fish with a glowing picture of a Communist hero. A South Park-like animation skewers China's elites. These are among the works of a new generation of Chinese political cartoonists who are using social media to evade censors.
In the past couple of months, computer giant Apple has come under criticism for working conditions in Chinese factories that help build iPads. Last week, NPR met with 25 workers injured in an explosion at an Apple supplier in Shanghai. They criticized safety at the plant and say the accident will have a lasting effect on their lives.
As China grows richer, the demand is growing for elephant ivory smuggled from Africa. Despite occasional crackdowns and even prison sentences, it's not hard to find upscale Chinese shops that sell it.
Basketball fans in China are rooting for Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks' star point guard, as one of their own. But Lin, whose parents are originally from Taiwan, was born and bred in the U.S. — unlike the Chinese NBA star Yao Ming, with whom he is often compared.
China's consumer market is massive, and breaking in isn't easy. Some U.S. products have struggled. But in recent years, an old American sneaker has become an unlikely success story: the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star.