Davar Ardalan

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Davar Ardalan is the Senior Producer of NPR's Tell Me More. Prior to Tell Me More at NPR News, Ardalan was in charge of Weekend Edition, and some seven million listener tuned in. From community engagement to innovative ways to engage the public online to news programming choices during a crisis, Ardalan was at the forefront of digital innovation at NPR News. Most recently, Ardalan was in charge of Weekend Edition, two of NPR's most popular newsmagazines. Introducing her own pace and sensibility, Ardalan expanded audience interactivity, integrated social media tools and even encouraged the late legendary newsman Daniel Schorr to tweet, all the while continuing to produce an array of interactive stories on everything from race and politics to the impact of the recession on listeners and the meaning of citizenship. Prior to coming to Weekend Edition, Ardalan worked as a Supervisory Producer on Morning Edition where she helped shape the daily newsmagazine, and was responsible for decisions that required elaborate coordination and planning such as broadcasts from Baghdad, Kabul and New Orleans.

In June, 2009, as a Senior Producer at NPR and through her ancestry and connections in Iran, she received hundreds of documents, photos, tweets, emails and status updates from the front lines of the disputed Iranian election. Those desperate to have their votes counted and their voices heard embraced social media like never before, becoming for a time, the sole outlet for news escaping from Iran. Emerging from the round-ups and riots that shook the nation, Ardalan found a political and social sea-change taking place: unprecedented, direct communication and information that flows over and around any effort to suppress it. One particularly prescient email from Iran read: "Forward this to your friends. You are the media." Ardalan has collected the messages that poured out of Iran and has structured them with interviews, reportage and photographs, presenting not only a dramatic and important moment in Iran's political history and history of women's rights but also a major turning point in the swiftly changing nature of news gathering and media around the world.

In Spring of 2010, Ardalan will be presenting her findings at events at Columbia University on April 17, The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars on May 14, and the International Society for Iranian Studies in Los Angeles on May 28.

You can read more about the events on her website: www.civicjournalist.com

Early NPR History[edit]

In the Spring of 1995 and again in 1997 with NPR's Jacki Lyden in Tehran and Ardalan in Washington, the two produced indepth reports on Iran - examining the re-emergence of criticism and self-expression, Iranian women's struggle to gain rights and the perils facing intellectuals. In April 2002, Ardalan and NPR's Jacki Lyden received a Gracie award from the American Women in Radio and Television for the NPR documentary "Loss and Its Aftermath," the story of Israeli and Palestinian parents speaking about the deaths of their children in the conflict.

Ardalan began as a temporary production assistant in July 1993 and a year later moved to a full-time production assistant position at Weekend Edition Sunday. After spending many years as a field producer, teaming with NPR hosts and correspondents to report on topics including girls in New York City gangs, gambling in Atlantic City casinos, and Islam in cyberspace, Ardalan transitioned to Morning Edition in January 2005.

Her full name, Iran Davar Ardalan, inspired the 2004 NPR/American Radioworks series, "My Name is Iran." In the stories she and co-producer Rasool Nafisi explored the country for which she was named, tracing her Iranian heritage and her own experiences after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The struggle of a nation as reflected in her family's story led to her memoir "My Name is Iran" published by Henry Holt.

Ardalan's career in the American media began in 1991 at KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, N.M., A year later, she made the switch to radio as a reporter at KUNM-FM in Albuquerque. She produced award-winning cultural and news stories on health and environmental concerns in Los Alamos for which she won first place in documentaries from the Associated Press in New Mexico.

On May 10th, 2014, Ardalan was awarded an Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a ceremony in New York City. According to NECO, the organization whom holds the event, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor is awarded to recipients whom are "American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life."[1]

Ardalan earned a B.A. in communications and journalism from the University of New Mexico. She was born in San Francisco and has also lived and worked in Iran as a television newscaster for IRIB English News. Ardalan attended elementary and middle school at Iranzamin International School in Tehran and graduated from Brookline High School in Brookline, M.A. Away from NPR, she is the mother of four, Saied, Samira, Aman and Amir.


  • NPR Bio
  • Davar Ardalan tells her story, Cody's Books, San Francisco, CA, January 17, 2007, * FORA.tv (35 min 34 sec).


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