Frank Langfitt | WOSU Radio

Frank Langfitt

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.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a new Brexit agreement on Thursday, and while it appeared to mark a big breakthrough in the years-long process, the saga doesn't end here.

The withdrawal deal still needs approval in both the U.K. and European parliaments. Although EU leaders unanimously endorsed it in Brussels on Thursday, it faces stiff opposition in Britain's Parliament, which has voted down three previous Brexit deals.

The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

The United Kingdom and the European Union say they have agreed to a Brexit withdrawal deal. NPR's Frank Langfitt is on the line from London. Hey, Frank.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning, Noel.

KING: So it has been a journey.

LANGFITT: It has.

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Ethiopia's prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

JOHN BERCOW: Order.

Order.

Order.

Order.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

For the second time in a week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Parliament to back a snap election in October to break the country's Brexit deadlock.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It has been another extraordinary day in British politics...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Whose Parliament? Our Parliament. Whose Parliament? Our Parliament.

Frank Langfitt (@franklangfitt) is NPR's international correspondent in London and was previously based in Shanghai, China. His new book is The Shanghai Free Taxi.

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