Lauren Chooljian | New Hampshire Public Radio

Lauren Chooljian

Senior Reporter/Producer, Narrative News

Credit Lucy Hewett / lucyhewett.com

Lauren is a Senior Reporter/Producer on NHPR's Document team, a longform, narrative news reporting project. She was also a co-host and producer of Stranglehold, NHPR’s award winning podcast that looked at the power and people behind the first in the nation primary. She also covered politics for NHPR.

Before joining NHPR in 2017, Lauren spent nearly six years as a reporter, producer and fill-in host for WBEZ in Chicago. Most recently, she covered City Hall and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.

Her reporting has earned her multiple regional Edward R Murrow and Associated Press awards. In 2014, her voice was featured on a best-of list in the Chicago Tribune culture section for its “unpretentious, Peppermint Patty scratchiness,” which her family especially appreciated.

Lauren graduated with a BA in History from Saint Anselm College and has a Master of Science in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she was also an adjunct lecturer.

Her work has been featured on NPR, On The Media, Marketplace, Here and Now, MSNBC, CNN, PBS News Hour and in The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others.

Lauren is a proud New Hampshire native, born and raised in Hampstead.

Ways to Connect

Police car at night with out of focus lights in the background, The List title in white on top
Sara Plourde, NHPR

The first season of Document, The List, was released on October 26th, and some surprising news followed soon after. Listeners heard that a lawsuit had been filed in an attempt to make New Hampshire’s secret list of cops with credibility issues available to the public. On Friday, Oct. 30, the state Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case. Usually, the court takes months to issue a decision. This time it only took them six weeks.

Courtesy of Dotty Miller

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us do our jobs, including those of us here at NHPR - it's kept our reporters from getting out and recording your voices as much as usual.

So we’ve asked people to step in for us, to record their own lives and share how daily life has been interrupted in big and small ways.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu is pulling together a commission to look at police accountability and transparency in New Hampshire.

Sununu said he doesn't think New Hampshire is at what he termed a “crisis point” when it comes to police and community relations. But he wants the new commission to reexamine everything from police training to misconduct investigations and come back with recommendations within 45 days.

The goal, Sununu said, is to identify solutions that will enhance transparency.

Via khsmwv.com

High school graduations typically follow a pretty familiar script: Graduates sitting side by side in caps and gowns, each one getting a handshake from the principal as they receive their diploma.

But in this unprecedented year, high schools across New Hampshire have had to go back to the drawing board to figure out what they can pull off that’s both safe and celebratory.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued two opinions Friday that will require government agencies to share more information with the public.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

This past week, some New Hampshire business owners were faced with a big decision: How do I balance the survival of my business with public health concerns?

NHPR’s Lauren Chooljian talked with several business owners this week to see how they made that choice.

Courtesy photo

Living in Manhattan, Adrianna Benn thinks she’s growing up faster than most 15-year-olds. Her mom, Leila Benn, calls it a “fast life” and says Adrianna’s friends are “advanced.” Credit cards, phones, Ubers to fancy sushi restaurants -- at 15 years old.

“I feel like living in New York, I have to keep up with everyone and I don’t really like it,” Adrianna said on the phone recently, sitting on the couch with her mom in their Upper East Side apartment. “Everyone is so mature. They act like they’re in their 20s at a frat party or something.”

Aaron Yoo via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/G2BaUF

Some New Hampshire hair stylists are petitioning Gov. Chris Sununu to allow them to reopen and see one client at a time.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced closed businesses not deemed “essential” in New Hampshire, including hair salons, barber shops and other cosmetology shops.

Courtesy of Cadence Solsky

It's been a tough week for New Hampshire students, teachers and parents.

Governor Chris Sununu officially closed schools for the rest of the academic year, which means seniors like Cadence Solsky of Concord will spend their last semester of high school at home.  

Click here to sign up for our coronavirus newsletter to get the latest updates.

Courtesy of Caly Duquette

Many businesses across New Hampshire are closed right now because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But some are busier than ever.

Birthing centers are in that last group. The small, midwife-led facilities are getting inundated with calls from expectant parents. The new patients say they’re concerned that the hospital will no longer be a safe place to deliver their baby so they’re looking to change their birth plan.

But all this new attention is putting a strain on midwives as they try to maintain a more personalized birth experience.

Courtesy of Katie Rivera

Katie Rivera is scared. She’s 38 weeks pregnant, sitting in her car in a doctor’s office parking lot. She’s far enough along now that she’s supposed to see her doctor every week.

She used to like these appointments - they were calming. She’d bring her 2-year-old Elle, the nurses would give Elle stickers - it was nice. 

But now, Elle’s not allowed. Katie is waiting until the last possible second to go in there, to minimize any potential exposure.

Courtesy of Jordan Travers

It was just a week before the opening night of Pinkerton Academy's production of Children of Eden, and the cast was hard at work in the chorus room, running through the entire musical from start to finish for the first time.

Senior Emma Cahoon was Eve, her first lead role ever in the school’s spring musical, and she remembers the exact moment in the rehearsal when things went wrong.

Photo Courtesy of Todd Bookman

Things are feeling pretty heavy right now. Whether you are practicing social distancing at home, caring for a loved one who is ill or trying to make sense of an uncertain and fast-evolving public health crisis — it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. 

A longtime defender of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary won’t be running for another term at the Democratic National Committee.

Erika Janik/NHPR

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg finished in a close second place behind Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic Primary, winning 24 percent of the vote compared to 26 percent for Sanders.

And as he made clear in a celebratory speech to supporters Tuesday evening, Buttigieg heads out of the Granite State with his sights clearly set on Sanders.

NHPR/Lauren Chooljian

 

Pete Buttigieg's campaign spent the last weekend before the New Hampshire primary highlighting big crowds and rising poll numbers. But that boost in attention doesn't guarantee smooth sailing from here for the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.

A crowd at a political rally, of course, can’t tell you everything. It can’t tell you for sure which candidate is going to win on Tuesday, and it can hint at a sense of potential successes or problems on Primary Day.

Jason Moon/NHPR

After a day of confusion and incomplete information,  the two candidates who, at least for now, appear to have finished first and second in the Iowa Caucuses – Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders – spoke to enthusiastic crowds Tuesday evening. Both of them claimed Iowa victories...in New Hampshire.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A lot of New Hampshire voters still have no idea who they’ll support in the presidential primary: recent polling indicates just 30 percent of likely Democratic voters here have made up their minds.

Some say they’re looking inward, and as they do, anger has become a major factor in their decision.

Lauren Chooljian/NHPR

Some of the Democratic candidates running for president this year are banking on a myth.

It’s a famous one: That New Hampshire gives little known candidates a real chance at the White House.

But in 2020, is there still any truth to that?

Mayor Pete Buttigieg called on McKinsey & Co. Friday to release its client list from Buttigieg's time at the prestigious global consulting firm, a response to criticism that he hasn't been transparent about his nearly three years there.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg called on the consulting firm McKinsey and Co. Friday to release its client list from his time at the company, a response to criticism that he hasn't been transparent about his nearly three years there.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is expected to officially announce Monday that the state's 2020 presidential primary will be held on February 11th.

If all goes as expected, the date will be in line with a long-established tradition that puts the state's first in the nation primary a week and a day after the Iowa caucuses.

But in New Hampshire, the date isn't official until Gardner says it is.

Vice President Pence traveled to New Hampshire on Thursday to officially add Donald Trump's name to the first-in-the-nation primary ballot.

His visit comes as President Trump's GOP challengers see the primary as a place where they'll make a stand against Trump, especially as other states have canceled primaries and changed Republican National Committee convention delegate rules to prevent any sort of insurgent candidate from emerging.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Vice President Mike Pence dropped by the New Hampshire State House today to sign the paperwork and hand over the required $1,000 fee to put President Donald Trump's name on the first in the nation Republican primary ballot.

A handful of states, including Nevada and South Carolina, have canceled their GOP presidential primaries  despite three Republicans running to challenge Trump for the party's nomination.

Pence was asked if he wished New Hampshire had joined those other states.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The scene outside the SNHU Arena in Manchester looked pretty much like every other Trump rally you’ve seen on TV: thousands of people in bright red hats, street vendors selling Trump gear.

But the difference was the line of people who wound around Elm Street - many wearing Red Sox shirts matched with their Make America Great Again hats.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

 

Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan swung through the first-in-the-nation primary state Tuesday, telling a group of business leaders and politicos at Saint Anselm College that he's seriously considering running for president in 2020. 

 

Hogan called for more Republicans to challenge President Donald Trump in the primary ("the more, the merrier," he said), as he believes a bigger field would help Trump be a better candidate and grow the Republican Party.

 

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

 

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld says the country needs a foreign policy that doesn't change with the president's mood swings.

 

Weld announced this week he’s officially challenging President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary.

 

In a speech Tuesday at Southern New Hampshire University, Weld railed against President Trump, saying the president's America First slogan reminded him of dictators like Adolf Hitler.

 

Weld also called for free and fair trade, and he called China and Russia authoritarian regimes.

 

Jack Rodolico / NHPR

It’s been nearly 30 years since Pamela Smart was sentenced to life in prison for being an accomplice in the 1990 murder of her husband, Gregg. Since then, interest in one of New Hampshire’s most notorious murder cases has seemingly never waned, and the four then-teenage boys who confessed to being involved in the murder have been let out of prison.

This week, Smart, now 51, is making another attempt at freedom, using the only legal avenue she has left: Her attorney is petitioning Gov. Chris Sununu and the New Hampshire Executive Council to commute her life sentence and give her the possibility of parole.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  President Donald Trump might have a Republican challenger in 2020.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld was in New Hampshire to announce he has launched a presidential exploratory committee. He’s the first Republican to throw a hat at least close to the 2020 ring.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Republicans had a brutally honest conversation this weekend about the state party’s dysfunction, and how it led to being “outspent, out-organized and out-messaged” by Democrats in the midterm elections.

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