For the last three years, and right before the October 2017 shooting, Leila Fadel has been reporting for National Public Radio out of Las Vegas.
And now, she’s leaving.
A Lebanese-American who covered crime in Texas, and life in the Middle East, Fadel came to Las Vegas like most people -- with preconceived notions. Before moving here, she was asked several times if people actually lived in Las Vegas.
It was the tragedy of the October 1 shooting where Fadel said she learned that not only do people actually live here, but they've built a real community.
“What I found and what that shooting, the aftermath of that shooting, showed me very quickly is there is a strong community here that is growing and thriving and is beyond just The Strip,” she said.
Fadel found Las Vegas to be a city open to the world with a wide variety of people from different ages, backgrounds, faiths and political views.
“I do feel like living here for two years, it gives me a different understanding and a different perspective of what Nevada, what Las Vegas is and the diversity of voices you can get here,” she said.
Fadel grew to love the food, especially in the Asian restaurants in and around Chinatown. The quirkier parts of living in Southern Nevada - like the slot machines in grocery stores and umbrellas used to block the sun, still seem odd to her.
However, she would take the city's heat to the East Coast cold.
“I would choose Las Vegas summers over a Boston winter for sure," she said.
Like all reporters, Fadel has covered tragedies, ranging from the Middle East to the Las Vegas Strip shooting. She said it is always difficult to tell those stories, but "it also feels really special when somebody wants to share something about their loved ones with you and you get to share that with the world.".
Fadel is also extremely proud of her work on a series about American Muslims. She was given a year to work on the project, which took her around the country. “I love when listeners feel like they see themselves in a story. That’s when I really feel that I’ve done a good job.”
Fadel is moving to California where she will continue her work as a national correspondent.
“I’m heading further west now to our office in Culver City and I’ll be doing a similar job, a combination of both breaking news and also, obviously, my beat on race and diversity and culture,” she said.
Leila Fadel, national correspondent, NPR
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.