Tovia Smith

Tovia Smith is an award-winning NPR News National Desk correspondent based in Boston.

For the last 25 years, Smith has been covering news around New England and beyond. She's reported extensively on the debate over gay marriage in Massachusetts and the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, including breaking the news of the Pope's secret meeting with survivors.

Smith has traveled to New Hampshire to report on seven consecutive Primary elections, to the Gulf Coast after the BP oil spill, and to Ground Zero in New York City after the September 11, 2001 attacks. She covered landmark court cases — from the trials of British au pair Louise Woodward, and abortion clinic gunman John Salvi, to the proceedings against shoe bomber Richard Reid.

Through the years, Smith has brought to air the distinct voices of Boston area residents, whether reacting to the capture of reputed Mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, or mourning the death of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.

In all of her reporting, Smith aims to tell personal stories that evoke the emotion and issues of the day. She has filed countless stories on legal, social, and political controversies from the biggies like abortion to smaller-scale disputes over whether to require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms.

With reporting that always push past the polemics, Smith advances the debate with more thoughtful, and thought-provoking, nuanced arguments from both –or all— sides. She has produced award-winning broadcasts on everything from race relations in Boston, adoption and juvenile crime, and has filed several documentary-length reports, including an award-winning half-hour special on modern-day orphanages.

Smith took a leave of absence from NPR in 1998, to launch Here and Now, a daily news magazine produced by NPR Member Station WBUR in Boston. As co-host of the program, she conducted live daily interviews on issues ranging from the impeachment of President Bill Clinton to allegations of sexual abuse in Massachusetts prisons, as well as regular features on cooking and movies.

In 1996, Smith worked as a radio consultant and journalism instructor in Africa. She spent several months teaching and reporting in Ethiopia, Guinea, and Tunisia. Smith filed her first on-air stories as a reporter for local affiliate WBUR in Boston in 1987.

Throughout her career, Smith has won more than two dozen national journalism awards including the Casey Medal, the Unity Award, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Honorable Mention, Ohio State Award, Radio and Television News Directors Association Award, and numerous honors from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Public Radio News Directors Association, and the Associated Press.

She is a graduate of Tufts University, with a degree in international relations.

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Law
5:36 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Officers Recall Night Of Battle With Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 8:01 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Energy
5:07 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Boston Bombing Jury Sees Tsarnaev's Writings

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Law
5:22 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Many Question Lack Of Plea Deal In Boston Bombing Case

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:55 pm

The dramatic admission of guilt by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense team in its opening statement Wednesday has generated questions about the trial now underway. Many are wondering why the government wouldn't accept a plea deal in exchange for life in prison, or why Tsarnaev wouldn't want to plead guilty to avoid graphic and disturbing testimony that he's not even contesting.

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Law
5:33 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Opens With Admission Of Guilt

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 8:29 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Law
4:53 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Opening Statements To Begin Nearly 2 Years After Boston Bombing

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:52 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

U.S.
4:41 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Accused Bomber's Lawyers Say Boston Jury Pool Is Too Biased

A memorial at the site of the first explosion in the Boston Marathon bombing. Defense attorneys say too many people in the potential jury pool have some kind of personal connection to the case.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:58 pm

The search for jurors in the case of accused Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is taking longer than expected.

Defense attorneys say it's nearly impossible to find open-minded, unbiased jurors around Boston. They're asking yet again for the judge to move the trial somewhere else.

From the beginning, defense attorneys have argued the entire jury pool has been poisoned by what they call "a narrative of guilt" from a "tidal wave" of media coverage. Now, Tsarnaev's lawyers say jurors' own comments on a court questionnaire prove widespread bias.

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Law
5:01 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Potential Jurors Screened For Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 6:31 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Law
3:35 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Jury Selection To Begin Monday In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 4:51 pm

The search begins Monday for the jurors who will decide the fate of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It was the deadliest act of terrorism in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks, and the trial is one that many have been waiting for.

A couple of dozen survivors are expected in court for at least part of the trial — including Heather Abbott, who lost a leg in the attack. She's hoping for answers to both why and how the bombing was carried out.

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Law
4:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Makes Court Appearance In Pretrial Hearing

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:32 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Secret Lives Of Teachers
3:46 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Skating Out Classroom Stress As A 'Derby Dame'

Nina Park, also known as Elle L. Cool Jam, is a member of the Cosmonaughties roller derby team in the Boston Derby Dames league.
Kayana Szymczak for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

The NPR Ed team is discovering what teachers do when they're not teaching. Pilot? Artist? Bartender? Explore our Secret Lives of Teachers series.

Every fall, on the first day of school, Nina Park greets her new honors English class with a game called "two truths and a lie." Her students, 10th-graders at TechBoston Academy in Dorchester, Mass. have to guess which is which.

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