Steve Barrett/NPR
Robert Smith 2007
Steve Barrett/NPR

Robert Smith

Correspondent, Planet Money

Robert Smith is a correspondent for NPR's Planet Money where he reports on how the global economy is affecting our lives.

If that sounds a little dry, then you've never heard Planet Money. The team specializes in making economic reporting funny, engaging and understandable. Planet Money has been known to set economic indicators to music, use superheroes to explain central banks, and even buy a toxic asset just to figure it out.

Smith admits that he has no special background in finance or math, just a curiosity about how money works. That kind of curiosity has driven Smith for his 20 years in radio.

Before joining Planet Money, Smith was the New York correspondent for NPR. He was responsible for covering all the mayhem and beauty that makes it the greatest city on Earth. Smith reported on the rebuilding of Ground Zero, the stunning landing of US Air flight 1549 in the Hudson River and the dysfunctional world of New York politics. He specialized in features about the overlooked joys of urban living: puddles, billboards, ice cream trucks, street musicians, drunks and obsessives.

When New York was strangely quiet, Smith pitched in covering the big national stories. He traveled with presidential campaigns, tracked the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and reported from the BP oil spill.

Before his New York City gig, Smith worked for public radio stations in Seattle (KUOW), Salt Lake City (KUER) and Portland (KBOO). He's been an editor, a host, a news director and just about any other job you can think of in broadcasting. Smith also lectures on the dark arts of radio at universities and conferences. He trains fellow reporters how to sneak humor and action into even the dullest stories on tight deadlines.

Smith started in broadcasting playing music at KPCW in his hometown of Park City, Utah. Although the low-power radio station at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, likes to claim him as its own.

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Is It Realistic? Trump Budget Relies On 3 Percent Economic Growth

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President Trump attends the opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, poses with the Saudi and Egyptian leaders, and touches a glowing orb during his May 2017 visit to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Press Agency/AP hide caption

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Saudi Press Agency/AP

Economists Take Cues From Speed Dating With Job Search System

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Economists have a yearly job market that works a little bit like speed dating. Gary Waters/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Gary Waters/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Episode 769: Speed Dating For Economists

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English economist John Maynard Keynes attends the United Nations International Monetary and Financial Conference at the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Tabs from Tigin Irish Pub in New York's JFK Airport. Irish Pub Company hide caption

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Irish Pub Company

Episode 764: Pub In A Box

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The Mastermind Behind The International Irish Pub

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There are tax collectors all over the globe are finding ways to get people to pay. aluxum/Getty Images hide caption

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Episode 531: The Tough, The Sweet, The Nosy

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Bees Travel Cross Country For The California Almond Harvest

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Trump's Possible 'Border Adjustment Tax,' Explained

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The Mysterious Missing Trillions In Donald Trump's Tax Plan

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How Venezuela's Economy Collapsed And Led To Political Unrest

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Universal Postal Union Tries To Divvy Up Countries' Stamp Money Fairly

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