Margaret Low Smith is NPR Senior Vice President for News. She oversees the award-winning NPR News division and the work of nearly 400 broadcast and digital journalists across the country and in 17 bureaus around the world.
Smith came to NPR in 1982 and over three decades rose through numerous senior production and programming roles. She began running the news division in January 2011 and led NPR through an especially turbulent news cycle, overseeing the coverage of watershed events from the Arab Spring to the major earthquake in Japan and the death of Osama Bin Laden. She has been instrumental in transforming the NPR approach to breaking news on all platforms and oversaw the creation of the new Ethics Handbook for NPR journalists.
Smith has set a newsroom goal to "look and sound like America" and is helping guide the launch of a major initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture on all platforms.
Before taking the top news job, Smith spent eleven years as the NPR Vice President for Programming, overseeing program acquisition and development as well as Audience Insight and Research team.
As Vice President for Programming, Smith was in charge of all NPR program distribution deals and managed the network's relationships with more than a dozen acquired shows, from Car Talk to On the Media and Fresh Air. In addition, she oversaw NPR's weekly news quiz Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! She built a successful live events strategy for that show, which brought the program out of the studio and before a live audience for weekly tapings. Under Smith's leadership, the program's audience more than doubled and the Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! team took home a 2008 Peabody Award.
Smith also managed the team that oversees NPR's Worldwide Service and the network's multiple channels on SiriusXM. She built NPR's satellite radio service in 2000.
Smith first joined NPR in 1982 as a production assistant for Morning Edition. Three years later she moved to San Francisco and became a news writer for KRON-TV.
In 1989, Smith returned to NPR and spent the next ten years at All Things Considered, where she was a senior producer. Her achievements include sharing a 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award for "Changing of the Guard: The Republican Revolution," awarded to NPR for its coverage of the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. Smith produced "The Mentally Ill Homeless," a series of stories on the streets of New York City with All Things Considered host Robert Siegel, for which she received the 1991 National Mental Health Association Award. She also produced "Born Drunk," a Morning Edition series about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. That series won the 1990 Gabriel Award and the 1990 Bronze Health Journalism Award.
Among Smith's other notable productions are NPR's live election coverage in 1998 and the two-part series for All Things Considered, "Murder, Punishment and Parole in Alabama" with host Robert Siegel, for which she won the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award.
Smith grew up in Boston and graduated from the University of Michigan. When she's not running NPR's news division, you can find her doing the occasional triathlon or trying out gourmet recipes for her husband and two almost grown up sons.