Nina Totenberg Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent.
Asa Mathat
Nina Totenberg
Asa Mathat

Nina Totenberg

Correspondent, Legal Affairs

Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

Totenberg's coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. Newsweek says, "The mainstays [of NPR] are Morning Edition and All Things Considered. But the creme de la creme is Nina Totenberg."

In 1991, her ground-breaking report about University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearings to consider Hill's charges. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its gavel-to-gavel coverage — anchored by Totenberg — of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Anita Hill's allegations, and for Totenberg's reports and exclusive interview with Hill.

That same coverage earned Totenberg additional awards, among them: the Long Island University George Polk Award for excellence in journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting; the Carr Van Anda Award from the Scripps School of Journalism; and the prestigious Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs/public policy reporting, which also acknowledged her coverage of Justice Thurgood Marshall's retirement.

Totenberg was named Broadcaster of the Year and honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Press Foundation. She is the first radio journalist to receive the award. She is also the recipient of the American Judicature Society's first-ever award honoring a career body of work in the field of journalism and the law. In 1988, Totenberg won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her coverage of Supreme Court nominations. The jurors of the award stated, "Ms. Totenberg broke the story of Judge (Douglas) Ginsburg's use of marijuana, raising issues of changing social values and credibility with careful perspective under deadline pressure."

Totenberg has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting and has received a number of honorary degrees. On a lighter note, in 1992 and 1988 Esquire magazine named her one of the "Women We Love".

A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Parade Magazine, New York Magazine, and others.

Before joining NPR in 1975, Totenberg served as Washington editor of New Times Magazine, and before that she was the legal affairs correspondent for the National Observer.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

The Totenberg-Ames Stradivarius is pictured in a mold while being prepared to have its edge reinforced during restoration. Courtesy of Bruno Price hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Bruno Price

The Tale Of The Stolen Totenberg Stradivarius Ends With A New Legacy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/654490918/655732037" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

How Will The Battle Over Kavanaugh's Nomination Impact The Other Justices?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/654941283/654941320" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The lawyer for a man on death row asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to spare his life. The state of Alabama argued the sentence the trial judge imposed should be carried out. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Supreme Court Grapples With Difficult Death Penalty Question

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/653779997/653780000" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Protesters march through Midtown Manhattan on Monday as they rally against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Is 8 Enough? The Consequences Of The Supreme Court Starting 1 Justice Short

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/653492150/653511306" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Supreme Court Term Begins With 8 Justices As Kavanaugh Nomination Battle Continues

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/653430595/653430608" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Amid Kavanaugh Drama, Supreme Court Is Back In Session

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/653160007/653160008" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake Forces A Delay In Senate Vote On Kavanaugh

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/652748269/652748270" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Emotions Dominate Ford And Kavanaugh Testimony

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/652492679/652497139" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Impressions From The Testimonies Given By Christine Blasey Ford And Brett Kavanaugh

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/652309785/652309786" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Kavanaugh And Ford Hearing Preview

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/652074429/652074433" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

How The Kavanaugh Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Might Unfold

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/651918655/651918656" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Does The Anita Hill Timeline Set A Precedent For Christine Blasey Ford?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/650052813/650052814" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript