Tovia Smith Tovia Smith is an award-winning NPR News National Desk correspondent based in Boston.
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Tovia Smith 2010
Doby Photography /NPR

Tovia Smith

Correspondent, National Desk, Boston

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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Story Archive

Yawkey Way, outside Fenway Park, was named for the late, former Boston Red Sox owner, Tom Yawkey, who was known for his philanthropy, but also for what was a racist ball club. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Boston Red Sox Want To Strike Former Owner's Name Off Street Sign

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First lady Barbara Bush, with her pet dog Millie, talks to reporters in September 1990 in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Bush said Iraq cannot be allowed to get away with its occupation of Kuwait. She also revealed that Millie has a case of lupus but "she's in complete remission." Charles Tasnadi/AP hide caption

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Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dies At 92

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Roseann Sdoia leaves Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston in May 2013 after losing part of her right leg in the explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Charles Krupa/AP hide caption

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Sharing Lessons Of Resilience, 5 Years After The Boston Bombing

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Boston Marks 5 Years Since Marathon Bombing

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Vikiana Petit-Homme, 16, led a meeting in Boston this week to recruit more students for the national student walk out planned for March 14. "We're just going to do what we have to," she says. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Students Get Mixed Messages On Whether Protesting Will Get Them In Trouble

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For Rogers, farming is a calling and a way of life. He says continuing financial pressure is threatening the survival of dairy farmers and the landscape of New England. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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As Milk Prices Decline, Worries About Dairy Farmer Suicides Rise

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Tom Brady celebrates after the New England Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 during Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. Al Bello/Getty Images hide caption

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Patriots' Success Encourages Larger-Than-Life Expectations

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Ezzard Turner, a dean at the City on a Hill Circuit Street charter school in Boston, returns students' phones after locking them in pouches for the school day. A new policy at the school aims to literally contain distractions by requiring the phones to stay locked up until dismissal time. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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A School's Way To Fight Phones In Class: Lock 'Em Up

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Cardinal Bernard Law (right) speaks with unidentified prelates as he attends Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in 2013. Gregorio Borgia/AP hide caption

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Bernard Law, Former Archbishop Of Boston, Dies In Rome At 86

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Five years ago, Avielle Richman, 6, was shot in her first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Jeremy Richman/Courtesy Richman Family hide caption

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A Newtown Family's Campaign To Change How We Think About Violence

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Scientists Work To Stop Violence After Losing Their Child In Newtown

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Tatiana Curran, right, and her boyfriend Jake Cowen-Whitman say their three-year relationship is an anomaly amongst their peers. But they readily concede that even they have serious issues around intimacy. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Lessons In Love For Generation Snapchat

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Recent news stories suggest some human resource departments failed to adequately respond to sexual harassment issues. seb_ra/Getty Images/iStockphoto hide caption

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When It Comes To Sexual Harassment Claims, Whose Side Is HR Really On?

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Harassment Scandals Shine Spotlight On Confidentiality Clauses

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