Tovia Smith is an award-winning NPR National Correspondent based in Boston, who's spent more than three decades covering news around New England and beyond.
She's reported recently on America's current political polarization, how a budding industry of former cult deprogrammers are trying to reach Q-Anon adherents, the COVID-19 pandemic, the #MeToo movement and campus sexual assault.
Smith has also reported extensively on clergy sexual abuse (including breaking the news of the Pope's secret first meeting with survivors), the battle over abortion rights, the legalization of gay marriage, racial tensions in Boston and many tragedies, including the Newtown school shooting and Sept. 11, when she was at Ground Zero covering the immediate aftermath of the attacks. She has covered decades of NH primaries, the '04 Democratic National Convention in Boston, and many trials, including those of the Boston Marathon bomber and Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger.
In her reporting on contentious issues such as race relations, abortion and juvenile crime, Smith always pushes past the polemics, and advances the conversation with more thoughtful, thought-provoking, and nuanced arguments from both — or all — sides. She has brought to air the distinct voices of Boston area residents, with an empathic ear and an eye for detail, telling the human stories that evoke the emotion, issues and cultural zeitgeist. She has gone behind the bars of a prison to interview female prisoners who keep their babies with them while incarcerated, behind closed doors to watch a college admissions committee decide whom to admit, inside a local orphanage to tell the stories of the children living there and into a court-mandated counseling group for men convicted of domestic violence.
Throughout her career, Smith has won dozens of national journalism awards including a Gracie award, 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 awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Public Radio News Directors Association and the Associated Press.
Smith took a leave of absence from NPR in 1998 to help create and launch Here and Now, a daily news magazine co-produced by NPR and 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.
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. She filed her first stories as an intern and then reporter for local affiliate WBUR in Boston beginning in 1987.
She is a graduate of Tufts University, with a degree in international relations.