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

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Tovia Smith at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)
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Tovia Smith

Correspondent, National Desk, Boston

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.

Most recently, she's reported extensively on the #MeToo movement and campus sexual assault. She's also covered breaking news from the Newtown school shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent trial, as well as the capture, trial and later death of Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger. She has provided extensive coverage of gay marriage, and the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, including breaking the news of the Pope's secret meeting with survivors.

Throughout the years, Smith has brought to air the distinct voices of Boston area residents, whether those demanding the ouster of Cardinal Bernard Law, or those mourning the death of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. In her reporting on contentious issues like race relations, abortion, and juvenile crime, her reporting always pushes past the polemics, and advances the national conversation with more thoughtful, and thought-provoking, nuanced arguments from both — or all — sides.

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 Sept. 11 attacks. With an empathic ear and an eye for detail, she tells the human stories that evoke the emotion and issues of the day. She has gone behind the bars of a prison to interview female prisoners who keep their babies with them while incarcerated, she's gone behind closed doors to watch a college admissions committee decide whom to admit, and she's embedded in a local orphanage to tell the stories of the children living there. Smith has also chronicled such personal tales as a woman's battle against obesity and a family's struggle to survive the recession of 2008.

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 honors 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, as well as regular features as varied as a round-up of emerging tech and a listener call-in for advice on workplace survival.

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.

Story Archive

Jason Brissett, a kitchen worker who came to the U.S. last month from Jamaica through an H-2B visa, is bracing for 80-hour workweeks this summer to make up for staffing shortages. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Hotels And Restaurants That Survived Pandemic Face New Challenge: Staffing Shortages

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Pharmacist intern Ojashwi Giri hands a vaccination card to Linda Simansky, at Union Pharmacy in Newton, Mass. It's a kind of low-tech version of "vaccine passports" that have become the latest pandemic wedge issue. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Vaccine Passports: 'Scarlet Letter' Or Just The Ticket?

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Cornwall's co-owner John Beale sets up sidewalk seating on the first day it's allowed in Boston. He and his wife Pam launched the English-style tavern nearly 40 years ago. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Spring Brings Hope For Boston Restaurant Struggling To Survive

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Things Are Looking Up For Boston Tavern Cornwall's

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Less than a year after the Trump administration enacted new rules for how schools handle cases of sexual assault and harassment, President Biden is beginning the process to replace those. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Biden Begins Process To Undo Trump Administration's Title IX Rules

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'Exit Counselors' Strain To Pull Americans Out Of A Web Of False Conspiracies

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Experts In Cult Deprogramming Step In To Help Believers In Conspiracy Theories

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Tom Brady left the New England Patriots last year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now, he's headed to the Super Bowl with the new team and some Patriots fans feel a way about it. Stacy Revere/Getty Images hide caption

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Super Bowl LV: New England Patriots Fans Divided On Tears Or Cheers For Tom Brady

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Massachusetts Voters Share Their Hopes For New Administration

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Dylan Costello (right), 25, and 28-year-old Bobby Manson, construction workers from Quincy, Mass., are all in for Trump but say they don't support what the rioters did on Wednesday. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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'It's Just A Shame': Trump Voters React To Insurrection At U.S. Capitol

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Republican Voters React To Pro-Trump Extremists' Riot On Capitol Hill

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Like many of his colleagues, postal worker Rickey Ramirez is working overtime to keep up with the crush of Christmas deliveries. Many packages are likely to be delivered after Dec. 25. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Millions Of Christmas Gifts May Arrive Late Due To Overload At The Postal Service

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U.S. Post Office Strains Under Unprecedented Volume Of Business

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Cornwall's Tavern's owners Pam and John Beale are in survival mode. They're thinking a short-term pause in business, as COVID-19 infections surge, could allow them to reopen strong next year. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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'Not A Lot To Celebrate' For Boston Restaurant Trying To Survive The Pandemic

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In his Thanksgiving address Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden acknowledged that the imperative "to love our neighbors as ourselves," may strike many people right now as "a radical act." But Biden insisted, "We must try." Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

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As President-Elect Joe Biden Doubles Down On Calls For Unity, Supporters Have Doubts

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