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)
Allison Shelley/NPR

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.

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.

Story Archive

Wednesday

William "Rick" Singer arrives Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Boston. He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $19 million in restitution and forfeitures. Brian Snyder/Reuters hide caption

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Brian Snyder/Reuters

Rick Singer, head of the college admissions bribery scandal, gets 42 months in prison

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Tuesday

Rick Singer departs federal court in Boston in March 2019 after pleading guilty to charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. Singer is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday afternoon in Boston. Steven Senne/AP hide caption

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Steven Senne/AP

Mastermind of the Varsity Blues college admission scandal is about to learn his fate

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Wednesday

Jennifer Hensel waits for the school bus with her 8-year-old daughter, Imogen, and her 6-year-old son, Owen, on the first day of school this year. They share hugs, kisses, excitement and still some anxiety 10 years after the shooting. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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10 years after Sandy Hook, a family finds bits of joy amid shards of pain

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Tuesday

A general view of the campus as law enforcement agencies respond after a package was said to be delivered to Holmes Hall at Northeastern University and reported to have exploded, in Boston, Sept. 13, 2022. NICHOLAS PFOSI/REUTERS hide caption

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NICHOLAS PFOSI/REUTERS

Former Northeastern employee arrested and charged with faking a bomb blast on campus

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Wednesday

Gov. DeSantis is facing a lawsuit from the migrants he sent to Martha's Vineyard

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Wednesday

School is back in session Northeastern University after package exploded, injuring 1

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Thursday

Boston 'T' riders lament over the subway shutdowns for repairs

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Monday

Bill Russell statue in Boston draws fans paying tribute to the Celtics legend

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Friday

At a news conference outside the Christopher A. Iannella Chamber, Boston City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune urges the council on June 15, 2022 to pass the resolution that the City apologize for Boston's role in the transatlantic slave trade. Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images hide caption

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Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Friday

Sarah Clements and her parents at an anti-gun violence rally in New York City in 2016. Joe Quint hide caption

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Joe Quint

The Uvalde shooting renews rage and grief in a Newtown student-turned-activist

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Student who turned to activism after a mass shooting feels more urgency but less hope

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Wednesday

Joseph Charles, owner of Rock City Pizza in Boston, managed to survive the pandemic, only to find his place doing even worse now because of inflation. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Restaurants that survived the pandemic are now threatened by inflation

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Thursday

An artist's rendering of "The Embrace," a memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that will be unveiled in Boston in 2023. (c) Hank Willis Thomas, in collaboration with MASS Design Group, King Boston and the City of Boston hide caption

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(c) Hank Willis Thomas, in collaboration with MASS Design Group, King Boston and the City of Boston