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.

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

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

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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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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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

Encore: The post-pandemic wedding boom

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Claire Fidel with Weddings From Italy prepares mannequins at the Great Bridal Expo held at The Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel in Boston, Mass., on March 13. Vanessa Leroy for NPR hide caption

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Vanessa Leroy for NPR

Welcome to the wedding boom. How couples are handling the busiest season in 40 years

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Pragadish Kalaivanan, a marketing analyst, got up extra early to dress for work before his first days back at the office in Boston. He's among those happy to still be able to work two days from home, as the company's new hybrid policy allows. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Returning to the office, a moment of joy for some. Others, would rather stay home

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March sees more employees returning to the office

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Tom Brady has announced his retirement from the NFL after 22 seasons

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Houses of worship are trying to balance safety with their mission to welcome all

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Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Rabbi Israel Dresner's synagogue, Temple Sha'arey Shalom, in Springfield, N.J., on Jan. 18, 1963. Dresner became close to King when he was an activist for civil rights in the 1960s. Avi Dresner hide caption

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Avi Dresner

Israel Dresner, rabbi who marched with Martin Luther King, dies at 92

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Remembering Rabbi Israel Dresner, a Freedom Rider in the civil rights movement

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Crowds arrive for the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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They believe in Trump's 'Big Lie.' Here's why it's been so hard to dispel

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