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.

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Story Archive

At Northeastern University, 11 students were caught hanging out together in one room, in violation of bans on having guests in campus housing and on participating in crowded gatherings. They were all kicked off campus and out of their program for the semester. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Students Accused Of Breaking College COVID-19 Rules Fight Their Punishments

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Boston Pub Struggles To Stay In Business As Other Establishments Stay Closed

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How The Coronavirus Has Upended College Admissions

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People wave thin blue line flags while they attend a Back the Blue rally in support of police departments on Quincy Shore Drive in Quincy, Mass. on June 20. Boston Globe/Boston Globe via Getty Images hide caption

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Thin Blue Line Flags Stir Controversy In Mass. Coastal Community

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Lauren Moran, a pastry chef who owns a bakery and café, taste-tests Cornwall's new coffee drinks with her husband, Cornwall's general manager Billy Moran (left), and Speedwell Coffee Co. owner Derek Anderson. Tovia Smith/NPR hide caption

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Boston Tavern Pivots To 'Plan B' To Try To Survive The Pandemic

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Nelba Marquez-Greene and her husband, Jimmy Greene, embrace during a news conference on Jan. 14, 2013 — one month after their daughter, Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, 6, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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Parents Of Sandy Hook Shooting Victim Hope Protesters Will Hold Out For Real Change

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Manager Mike Bonavita wears a protective mask as he cleans windows at the Quattro Italian restaurant in Boston on May 12 during the coronavirus pandemic. This month, Massachusetts' governor declared wearing masks mandatory. Steven Senne/AP hide caption

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Town worker Steve Crowley washes and disinfects the public restroom at Mayflower Beach, in Dennis, Mass., last week. As stay-at-home restrictions are lifting, many people are concerned about using public restrooms. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images hide caption

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Fear Of Public Restrooms Prompts Creative Solutions As Some Businesses Reopen

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A growing number of sleep-away camps have already been canceled because of the coronavirus. PeopleImages/E+/Getty Images hide caption

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Coronavirus May Mean Lights Out For Summer Camps This Year

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Coronavirus Crisis Interrupts Plans For Many Summer Camps

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A COVID-19 Patient Films His Routine Inside A Hospital Isolation Unit

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Kristin Doherty (left) and Gina Kappes, advisers at North Salem High School in New York, performed a skit as part the video announcement that the 2020 graduation ceremony would take place at Four Brothers Drive In Theater next month. Courtesy of Gina Kappes hide caption

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Courtesy of Gina Kappes

Students To Get Graduation Pomp At Drive-In Theater Despite Circumstances

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Education Secretary Betsy Devos, seen on March 27, has released new rules for sexual assault complaints on college campuses. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Federal Rules Give More Protection To Students Accused Of Sexual Assault

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The New Federal Rules Will Better Protect Students Accused Of Sexual Assault

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