Tovia Smith

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

For the last 25 years, Smith has been covering news around New England and beyond. She's reported extensively on the debate over gay marriage in Massachusetts and the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, including breaking the news of the Pope's secret meeting with survivors.

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 September 11, 2001 attacks. She covered landmark court cases — from the trials of British au pair Louise Woodward, and abortion clinic gunman John Salvi, to the proceedings against shoe bomber Richard Reid.

Through the years, Smith has brought to air the distinct voices of Boston area residents, whether reacting to the capture of reputed Mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, or mourning the death of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.

In all of her reporting, Smith aims to tell personal stories that evoke the emotion and issues of the day. She has filed countless stories on legal, social, and political controversies from the biggies like abortion to smaller-scale disputes over whether to require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms.

With reporting that always push past the polemics, Smith advances the debate with more thoughtful, and thought-provoking, nuanced arguments from both –or all— sides. She has produced award-winning broadcasts on everything from race relations in Boston, adoption and juvenile crime, and has filed several documentary-length reports, including an award-winning half-hour special on modern-day orphanages.

Smith took a leave of absence from NPR in 1998, to launch Here and Now, a daily news magazine produced by NPR Member Station 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 on cooking and movies.

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. Smith filed her first on-air stories as a reporter for local affiliate WBUR in Boston in 1987.

Throughout her career, Smith has won more than two dozen national journalism awards including 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.

She is a graduate of Tufts University, with a degree in international relations.

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Around the Nation
3:44 pm
Fri July 22, 2011

Summer Heat Puts Stress On New England Power Grid

Sweltering heat continued Friday, moving from the Ohio Valley to the East Coast and straining regional power grids.

As temperatures head into near record-breaking territory, demand for power is also getting close to capacity, but authorities in New England say they don't expect to top the record usage set in the summer of 2006. And they're confident they can continue to meet demand.

It's as sure as spring turning to summer. Every time temperatures soar past 90 degrees, fans and conditioners fly off store shelves.

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U.S.
12:01 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Gay Divorce A Higher Hurdle Than Marriage

Since gay marriages aren't recognized by the federal government, gay divorce can be a legal mess.
Fiona Shields/Flickr

As thousands of gay and lesbian couples are planning weddings in New York — and celebrating their hard-fought right to marry — others around the nation are fighting for the right to divorce.

Since most states, and the federal government, don't recognize gay marriages, many same-sex couples are left with no way to officially split.

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Books
5:52 pm
Thu July 14, 2011

Mrs. Mallard Celebrates 70 Years Of Safer Streets

Brianna Henderson and her brother Ian Henderson play on the Make Way for Ducklings statues in Boston. The bronze figures by sculptor Nancy Schön were installed in Boston's Public Garden in 1987.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

It's the 70th anniversary of the classic children's book, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. But it's perhaps only in hindsight one can see how the ducklings were revolutionaries of sorts.

Call them accidental heroes. A very pregnant Mrs. and Mr. Mallard were never looking to change the world when they came to Boston's Public Garden. They just wanted a safe place to settle down.

'She Was A Lot Braver Than I Am'

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U.S.
10:40 am
Mon July 11, 2011

Lesbian Couples Boosting Gay Marriage Numbers

In Boston, experience suggests that pent-up demand for marriage among gays and lesbians will drive a wedding windfall, but it's usually short-lived.

"When marriage is new in a state, there's a surge at the beginning, but then after about a year, that rate starts to slow down. So you see patterns in which same-sex couples are marrying at roughly the same rate as different-sex couples," UCLA demographer Gary Gates says.

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News
12:01 am
Mon June 27, 2011

Pro- And Anti-Gay Marriage Take Heart From NY Vote

Revelers celebrate during the Gay Pride parade in New York, two days after same-sex marriage was approved by the state legislature.
Mario Tama Getty Images

New York's annual Gay Pride Parade became a rolling victory party Sunday, two days after the state became the second largest in the country to legalize same-sex marriage.

One of those celebrating, Lindsey Katt, said she felt "a great sense of joy," although she added with a laugh, "there is a resounding feeling of 'we've won the battle, and now need to keep working to win the war.'"

In New York and around the country, activists on both sides are still fighting the war.

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