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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U.S.
6:08 am
Wed July 1, 2015

After Supreme Court Decision, What's Next For Gay Rights Groups?

Carlos McKnight waves a flag in support of same-sex marriage outside the Supreme Court.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 9:19 am

Having clinched the long-sought prize of same-sex marriage in all 50 states, some long-time advocates are now waking up to the realization that they need to find a new job. At least one major same-sex marriage advocacy group is preparing to close down and other LGBT organizations are retooling.

They have grown from a ragtag group with a radical idea into a massive multi-million dollar industry of slick and sophisticated sellers of a dream. Today, their very success has made their old jobs obsolete.

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Law
5:31 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

Family Of Suspected Terrorist Killed By Boston Police Call For Investigation

Originally published on Thu June 4, 2015 8:50 pm

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Law
5:41 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Boston Marathon Bomber Gets Emotional During Relatives' Testimony

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 2:02 am

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Law
4:22 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Tsarnaev Defense Urges Jury To Spare His Life

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 8:14 pm

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Live Tweets: Day 3 Of Boston Marathon Bombing Trial's Penalty Phase

NPR's Tovia Smith is covering the sentencing phase of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial in Boston. A jury is weighing whether the 21-year-old convicted in the bombings that killed three people and left 264 others wounded should be put to death for his crimes. Tovia will be tweeting developments as they happen.

Law
4:42 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Sentencing Phase In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Begins

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:25 pm

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Prosecutors began to make their case today for why convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death. The same jury that convicted him will decide Tsarnaev's fate. NPR's Tovia Smith was in court and she joins us now.

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Around the Nation
4:19 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Bostonians Mark 2nd Anniversary Of Marathon Bombing

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 7:49 pm

Bostonians marked the second anniversary of the marathon bombing Wednesday, all while awaiting the sentencing phase of convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to begin. The jury must decide on death or life in prison — a fact that hung over the day's events.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Law
4:36 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

In Closing Argument, Prosecutor Says Tsarnaev Wanted To 'Punish America'

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 7:48 pm

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The Two-Way
3:32 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Closing Arguments To Begin Monday In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

The defense rested its case on Tuesday for admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after just a few hours of testimony. The defense called four people to testify compared to the 92 called by prosecutors.

Tsarnaev's lawyers have admitted he did what he's accused of doing. Their single aim is to try to cast Tsarnaev as less in charge than his brother Tamerlan — who died while they were running from authorities — and therefore less deserving of the death penalty if it gets to that.

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Law
5:14 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Prosecution Rests Case Against Admitted Boston Marathon Bomber

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 6:23 pm

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Law
5:36 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Officers Recall Night Of Battle With Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 8:01 pm

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Energy
5:07 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Boston Bombing Jury Sees Tsarnaev's Writings

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Law
5:22 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Many Question Lack Of Plea Deal In Boston Bombing Case

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:55 pm

The dramatic admission of guilt by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense team in its opening statement Wednesday has generated questions about the trial now underway. Many are wondering why the government wouldn't accept a plea deal in exchange for life in prison, or why Tsarnaev wouldn't want to plead guilty to avoid graphic and disturbing testimony that he's not even contesting.

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Law
5:33 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Opens With Admission Of Guilt

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 8:29 pm

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Law
4:53 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Opening Statements To Begin Nearly 2 Years After Boston Bombing

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:52 am

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U.S.
4:41 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Accused Bomber's Lawyers Say Boston Jury Pool Is Too Biased

A memorial at the site of the first explosion in the Boston Marathon bombing. Defense attorneys say too many people in the potential jury pool have some kind of personal connection to the case.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:58 pm

The search for jurors in the case of accused Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is taking longer than expected.

Defense attorneys say it's nearly impossible to find open-minded, unbiased jurors around Boston. They're asking yet again for the judge to move the trial somewhere else.

From the beginning, defense attorneys have argued the entire jury pool has been poisoned by what they call "a narrative of guilt" from a "tidal wave" of media coverage. Now, Tsarnaev's lawyers say jurors' own comments on a court questionnaire prove widespread bias.

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Law
5:01 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Potential Jurors Screened For Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 6:31 pm

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Law
3:35 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Jury Selection To Begin Monday In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 4:51 pm

The search begins Monday for the jurors who will decide the fate of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It was the deadliest act of terrorism in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks, and the trial is one that many have been waiting for.

A couple of dozen survivors are expected in court for at least part of the trial — including Heather Abbott, who lost a leg in the attack. She's hoping for answers to both why and how the bombing was carried out.

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Law
4:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Makes Court Appearance In Pretrial Hearing

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:32 pm

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Arts + Life
3:46 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Skating Out Classroom Stress As A 'Derby Dame'

Nina Park, also known as Elle L. Cool Jam, is a member of the Cosmonaughties roller derby team in the Boston Derby Dames league.
Kayana Szymczak for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

The NPR Ed team is discovering what teachers do when they're not teaching. Pilot? Artist? Bartender? Explore our Secret Lives of Teachers series.

Every fall, on the first day of school, Nina Park greets her new honors English class with a game called "two truths and a lie." Her students, 10th-graders at TechBoston Academy in Dorchester, Mass. have to guess which is which.

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