NPR: Ted Robbins

As an NPR correspondent based in Tucson, Arizona, Ted Robbins covers the Southwest including Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

Specifically, Robbins reports on a range of issues from immigration and border security to water issues and wildfires. He covers the economy in the West with an emphasis on the housing market and Las Vegas development. He reported on the January 2011, Tucson shooting that killed six and injured many included Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

From Tombstone to Santa Fe, Phoenix to Las Vegas and Moab to Indian Country, there's no shortage of people, politics and places worth covering in the growing American Southwest. Robbins' reporting is driven by his curiosity to find, understand and communicate all sides of each story through accurate, clear and engaging coverage. In addition to his domestic work, Robbins has reported internationally in Mexico, El Salvador, Nepal and Sudan.

Robbins' reporting has been honored with numerous accolades, including two Emmy Awards: one for his story on sex education in schools, and another for his series on women in the workforce. He received a CINE Golden Eagle for a 1995 documentary on Mexican agriculture called "Tomatoes for the North."

In 2006, Robbins wrote an article for the Neiman Reports at Harvard about journalism and immigration. He was chosen for a 2009 French-American Foundation Fellowship focused on comparing European and U.S. immigration issues.

Raised in Los Angeles, Robbins became an avid NPR listener while spending hours driving (or stopped in traffic) on congested freeways. He is delighted to now be covering stories for his favorite news source.

Prior to coming to NPR in 2004, Robbins spent five years as a regular contributor to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 15 years at the PBS affiliate in Tucson, and worked as a field producer for CBS News. He worked for NBC affiliates in Tucson and Salt Lake City, where he also did some radio reporting and print reporting for USA Today.

Robbins earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and his master's degree in journalism, both from the University of California at Berkeley. He taught journalism at the University of Arizona for a decade.

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12:01am

Thu February 9, 2012
Around the Nation

Arizona Lawmakers Target Public Workers' Unions

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:21 am

Labor unions plan to rally in front of the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday afternoon to protest four bills quickly moving through the state Legislature that could make last year's Wisconsin labor laws look modest by comparison.

Three of the four bills restrict the way unions collect dues and the way workers get paid for union activities. The fourth bans collective bargaining between governments and government workers: state and local. Unlike Wisconsin, it affects all government employees, including police and firefighters.

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4:00am

Mon February 6, 2012
Politics

After Cuts, New Mexico Now Has Budget Surplus

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 7:07 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Our periodic look at state finances takes us next to New Mexico. The situation there looks a lot less awful than it did.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

After three years of painful cuts, the state has a projected surplus. The question now is what to do with the money. Here's NPR's Ted Robbins.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

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4:00am

Mon January 23, 2012
Around the Nation

Farmers Take Back Land Slated For Housing

Over the past half-century more than 20 million acres of U.S. farmland were transformed into housing developments. With new home construction all but stopped, farmers in many areas are buying or leasing land once slated for development and planting crops on it.

4:00am

Mon January 9, 2012
Around the Nation

Tucson Remembers Tragic Shooting 1 Year Ago

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 6:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Last night in Tucson, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords made a rare public appearance at a vigil marking the anniversary of the shooting there last year. Giffords was shot in the head, a dozen others were wounded and six people were killed.

NPR's Ted Robbins attended a weekend of memorial events.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS)

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6:37am

Fri January 6, 2012
Around the Nation

Ceremonies Commemorate Tuscon Shooting

In Tucson, Ariz., this weekend, ceremonies will mark the shooting one year ago that killed six people and wounded 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords will be in town for the events.

4:00am

Tue January 3, 2012
Election 2012

Iowa Set To Begin 2012 Presidential Voting

The voting in the Iowa GOP caucuses begins Tuesday night. On the last day before the caucuses, Republican presidential candidates campaigned across the state Monday. Their goal was the same — motivating supporters to leave their homes on a cold evening, go to their precinct meeting places and vote.

4:00am

Mon January 2, 2012
Election 2012

Rick Santorum May Be Peaking At The Right Time

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 10:09 am

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum points to a television showing his campaign stop on live at the Daily Grind coffee shop in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

After concentrating on Iowa more than any other Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum is gaining on front-runners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, a new Des Moines Register poll shows. Santorum is hoping to consolidate Iowa's Christian conservative vote — the strategy that won the state for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee four years ago.

Jeanne Zyzda did not expect more than 100 people in her Sioux City coffee shop, the Daily Grind. Not all at once, and not on a holiday.

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4:00am

Fri December 16, 2011
Law

DOJ Probe Finds Ariz. Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Joe Arpaio, the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff, is not backing down. The U.S. Justice Department yesterday accused his sheriff's department in Maricopa County, Arizona of systematically violating the constitutional and civil rights of Latinos. By the end of the day, NPR's Ted Robbins reports, the sheriff was hitting back.

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4:57pm

Thu December 15, 2011
NPR Story

Tracking An Order In Real-Life Santa's Workshops

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 8:23 pm

Javier Polendo, an employee at a largely automated Target.com fulfillment center in Tucson, Ariz., scans items to be shipped to online customers.
Ted Robbins NPR

There's a world of activity between the time online shoppers click the "place order" button and when a holiday package is delivered to their doorsteps. The National Retail Federation estimates that 38 percent of holiday purchases will be made online this year, which is keeping fulfillment centers large and small very busy.

Target.com runs five fulfillment centers. One of them, in Tucson, Ariz., stretches the length of 16 football fields.

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2:40pm

Fri December 9, 2011
Arts & Life

Bolo Tie Goes High-Brow At Arizona Art Exhibit

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 7:42 pm

This silver Navajo bolo tie features coral, jade, shell and other stones. It is on display at the Heard Museum in Phoenix as part of the bolo tie exhibit.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum

Arizona celebrates its centennial next year, and to help get folks spruced up for the occasion, the Heard Museum in Phoenix recently opened an exhibition featuring the state's official neckwear — the bolo tie.

The roots of the bolo tie aren't known for sure. But the story goes like this: Back in the 1930s and '40s, when Western swing was in full swing, a cowboy and silversmith in Wickenburg, Ariz., named Vic Cedarstaff was out riding his horse. The wind picked up, and to keep his silver hatband safe, Cedarstaff looped it around his neck.

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2:15pm

Wed November 23, 2011
Politics

Gingrich's Remarks On Immigration Surprises Many

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich answers a question at Tuesday's Republican presidential debate in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is getting lots of attention for his remarks about immigration in Wednesday night's debate. Gingrich has been moving up in the polls and last night he broke with his fellow candidates by saying that some illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. Though his statements were in line with other GOP candidates from years past, the aftershocks show just how narrow the immigration debate has been in recent years.

Gingrich spouted the typical Repubican line in last night's debate,

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3:00pm

Wed November 9, 2011
NPR Story

Ariz. Anti-Illegal Immigration Champion Loses Recall

The architect of Arizona's strict anti-immigration law has lost a recall election. State Senate president Russell Pearce lost to a fellow Republican.

4:21am

Wed November 9, 2011
Politics

Cain To Vigorously Defend Harassment Allegations

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain responded to accusations of sexual harassment at a news conference in Scotsdale, Ariz., Tuesday. Cain say he has "never acted inappropriately with anyone."

7:54am

Sat October 29, 2011
Around the Nation

Mexican Trucks In U.S. Still Face Political Long Haul

The Port of Entry at Nogales, Ariz., is in the midst of a massive upgrade to ease congestion caused by up to 1,500 Mexican trucks crossing each day. Nearly two-thirds of the produce consumed in the U.S. and Canada during the winter come through here.

These Mexican trucks stop at warehouses near the border to transfer their loads to U.S. trucks. That's the way it's long been done. Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says that adds cost.

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8:00am

Sun October 23, 2011
Around the Nation

142 Square Miles Swept For Every Living Thing

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 4:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: Look out your window. How long do you think it would take to identify all the living species you see in your backyard? From a giant oak tree or the family dog right down to the microscopic level, thousands of volunteers and scientists tried to do just that on 142 square miles in one day. NPR's Ted Robbins reports on the BioBlitz outside Tucson.

TED ROBBINS: Bert Frost, the chief scientist for the National Park Service looked at the people roaming Saguaro National Park and thought, we're having a treasure hunt.

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9:14am

Wed October 19, 2011
National Security

In The Rush To Deport, Expelling U.S. Citizens

The government is not shy about its success deporting people from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently sent out videos of early-morning raids conducted across the country. Uniformed ICE agents are shown planning to capture suspects, followed by shots of the suspects being handcuffed and put into vehicles.

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8:00am

Sat October 15, 2011
Politics

Recall Election Targets Ala. Immigration Law Author

A relatively small election is getting intense interest in Arizona. It's an election to recall State Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona's strict immigration laws. As NPR's Ted Robbins reports, the recall election is splitting the community along religious as much as political lines.

12:14am

Fri October 14, 2011
National Security

Defending Defense Contracts: Programs Turn To PR

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 5:45 pm

In southern Arizona, troops take part in a large-scale search-and-rescue exercise called Operation Angel Thunder.

Ted Robbins NPR

Five Air Force Pave Hawk helicopters are parked or landing in the high desert east of Tucson, Ariz. They are transporting victims of a mock earthquake as part of a training exercise called Operation Angel Thunder.

"We were always known for staying really quiet and not really saying much," says Brett Hartnett, who started Operation Angel Thunder five years ago.

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6:04am

Fri September 30, 2011
Life In Retirement: The Not-So-Golden Years

What Is Retirement, Anyway?

Planning for retirement isn't just about mutual funds, 401(k)s and reverse mortgages anymore. With the traditional notions of retirement changing, figuring out how to spend our later years requires a different approach.

12:01am

Thu August 25, 2011
Around the Nation

New U.S. Deportation Policy Spares Some

Immigrants and their lawyers are beginning to see the effects of the White House policy announced last week that downgrades some deportation cases.

The Department of Homeland Security says it hasn't officially begun to prioritize all 300,000 cases before the nation's immigration courts, but prosecutors are definitely employing newfound discretion.

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8:22am

Sun August 7, 2011
U.S.

Illegal Border Crossings Fewer But Just As Deadly

This border patrol rescue beacon is in the desert about 15 miles north of the Mexican border southwest of Tucson. Anyone in need can push the button for an emergency response. The instructions are in English, Spanish and the local Native American language.
Ted Robbins NPR

Over the last decade, the U.S. government has spent billions beefing up surveillance, manpower and fencing along the border with Mexico. Fewer people are attempting to cross, but hundreds of migrants still die every year, and not a day goes by without a rescue by border patrol agents.

Officials and humanitarian groups are ramping up efforts to find illegal crossers before the worst happens, and they're hoping new deterrents convince people not to cross in the first place.

Catching The Crossers

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4:00am

Tue July 12, 2011
Around the Nation

Immigration Activists Picket MLB's All-Star Game

Protesters have backed off a planned boycott of today's Major League All-Star Game in Phoenix. Instead, they'll hand out white ribbons to rally opposition to Arizona's tough anti-immigration law. Meanwhile, the game will be missing some of its top stars, including Alex Rodriguez, Placido Polanco and Albert Pujols. They're out with injuries.

10:47am

Thu July 7, 2011
Around the Nation

'Dig This' Offers New Kind Of Sandbox Experience

A Caterpillar Excavator at Dig This. Dig This let's park attendees drive and operate construction equipment.
Ted Robbins NPR

Las Vegas just opened up a new playground, but it's not for children.

It's called Dig This, and it claims to be the first heavy-equipment playground — as in construction equipment.

Before riding, participants attend a safety and equipment orientation. The park is also staffed with instructors, like Phil Chavez who is a former construction worker. Chavez can communicate with riders over a wireless headset, and just to be extra safe, he has a kill switch in case a machine gets out of control.

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3:00pm

Mon July 4, 2011
NPR Story

Fire-Ravaged Southwest Prepares For Rainy Season

Teams of firefighters and disaster management officials are going into already-burned areas of the Southwest to figure out how to prevent flooding now that the rainy season is beginning. They're looking for debris that's blocking streams — and for areas now devoid of trees that held together the soil.

3:00pm

Fri May 13, 2011
National Security

Border Patrol Officers Die In Crash

The Border Patrol says two officers died Thursday after their car was hit by a train. They were in pursuit of smugglers when the accident happened.

3:00pm

Tue May 10, 2011
Politics

Locals React To Obama's Immigration Speech

The U.S. Mexico border has become a militarized zone — with fences, surveillance equipment and thousands of police and military personnel on both sides. In his remarks today, President Obama said his administration has answered critics' concerns about border security. But people who live in the region aren't so sure.

2:35pm

Wed April 20, 2011
Law

A Year Later, Arizona Still Split Over Immigration

It's been a year since Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the tough immigration bill known as SB 1070. The law made it a state crime to be in the country illegally, and it mandated that local police question the immigration status of anyone they stopped for a crime.

Demonstrations, boycotts and court cases ensued in the aftermath of enactment. A year later, SB 1070's supporters call it a success. Opponents say it's a disaster. Either way, it's changed the state.

'Just More Piling On'

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