Tovia Smith

An award-winning correspondent based in Boston, Tovia Smith covers breaking news, as well as a wide range of feature stories on legal issues, politics, and social concerns. Most recently she has reported on the advent of gay marriage in Massachusetts, the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic church, the ongoing battles around the 9/11 victims' compensation fund, the case against "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid, and the Rhode Island nightclub fire. She has also covered the New Hampshire and Yankee primaries, the trial of British au pair Louise Woodward, the crashes of Egypt Air, John Kennedy, Jr., and TWA flight 800, and the trial of women's clinic gunman John Salvi.

Smith specializes in in-depth features on a variety of social issues. She has produced award-winning reports on mothers raising their babies in prison, race relations in Boston, and juvenile crime. Her coverage of families and the law includes stories about adoption, custody disputes, and same-sex civil unions. She has also filed several documentary-length reports, including an award-winning half-hour special on modern-day orphanages.

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.

In 1998, Smith took a leave of absence to launch Here and Now, a daily news magazine produced by public radio 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.

She is a graduate of Tufts University, where she earned her degree in international relations. She lives with her family near Boston.



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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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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Wed June 22, 2011
NPR Story

Huntsman's Campaign Wastes No Time, Hits The Road

After formally announcing his Republican presidential campaign Tuesday, Jon Huntsman went straight to New Hampshire to start drumming up votes. On Wednesday, he travels to South Carolina, a critical stop for the former Utah governor and former ambassador to China because he doesn't plan to campaign in Iowa.


Wed June 15, 2011

A Fight To Keep Northern Ireland Interviews Secret

Scholars at Boston College have found themselves in the midst of an international dispute involving shadowy guerilla fighters, gruesome murders, and threats of retribution.

At issue are dozens of secret interviews the college conducted with former paramilitary fighters on both sides of the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland. The British government is demanding access to those files, and Boston College is fighting back in U.S. federal court.

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Sat May 14, 2011

Cash-Strapped Cities Put The Squeeze On Nonprofits

From the nation's founding, those doing the Lord's work, healing the sick or educating the masses have been given a pass on paying taxes. The thinking has been: We owe them more than they owe us.

But in these hard financial times, that thinking is changing.

"I think we've reached a point where something needs to give here," says Ron Rakow, Boston's assessing commissioner.

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Fri April 29, 2011
Around the Nation

Mass. Legislature Takes On Union Rights

Labor leaders in Massachusetts are seething over a bill that would take some aspects of their health insurance plans off the bargaining table — and let cities and towns make those decisions unilaterally. Lawmakers say the change will save municipalities up to a hundred million dollars and avoid layoffs and service cuts. But labor leaders call it an attack on the middle class and the latest in a series of assaults on workers rights. Wisconsin and Ohio are among several other states that have recently moved to cut collective bargaining rights of public employees.


Tue April 12, 2011
Around the Nation

IRS Entangled In Gay Marriage Debate



Some same-sex married couples are planning a protest this tax day. They object to the federal law requiring them to check the single box on their federal tax returns. Same-sex married couples file jointly on their state tax returns, but they're still regarded as single by the federal government, based on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In defiance of that law - known as DOMA - some couples are checking the married box on their federal returns. NPR's Tovia Smith reports.

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Mon March 28, 2011

Amherst Admissions Process

Admissions committees at selective colleges sometimes have to plow through thousands of applications to choose the members of next year's freshman class. So how do they decide who gets in and who doesn't? NPR's Tovia Smith spent a day with the committee at Amherst College to find out.