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Hosts, Reporters and Producers
Larry Abramson is NPR's National Security Correspondent. He covers the Pentagon, as well as issues relating to the thousands of vets returning home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Prior to his current role, Abramson was NPR's Education Correspondent covering a wide variety of issues related to education, from federal policy to testing to instructional techniques in the classroom. His reporting focused on the impact of for-profit colleges and universities, and on the role of technology in the classroom. He made a number of trips to New Orleans to chart the progress of school reform there since Hurricane Katrina. Abramson also covers a variety of news stories beyond the education beat.
In 2006, Abramson returned to the education beat after spending nine years covering national security and technology issues for NPR. Since 9/11, Abramson has covered telecommunications regulation, computer privacy, legal issues in cyberspace, and legal issues related to the war on terrorism.
During the late 1990s, Abramson was involved in several special projects related to education. He followed the efforts of a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, to include severely disabled students in regular classroom settings. He joined the National Desk reporting staff in 1997.
For seven years prior to his position as a reporter on the National Desk, Abramson was senior editor for NPR's National Desk. His department was responsible for approximately 25 staff reporters across the United States, five editors in Washington, and news bureaus in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The National Desk also coordinated domestic news coverage with news departments at many of NPR's member stations. The desk doubled in size during Abramson's tenure. He oversaw the development of specialized beats in general business, high-technology, workplace issues, small business, education, and criminal justice.
Abramson joined NPR in 1985 as a production assistant with Morning Edition. He moved to the National Desk, where he served for two years as Western editor. From there, he became the deputy science editor with NPR's Science Unit, where he helped win a duPont-Columbia Award as editor of a special series on Black Americans and AIDS.
Prior to his work at NPR, Abramson was a freelance reporter in San Francisco and worked with Voice of America in California and in Washington, D.C.
He has a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Abramson also studied overseas at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and at the Free University in Berlin, Germany.
Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for Fresh Air. He is a cultural critic who has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications.
Tucker is the author of Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate About Television.
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.
Whether covering the manhunt and eventual capture of Eric Robert Rudolph in the mountains of North Carolina, the remnants of the Oklahoma City federal building with its twisted metal frame and shattered glass, flood-ravaged Midwestern communities, or the terrorist bombings across the country, including the blast that exploded in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, correspondent Kathy Lohr has been at the heart of stories all across the nation.
Lohr was NPR's first reporter based in the Midwest. She opened NPR's St. Louis office in 1990 and the Atlanta bureau in 1996. Lohr covers the abortion issue on an ongoing basis for NPR, including political and legal aspects. She has often been sent into disasters as they are happening, to provide listeners with the intimate details about how these incidents affect people and their lives.
Lohr filed her first report for NPR while working for member station KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and began her journalism career in commercial television and radio as a reporter/anchor. Lohr also became involved in video production for national corporations and taught courses in television reporting and radio production at universities in Kansas and Missouri. She has filed reports for the NPR documentary program Horizons, the BBC, the CBC, Marketplace, and she was published in the Saturday Evening Post.
Lohr won the prestigious Missouri Medal of Honor for Excellence in Journalism in 2002. She received a fellowship from Vanderbilt University for work on the issue of domestic violence. Lohr has filed reports from 27 states and the District of Columbia. She has received other national awards for her coverage of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Midwestern floods of 1993, and for her reporting on ice storms in the Mississippi Delta. She has also received numerous awards for radio pieces on the local level prior to joining NPR's national team. Lohr was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. She now lives in her adopted hometown of Atlanta, covering stories across the southeastern part of the country.