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Robert Smith is a correspondent for NPR's Planet Money where he reports on how the global economy is affecting our lives.
If that sounds a little dry, then you've never heard Planet Money. The team specializes in making economic reporting funny, engaging and understandable. Planet Money has been known to set economic indicators to music, use superheroes to explain central banks, and even buy a toxic asset just to figure it out.
Smith admits that he has no special background in finance or math, just a curiosity about how money works. That kind of curiosity has driven Smith for his 20 years in radio.
Before joining Planet Money, Smith was the New York correspondent for NPR. He was responsible for covering all the mayhem and beauty that makes it the greatest city on Earth. Smith reported on the rebuilding of Ground Zero, the stunning landing of US Air flight 1549 in the Hudson River and the dysfunctional world of New York politics. He specialized in features about the overlooked joys of urban living: puddles, billboards, ice cream trucks, street musicians, drunks and obsessives.
When New York was strangely quiet, Smith pitched in covering the big national stories. He traveled with presidential campaigns, tracked the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and reported from the BP oil spill.
Before his New York City gig, Smith worked for public radio stations in Seattle (KUOW), Salt Lake City (KUER) and Portland (KBOO). He's been an editor, a host, a news director and just about any other job you can think of in broadcasting. Smith also lectures on the dark arts of radio at universities and conferences. He trains fellow reporters how to sneak humor and action into even the dullest stories on tight deadlines.
Smith started in broadcasting playing music at KPCW in his hometown of Park City, Utah. Although the low-power radio station at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, likes to claim him as its own.
Ron Elving is the NPR News' Senior Washington Editor directing coverage of the nation's capital and national politics and providing on-air political analysis for many NPR programs.
Elving can regularly be heard on Talk of the Nation providing analysis of the latest in politics. He is also heard on the "It's All Politics" weekly podcast along with NPR's Ken Rudin.
Under Elving's leadership, NPR has been awarded the industry's top honors for political coverage including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a 2002 duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence in broadcast journalism, the Merriman Smith Award for White House reporting from the White House Correspondents Association and the Barone Award from the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."
Before joining NPR in 1999, Elving served as political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, Elving served as a reporter and state capital bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was a media fellow at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Over his career, Elving has written articles published by The Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, and the American Political Science Association. He was a contributor and editor for eight reference works published by Congressional Quarterly Books from 1990 to 2003. His book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. Recently, Elving contributed the chapter, "Fall of the Favorite: Obama and the Media," to James Thurber's Obama in Office: The First Two Years.
Elving teaches public policy in the school of Public Administration at George Mason University and has also taught at Georgetown University, American University and Marquette University.
With an bachelor's degree from Stanford, Elving went on to earn master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California-Berkeley.
Nell Greenfieldboyce is a NPR science correspondent.
With reporting focused on general science, NASA, and the intersection between technology and society, Greenfieldboyce has been on the science desk's technology beat since she joined NPR in 2005.
In that time Greenfieldboyce has reported on topics including the narwhals in Greenland, the ending of the space shuttle program, and the reasons why independent truckers don't want electronic tracking in their cabs.
Much of Greenfieldboyce's reporting reflects an interest in discovering how applied science and technology connects with people and culture. She has worked on stories spanning issues such as pet cloning, gene therapy, ballistics, and federal regulation of new technology.
Prior to NPR, Greenfieldboyce spent a decade working in print, mostly magazines including U.S. News & World Report and New Scientist.
A graduate of Johns Hopkins, earning her Bachelor's of Arts degree in social sciences and a Master's of Arts degree in science writing, Greenfieldboyce taught science writing for four years at the university. She was honored for her talents with the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists.
Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WGCU News. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. Previously, Lopez was a reporter for She also freelances as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
Previously, Lopez was a reporter forWLRN-Miami Herald News and The Florida Independent. She also interned for Talking Points Memo in New York City and WUNC in Durham, North Carolina.
She also freelances as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
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Jeff Brady is a NPR National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia. He covers the mid-Atlantic region and the energy industry.
In this role, Brady reports on the business of energy, from concerns over hydraulic fracturing in Western Pennsylvania to the oil boom in North Dakota and solar developments in the desert Southwest. With a focus on the consumer, Brady's reporting addresses how the energy industry intersects consumers' perspective at the gas pump and light switch.
Frequently traveling throughout the country for NPR, Brady has covered just about every major domestic news event in the past decade. Before moving to Philadelphia in July 2011, Brady was based in Denver and covered the west for NPR.
In 2005, Brady was among the NPR reporters who covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His reporting on flooded cars left behind after the storm exposed efforts to stall the implementation of a national car titling system. Today, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is operational and the Department of Justice estimates it could save car buyers up to $11 billion a year.
Before coming to NPR in September 2003, Brady was a reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) in Portland. He has also worked in commercial television as an anchor and a reporter; and commercial radio as a talk-show host and reporter.
Brady graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University).
As NPR's correspondent covering campaign finance and lobbying, Peter Overby totes around a business card that reads Power, Money & Influence Correspondent. Some of his lobbyist sources call it the best job title in Washington.
Overby was awarded an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia silver baton for his coverage of the 2000 campaign and the 2001 Senate vote to tighten the rules on campaign finance. The citation said his reporting "set the bar" for the beat.
In 2008, he teamed up with the Center for Investigative Reporting on the Secret Money Project, an extended multimedia investigation of outside-money groups in federal elections.
Joining with NPR congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook in 2009, Overby helped to produce Dollar Politics, a multimedia examination of the ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, as Congress considered the health-care overhaul bill. The series went on to win the annual award for excellence in Washington-based reporting given by the Radio and Television Correspondents Association.
Because life is about more than politics, even in Washington, Overby has veered off his beat long enough to do a few other stories, including an appreciation of R&B star Jackie Wilson and a look back at an 1887 shooting in the Capitol, when an angry journalist fatally wounded a congressman-turned-lobbyist.
Before coming to NPR in 1994, Overby was senior editor at Common Cause Magazine, where he shared a 1992 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for magazine writing. His work has appeared in publications ranging from the Congressional Quarterly Guide to Congress and Los Angeles Times to the Utne Reader and Reader's Digest (including the large-print edition).
Overby is a Washington-area native and lives in Northern Virginia with his family.
Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.
Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.
He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.
Julie McCarthy has traveled the world as an international correspondent for NPR, heading NPR's Tokyo bureau, reporting from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and covering the news and issues of South America. McCarthy is currently NPR's correspondent based in New Delhi, India.
In April 2009, McCarthy moved to Islamabad to open NPR's first permanent bureau in Pakistan. Before moving to Islamabad, McCarthy was NPR's South America correspondent based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. McCarthy covered the Middle East for NPR from 2002 to 2005, when she was dispatched to report on the Israeli incursion into the West Bank.
Previously, McCarthy was the London Bureau Chief for NPR, a position that frequently took her far from her post to cover stories that span the globe. She spent five weeks in Iran during the war in Afghanistan, covered the re-election of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and traveled to the Indian island nation of Madagascar to report on the political and ecological developments there. Following the terror attacks on the United States, McCarthy was the lead reporter assigned to investigate al Qaeda in Europe.
In 1994, McCarthy became the first staff correspondent to head NPR's Tokyo bureau. She covered a range of stories in Japan with distinction, including the Kobe earthquake of 1995, the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and the turmoil over U.S. troops on Okinawa. Her coverage of Japan won the East-West Center's Mary Morgan Hewett Award for the Advancement of Journalism.
McCarthy has also traveled extensively throughout Asia. Her coverage of the Asian economic crisis earned her the 1998 Overseas Press Club of America Award. She arrived in Indonesia weeks before the fall of Asia's longest-running ruler and chronicled a nation in chaos as President Suharto stepped from power.
Prior to her assignment in Asia, McCarthy was the foreign editor for Europe and Africa. She served as the Senior Washington Editor during the Persian Gulf War; NPR was honored with a Silver Baton in the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for its coverage of that conflict. McCarthy was awarded a Peabody, two additional Overseas Press Club Awards and the Ohio State Award in her capacity as European and African Editor.
McCarthy was selected to spend the 2002-2003 academic year at Stanford University, winning a place in the Knight Journalism Fellowship Program. In 1994, she was a Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii.
David Kestenbaum is a correspondent for NPR, covering science, energy issues and, most recently, the global economy for NPR's multimedia project Planet Money. David has been a science correspondent for NPR since 1999. He came to journalism the usual way — by getting a Ph.D. in physics first.
In his years at NPR, David has covered science's discoveries and its darker side, including the Northeast blackout, the anthrax attacks and the collapse of the New Orleans levees. He has also reported on energy issues, particularly nuclear and climate change.
David has won awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
David worked briefly on the show This American Life, and set up a radio journalism program in Cambodia on a Fulbright fellowship. He also teaches a journalism class at Johns Hopkins University.
David holds a bachelor's of science degree in physics from Yale University and a doctorate in physics from Harvard University.
Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent for NPR based in New York City.
Pesca enjoys training his microphone on anything that occurs at a track, arena, stadium, park, fronton, velodrome or air strip (i.e. the plane drag during the World's Strongest Man competition). He has reported from Los Angeles, Cleveland and Gary. He has also interviewed former Los Angeles Ram Cleveland Gary. Pesca is a panelist on the weekly Slate podcast “Hang up and Listen”.
In 1997, Pesca began his work in radio as a producer at WNYC. He worked on the NPR and WNYC program On The Media. Later he became the New York correspondent for NPR's midday newsmagazine Day to Day, a job that has brought him to the campaign trail, political conventions, hurricane zones and the Manolo Blahnik shoe sale. Pesca was the first NPR reporter to have his own podcast, a weekly look at gambling cleverly titled “On Gambling with Mike Pesca.”
Pesca, whose writing has appeared in Slate and The Washington Post, is the winner of two Edward R. Murrow awards for radio reporting and, in1993, was named Emory University Softball Official of the Year.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife Robin, sons Milo and Emmett and their dog Rumsfeld. A believer in full disclosure, Pesca rates his favorite teams as the Jets, Mets, St. Johns Red Storm and Knicks, teams he has covered fairly and without favor despite the fact that they have given him a combined one championship during his lifetime as a fully cognizant human.