Robert Smith

Robert Smith is NPR's New York Correspondent. Before moving into his current position, Smith was NPR's education reporter and covered public schools and universities on the West Coast. He reported on a variety of issues facing the education system, including the challenges of over-crowding, tight budgets, teacher retention, and new technology.

Smith's reports have been heard on NPR since 1994, first as a freelance reporter based in the Northwest, then during a short stint for NPR in Los Angeles. Specializing in the offbeat, Smith has taken his microphone into some strange worlds. He traveled into the backcountry with Gearheads to talk about their obsession with camping technology; he snuck into a all-night rave in the California desert; he has dressed up as Santa Claus for an undercover look at the wild night of Santarchy; and he has trained for the oft-mocked Olympic sport of curling. He is particularly fascinated by clowns and turkeys.

Born in London, Ontario, Canada, Smith emigrated to the United States with his family. He grew up in the ski-resort town of Park City, Utah, where he started in radio by hosting a music show while in high school. Smith graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, in 1989, and began reporting for community radio station KBOO. He followed with reporting jobs at KUER in Salt Lake City and KUOW in Seattle, where he was also news director.

Smith now lives in New York with his wife, Robbyn. When he's not reporting, Smith enjoys barbecuing and model rocketry.

Pages

12:53am

Fri October 19, 2012
Planet Money

The Candidate Is Fake; The Consultants Are Real

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:31 am

One consultant's vision for our political ad: "I see a horse."
iStockphoto.com

When our series began yesterday, we brought together five economists from across the political spectrum and had them create a platform for their dream presidential candidate. It's a platform — Get rid of a tax deduction for homeowners!

Read more

2:16pm

Thu October 18, 2012
Planet Money

Two More Policies Economists Love And Politicians Hate

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:32 am

Going up.
Paul Sakuma AP

Watching a presidential campaign, it's easy to think that the nation is deeply divided over how to fix the economy. But when you talk to economists, it turns out they agree on an enormous number of issues.

So we brought together five economists from across the political spectrum and had them create a platform their dream presidential candidate. This is the second in our four-part series. We'll have more tomorrow.

Read more

1:32am

Thu October 18, 2012
Planet Money

A Tax Plan That Economists Love (And Politicians Hate)

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 10:51 am

The mortgage is going to cost more than you thought.
Paul Sakuma AP

Watching a presidential campaign, it's easy to think that the nation is deeply divided over how to fix the economy. But when you talk to economists, it turns out they agree on an enormous number of issues.

So we brought together five economists from across the political spectrum and had them create their dream presidential candidate. Over the next few days, we'll have a series of stories on our economists' dream candidate. We start this morning with some changes to the tax code.

Read more

3:42am

Wed October 3, 2012
Planet Money

Why New York Is A Hub In The Global Trinket Trade

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 9:07 am

Lam Thuy Vo NPR

For more on the junk economy, see this slideshow.

There's a neighborhood in New York City that has always been a mystery to us. Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, around 29th street, is the wholesale district. There you can find rows of narrow storefronts packed to the ceiling with trinkets. Racks and racks of fake gold chains. Acres of souvenir lighters and walls of belt buckles. Plastic, plastic, plastic toys.

Read more
Tags: 

11:26am

Mon October 1, 2012
Planet Money

A Brass Band Plays An Economic Indicator

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 1:23 pm

The ISM manufacturing index can be a warning for the rest of the economy. In 2008, the index was one of the first signs that the economy was slowing. Since then, the numbers have been recovering and manufacturers have been expanding. But this June, the number started to get worse.

We asked the No BS! Brass Band to turn these numbers into a song.

Read more

Pages