Ted Robbins

A seasoned broadcast journalist, Ted Robbins covers the Southwest: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, West Texas, northern Mexico, and Utah. His seasoning, then, includes plenty of chile pepper. It also includes five years as a regular contributor to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 15 years at the PBS affiliate in Tucson, work as a field producer for CBS News, stints at NBC affiliates in Tucson and Salt Lake City, as well as radio reporting in Salt Lake and print reporting for USA Today. He joined NPR in October 2004 and is based in Tucson.

The Southwest is growing fast and Robbins' beat includes the Mexican border, so his reporting focuses on immigration, water, development, land-use, natural resources, and the environment. From Tombstone to Santa Fe, Phoenix to Las Vegas, Moab to Indian Country, there's no shortage of people, politics, and places worth covering. Throughout it all, 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 done international reporting in Mexico, El Salvador, Nepal, and Sudan.

Robbins' reporting has won numerous awards, including Emmys for a story on sex education in schools, and a series on women at work. He won a CINE Golden Eagle for a 1995 documentary on Mexican agriculture called "Tomatoes for the North."

He says he is delighted to be covering stories for his favorite news source for years before he worked here. Robbins discovered NPR in Los Angeles, where he grew up, while spending hours driving (or standing-still) on freeways.

Robbins earned his B.A. in psychology and his master's in journalism, both from the University of California at Berkeley. He also taught journalism at the University of Arizona for 10 years.

When he's not working, Robbins enjoys camping, hiking, skiing, traveling, movies, theatre, cooking (back to seasoning), reading, and spending time with his young daughter.

 

Walk through the produce section of your supermarket and you'll see things you'd never have seen years ago — like fresh raspberries or green beans in the dead of winter.

Much of that produce comes from Mexico, and it's the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement — NAFTA — which took effect 20 years ago this month.

In the years since, NAFTA radically changed the way we get our fruits and vegetables. For starters, the volume of produce from Mexico to the U.S. has tripled since 1994.

A relic of the Cold War met its end on Thursday. The Air Force destroyed the last B-52 bomber required under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.

A crew used a circular saw to cut through the plane's aluminum skin, the tail section separating from the fuselage with a loud thunk and officially rendering the bomber useless.

Imagine your city council telling the police department how many people it had to keep in jail each night.

That's effectively what Congress has told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a policy known as the "detention bed mandate." The mandate calls for filling 34,000 beds in some 250 facilities across the country, per day, with immigrant detainees.

JPMorgan Chase says it will cover Social Security and Welfare payments for its customers if the government goes into default or the shutdown continues.

If nothing else, it's good public relations for a company which hasn't had much lately.

The bank spent nearly 40 percent of the company's revenue over the last quarter — more than $9 billion — on legal expenses. Money paid to fight government investigations and on fines.

It's chile season in New Mexico, where they take their chiles pretty seriously.

Indeed, the chile is the official state vegetable, so it's probably best to not mention it is actually a fruit. No matter what it is, the fall harvest is on, and that means it's time to fire up the grills.

Green chiles roasting over a hot gas flame give off a smoky, sweet, pungent perfume.

That smell is part of what has drawn customers like Lorenzo and Peggy Lucero to the Diaz farm in Deming, in southwest New Mexico, for the past 30 years.

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These days, the Federal Public Defender's Office in Tucson, Ariz., has lots of space. Since the federal budget cuts known as sequestration began, the office has lost a quarter of its staff to layoffs or furloughs.

Under the Constitution, clients still need legal representation, so judges have to appoint private attorneys to replace the public defenders.

The sequester was supposed to save money. But in this case, the sequester is costing federal dollars.

The Arizona Legislature is debating whether to extend Medicaid to about 300,000 people in the state. The expansion is a requirement to get federal funding under the Affordable Care Act.

The big surprise is who has been leading the charge: Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. She's one of President Obama's staunchest critics and has confounded conservatives in her own party by supporting the expansion.

Google the words "Brewer" and "Obama." You'll get a now-famous image of Brewer wagging her finger at the president on the tarmac last year when she met him in Phoenix.

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