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.


Las Vegas just opened up a new playground, but it's not for children.

It's called Dig This, and it claims to be the first heavy-equipment playground — as in construction equipment.

Before riding, participants attend a safety and equipment orientation. The park is also staffed with instructors like Phil Chavez, a former construction worker. Chavez can communicate with riders over a wireless headset, and just to be extra safe, he has a kill switch in case a machine gets out of control.

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Two U.S. Border Patrol agents are dead after a tragic accident in Arizona. They were killed during a high-speed chase in the desert.

As NPR's Ted Robbins reports, the agents were on the trail of smugglers when their vehicle was hit by a freight train.

It's been a year since Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the tough immigration bill known as SB 1070. The law made it a state crime to be in the country illegally, and it mandated that local police question the immigration status of anyone they stopped for a crime.

Demonstrations, boycotts and court cases ensued in the aftermath of enactment. A year later, SB 1070's supporters call it a success. Opponents say it's a disaster. Either way, it's changed the state.

'Just More Piling On'

On Capitol Hill, it's goodbye biodegradable, hello plastic foam.

For the last four years, Capitol restaurants used eco-friendly plates, cups and utensils — all part of former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's "Green the Capitol" campaign.

Republicans, who are now in charge of the House, have gone after the tableware — and maybe more.

Quality Concerns

You can get a good lunch for less than $10 in the cafeteria at the Capitol's Rayburn House Office Building. And you can recycle the plastic water bottles — for now.