Ted Robbins

As an NPR correspondent based in Tucson, Arizona, Ted Robbins covers the Southwest including Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

Specifically, Robbins reports on a range of issues from immigration and border security to water issues and wildfires. He covers the economy in the West with an emphasis on the housing market and Las Vegas development. He reported on the January 2011, Tucson shooting that killed six and injured many included Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

From Tombstone to Santa Fe, Phoenix to Las Vegas and Moab to Indian Country, there's no shortage of people, politics and places worth covering in the growing American Southwest. 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 reported internationally in Mexico, El Salvador, Nepal and Sudan.

Robbins' reporting has been honored with numerous accolades, including two Emmy Awards: one for his story on sex education in schools, and another for his series on women in the workforce. He received a CINE Golden Eagle for a 1995 documentary on Mexican agriculture called "Tomatoes for the North."

In 2006, Robbins wrote an article for the Neiman Reports at Harvard about journalism and immigration. He was chosen for a 2009 French-American Foundation Fellowship focused on comparing European and U.S. immigration issues.

Raised in Los Angeles, Robbins became an avid NPR listener while spending hours driving (or stopped in traffic) on congested freeways. He is delighted to now be covering stories for his favorite news source.

Prior to coming to NPR in 2004, Robbins spent five years as a regular contributor to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 15 years at the PBS affiliate in Tucson, and worked as a field producer for CBS News. He worked for NBC affiliates in Tucson and Salt Lake City, where he also did some radio reporting and print reporting for USA Today.

Robbins earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and his master's degree in journalism, both from the University of California at Berkeley. He taught journalism at the University of Arizona for a decade.

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National Security
10:01 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Defense Contractors See Hope In Homeland Security

A vendor talks to attendees at the Border Security Expo in Phoenix, Ariz., next to a display of sophisticated cameras and sensors painted to blend into the desert.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 8:24 am

The Defense Department is bracing for billions of dollars in budget cuts — and that has defense contractors looking for new markets. Homeland Security is one of the most promising, particularly border security, which hasn't suffered any big cuts. So companies are lining up in hopes of landing a contract.

At a border security trade show in Phoenix, Ariz., there's enough surveillance equipment on the floor of the convention center to spot a federal appropriation from 5 miles away.

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Wed February 29, 2012

29 GOP Delegates In Arizona Go To Romney

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And while Mitt Romney was eking out that win in Michigan, he pretty much walked away with yesterday's Arizona primary. Romney was expected to win in Arizona, but he walloped his closest challenger - that would be Rick Santorum - by 20 percentage points. Helped, in part, by the support of the last Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain.

And while all the attention was on Michigan throughout the night, NPR's Ted Robbins reports that in the all-important delegate count, the Arizona win counts for nearly as much.

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Election 2012
12:29 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Retired GOP Voters In Ariz. Unmoved By Mesa Debate

Back in October, a group of Republican voters in Arizona gathered at NPR's request to watch one of the early GOP presidential debates on TV. Wednesday night, they got together again. NPR's Ted Robbins watched with them in Saddlebrooke, a retirement community northwest of Tucson, and asked them to share their thoughts.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Arizona Lawmakers Target Public Workers' Unions

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:21 am

Labor unions plan to rally in front of the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday afternoon to protest four bills quickly moving through the state Legislature that could make last year's Wisconsin labor laws look modest by comparison.

Three of the four bills restrict the way unions collect dues and the way workers get paid for union activities. The fourth bans collective bargaining between governments and government workers: state and local. Unlike Wisconsin, it affects all government employees, including police and firefighters.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Mon February 6, 2012

After Cuts, New Mexico Now Has Budget Surplus

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 5:07 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Our periodic look at state finances takes us next to New Mexico. The situation there looks a lot less awful than it did.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

After three years of painful cuts, the state has a projected surplus. The question now is what to do with the money. Here's NPR's Ted Robbins.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Farmers Take Back Land Slated For Housing

Over the past half-century more than 20 million acres of U.S. farmland were transformed into housing developments. With new home construction all but stopped, farmers in many areas are buying or leasing land once slated for development and planting crops on it.

Around the Nation
2:00 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Tucson Remembers Tragic Shooting 1 Year Ago

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 4:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Last night in Tucson, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords made a rare public appearance at a vigil marking the anniversary of the shooting there last year. Giffords was shot in the head, a dozen others were wounded and six people were killed.

NPR's Ted Robbins attended a weekend of memorial events.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS)

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Around the Nation
4:37 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Ceremonies Commemorate Tuscon Shooting

In Tucson, Ariz., this weekend, ceremonies will mark the shooting one year ago that killed six people and wounded 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords will be in town for the events.

Election 2012
2:00 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Rick Santorum May Be Peaking At The Right Time

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum points to a television showing his campaign stop on live at the Daily Grind coffee shop in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 8:09 am

After concentrating on Iowa more than any other Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum is gaining on front-runners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, a new Des Moines Register poll shows. Santorum is hoping to consolidate Iowa's Christian conservative vote — the strategy that won the state for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee four years ago.

Jeanne Zyzda did not expect more than 100 people in her Sioux City coffee shop, the Daily Grind. Not all at once, and not on a holiday.

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NPR Story
2:57 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Tracking An Order In Real-Life Santa's Workshops

Javier Polendo, an employee at a largely automated Target.com fulfillment center in Tucson, Ariz., scans items to be shipped to online customers.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:23 pm

There's a world of activity between the time online shoppers click the "place order" button and when a holiday package is delivered to their doorsteps. The National Retail Federation estimates that 38 percent of holiday purchases will be made online this year, which is keeping fulfillment centers large and small very busy.

Target.com runs five fulfillment centers. One of them, in Tucson, Ariz., stretches the length of 16 football fields.

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Arts & Life
12:40 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Bolo Tie Goes High-Brow At Arizona Art Exhibit

This silver Navajo bolo tie features coral, jade, shell and other stones. It is on display at the Heard Museum in Phoenix as part of the bolo tie exhibit.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 5:42 pm

Arizona celebrates its centennial next year, and to help get folks spruced up for the occasion, the Heard Museum in Phoenix recently opened an exhibition featuring the state's official neckwear — the bolo tie.

The roots of the bolo tie aren't known for sure. But the story goes like this: Back in the 1930s and '40s, when Western swing was in full swing, a cowboy and silversmith in Wickenburg, Ariz., named Vic Cedarstaff was out riding his horse. The wind picked up, and to keep his silver hatband safe, Cedarstaff looped it around his neck.

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Politics
12:15 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Gingrich's Remarks On Immigration Surprises Many

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich answers a question at Tuesday's Republican presidential debate in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is getting lots of attention for his remarks about immigration in Wednesday night's debate. Gingrich has been moving up in the polls and last night he broke with his fellow candidates by saying that some illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. Though his statements were in line with other GOP candidates from years past, the aftershocks show just how narrow the immigration debate has been in recent years.

Gingrich spouted the typical Repubican line in last night's debate,

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Politics
2:21 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Cain To Vigorously Defend Harassment Allegations

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain responded to accusations of sexual harassment at a news conference in Scotsdale, Ariz., Tuesday. Cain say he has "never acted inappropriately with anyone."

Around the Nation
5:54 am
Sat October 29, 2011

Mexican Trucks In U.S. Still Face Political Long Haul

The Port of Entry at Nogales, Ariz., is in the midst of a massive upgrade to ease congestion caused by up to 1,500 Mexican trucks crossing each day. Nearly two-thirds of the produce consumed in the U.S. and Canada during the winter come through here.

These Mexican trucks stop at warehouses near the border to transfer their loads to U.S. trucks. That's the way it's long been done. Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says that adds cost.

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Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sun October 23, 2011

142 Square Miles Swept For Every Living Thing

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 2:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: Look out your window. How long do you think it would take to identify all the living species you see in your backyard? From a giant oak tree or the family dog right down to the microscopic level, thousands of volunteers and scientists tried to do just that on 142 square miles in one day. NPR's Ted Robbins reports on the BioBlitz outside Tucson.

TED ROBBINS: Bert Frost, the chief scientist for the National Park Service looked at the people roaming Saguaro National Park and thought, we're having a treasure hunt.

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National Security
7:14 am
Wed October 19, 2011

In The Rush To Deport, Expelling U.S. Citizens

The government is not shy about its success deporting people from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently sent out videos of early-morning raids conducted across the country. Uniformed ICE agents are shown planning to capture suspects, followed by shots of the suspects being handcuffed and put into vehicles.

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Politics
6:00 am
Sat October 15, 2011

Recall Election Targets Ala. Immigration Law Author

A relatively small election is getting intense interest in Arizona. It's an election to recall State Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona's strict immigration laws. As NPR's Ted Robbins reports, the recall election is splitting the community along religious as much as political lines.

National Security
10:14 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Defending Defense Contracts: Programs Turn To PR

In southern Arizona, troops take part in a large-scale search-and-rescue exercise called Operation Angel Thunder.

Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 3:45 pm

Five Air Force Pave Hawk helicopters are parked or landing in the high desert east of Tucson, Ariz. They are transporting victims of a mock earthquake as part of a training exercise called Operation Angel Thunder.

"We were always known for staying really quiet and not really saying much," says Brett Hartnett, who started Operation Angel Thunder five years ago.

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