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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Around the Nation
5:18 am
Wed April 16, 2014

'World's Largest Rosebush' Graces Arizona Desert Town

The world's largest rosebush, according to Guinness World Records, is in Tombstone, Ariz., and covers 9,000 square feet.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 4:33 pm

Just a few blocks from the OK Corral in Tombstone, Ariz., a former hotel and boarding house hides a treasure.

A sign in front says "World's Largest Rosebush," but most people have no sense of its size until they walk through the building and into the backyard.

The bush, a Lady Banksia Rose, was planted in 1885, back when Tombstone was a boomtown for silver mining. The tree officially covers 9,000 square feet, and its gnarled trunk is about 12 feet around. The whole thing is so big that its branches have to be supported on a massive trellis, which spreads out horizontally.

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News
4:27 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Nevada Ranch Dispute Ends As Feds Back Down — For Now

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 6:42 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

A standoff between federal agents and a Nevada rancher is over for now. Over the weekend, the Bureau of Land Management released about 400 head of cattle it had rounded up, fearing a violent confrontation. Militia members, including many with guns, had rallied in support of the rancher, Cliven Bundy, and his family. NPR's Ted Robbins has the story.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: No BLM. No BLM. No BLM.

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Law
5:21 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

For Albuquerque PD, A Searing Rebuke From Justice Department

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 8:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Justice Department issued a scathing report today on the Albuquerque Police Department's use of force. Albuquerque officers have shot and killed 23 people in the last four years. Many of the victims were mentally or emotionally unstable. The report says the department has systemic deficiencies that caused the deaths and many other incidents. NPR's Ted Robbins has the story.

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Environment
4:30 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Waters Will Flood Part Of Colorado River, For Just A Few Weeks

Thanks to an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, water is flowing to 35 million people in both countries along the Colorado River Delta. At least for now.
Ted Robbins/NPR

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 8:03 pm

Millions of gallons of water used to flow every day from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. Now, the Colorado River ends at Morelos Dam on the U.S.-Mexico border. Below it, one of North America's largest wetlands is dry.

Karl Flessa, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona, began researching the damage two decades ago. Then he started asking how much water it would take to bring back some of the habitats.

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Around the Nation
5:02 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

In Arizona, Citizens Keep Close Eye On Immigration Checkpoint

Members of the Arivaca, Ariz., community monitor an immigration checkpoint about 25 miles north of the Mexican border. Some residents say border agents go beyond their legal authority.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 6:59 pm

Border Patrol checkpoints aren't always near the border. Some aren't even on roads that go to the border. Take Arivaca Road; it's an East-West route 25 miles north of the Mexican border in Southern Arizona.

A Border Patrol checkpoint has been operating there around the clock for seven years. Some residents of the town of Arivaca say agents at the checkpoint go well beyond their legal authority; searching vehicles and questioning citizens without cause. So they've begun their own monitoring — to inspect the process.

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Business
5:04 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Arizona Struggles To Gain Cross-Border Trade With Mexico

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:00 am

In 2010, Arizona passed laws aimed at undocumented immigrants. As a result, business relations with Mexico — Arizona's biggest trading partner — began to suffer.

Law
4:05 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Amid Controversy, 'Right To Refuse' Bill Hits Governor's Desk

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer is being pressured to veto a bill that would allow business owners in the state to deny service to gays and lesbians. To deny service, the business owner has to have sincerely held religious beliefs. That's the legislation's wording. It's become so controversial that even some lawmakers who voted for it are now regretting it.

NPR's Ted Robbins has more.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Equal rights.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When do we want it?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now.

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Around the Nation
4:11 am
Tue February 11, 2014

With An Air Bag, Help During An Avalanche Is A Cord-Yank Away

Derick Noffsinger models a deployed avalanche air bag pack made by Black Diamond at an industry market in Salt Lake City last month.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:03 am

Let's say you're skiing in the backcountry, looking for some powder — but instead, you trigger an avalanche.

If you have an avalanche air bag pack strapped to your back, you just yank the cord. That deploys the air bag, which keeps you close to the surface and easier to dig out, says Andy Wenberg with Backcountry Access, one of several companies making the devices. When deployed, his company's version of the air bag comes out like wings.

"The whole idea when you deploy that thing in an avalanche is you're avoiding burial death," he says.

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Around the Nation
4:47 am
Thu January 30, 2014

In Las Vegas, Lawns Are The Biggest Water Waster

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:24 am

Las Vegas depends on Lake Mead for its water and the reservoir is dropping. The city's water officials long ago instituted water conservation measures. Critics say they are not nearly enough.

The Edge
3:29 am
Thu January 30, 2014

High Schoolers Hit The Slopes, And The Books, At Team Academy

Elite athletes at Team Academy keep up their education in classrooms like this one; their training facilities are downstairs in the same building.
Sarah Brunson USSA

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 10:41 am

Freestyle aerial skier Mac Bohonnon recently finished second at the Val St. Come World Cup in Quebec, and that helped him qualify for the Olympics in Sochi. But when he's not doing triple-twisting double backflips, he's taking Advanced Placement classes at Team Academy in Park City, Utah.

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Law
11:59 am
Sun January 19, 2014

South Texas: The New Hot Spot For Illegal Crossing

The Rio Grande near McAllen, Texas, is more dangerous than it looks because of swift currents and Border Patrol surveillance.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 1:31 pm

As the U.S. government has militarized the California and Arizona segment of the Southwest border over the last two decades, illegal crossers have moved to another area. South Texas has become the new border hot spot.

The Rio Grande Valley is also the closest route to Central America. Two-thirds of those caught crossing are from that troubled region.

The Border Patrol and local authorities are straining to keep up.

Fleeing Poverty And Murder

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Sports
5:28 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Will Team USA's High-Tech Speedskating Suit Pay Off In Gold?

"Mach 39" is the result of a partnership between Under Armour and Lockheed Martin to create the most aerodynamic speedskating suit for the U.S. Olympic team.
Under Armour

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

A years-in-the-making, top-secret engineering and design project for a superaerodynamic suit to be worn by U.S. speedskaters at next month's Winter Olympics was finally unveiled Thursday.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin and sporting goods company Under Armour released photos of the suit they're calling "Mach 39." It has been kept so tightly under wraps that the sport's governing body wouldn't even allow it to be worn at the Olympic trials in Salt Lake City.

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The Salt
3:37 am
Thu January 9, 2014

The Fruits Of Free Trade: How NAFTA Revamped The American Diet

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:21 am

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.

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Business
4:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Wave Of Illegal Immigrants Gains Speed After NAFTA

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

The North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, turns 20 next week. Hailed as a boon for regional trade, it had some undesirable effects. It hastened a trend away from small farmers, and speeded illegal immigration to the U.S.

Around the Nation
5:45 am
Fri December 20, 2013

U.S. Deports 10 Percent Fewer People Last Fiscal Year

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:13 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

The Obama administration has released a figure that caught our attention. It's the number of people deported from the United States during the past fiscal year. For the first time, since the President Obama took office, that number is smaller than the year before.

NPR's Ted Robbins has a look at why.

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