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.

Pages

Dead Stop
3:40 am
Tue August 14, 2012

A Wild Resting Place For Gunslingers And Cowboys

The Boot Hill cemetery in Tombstone, Ariz., is filled with the graves of men who met their end in the Wild West. While there are many such cemeteries in the Western U.S., Tombstone's is considered the most famous.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 9:03 am

If you're from a state once considered the "Old West," odds are you've heard of a Boot Hill graveyard. Turns out there are a number of Boot Hill cemeteries in the West, so named because many of their inhabitants died violently — with their boots on.

But of all the Boot Hill cemeteries, none is as famous as Boot Hill in Tombstone, Ariz.

It's a tough-looking place. No lawn, just gravel, mesquite trees and cactus. The graves are covered with stones to keep varmints from digging up the bones.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:23 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Ariz. Activists Rally For Votes Against Sheriff Arpaio

Rosa Maria Soto protests Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio outside the federal courthouse on July 19 in Phoenix. It was the first day of a trial that accuses Arpaio's office of racially profiling Latinos.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 9:17 am

Testimony is scheduled to end Thursday in the racial-profiling suit against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff faces a class-action civil suit on behalf of Latino citizens and legal residents in Maricopa County.

The plaintiffs say deputies stopped and detained them because of the color of their skin. As lawyers fight Arpaio in the courtroom, activists outside are using the trial as a rallying point against the sheriff in his upcoming election.

'Adios Arpaio'

Read more
Law
6:05 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Ariz. Sheriff Arpaio Grilled On Racial Profiling

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Read more
Law
3:04 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Controversial Ariz. Sheriff's Tactics Go On Trial

A trial begins Thursday in Phoenix accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seen in this May 3, 2010, file photo, of violating the civil rights of Latino citizens and legal U.S. residents.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 10:04 am

The self-proclaimed "Toughest Sheriff in America" is facing one of his toughest tests. A trial begins Thursday morning in Phoenix accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of violating the civil rights of Latino citizens and legal U.S. residents. The class-action civil suit says the sheriff went over the line in his efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

Read more
Animals
4:17 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Wild Mustangs Give Patrol Horsepower On The Border

Border Patrol Agent Bobbi Schad pets a mustang at the agency's training facility in Willcox, Ariz., last August.
Joshua Lott Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 10:26 pm

It's all new for Achilles: his name, his horseshoes, the surroundings at his home near Nogales, Ariz.

"To break 'em from what they're focusing on, you want to turn 'em from one side to the next," Border Patrol agent Luis Navarro says as he carefully leads Achilles into a round training arena.

Navarro holds the mustang by a short lead, and teaches it commands to trot and to slow down.

Read more
Architecture
6:05 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Still Unimplemented, Ariz. Law Has Chilling Effect

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 6:49 pm

It will be weeks — maybe longer — before the one part of Arizona's immigration law the Supreme Court left standing goes into effect. A lower court has to remove its injunction before local police are required to ask about immigration status. But as NPR's Ted Robbins reports, there's already been a backlash.

Law
4:58 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Ariz. Gov. Brewer Calls Supreme Court Ruling A Win

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 8:25 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's return, now, to the governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer. As we heard a moment ago, she's calling this a win, even though the Court struck down most of the Arizona law and said it would wait and see how the show me your papers provision is applied.

Read more
Law
5:13 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

High Court Leaves Core Of Immigration Law Intact

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 5:27 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

To the Supreme Court now and a much-anticipated decision on Arizona's controversial immigration law. The justices struck down most of SB1070, as the law is known. But the court did unanimously allow one key provision to take effect, and that's giving both sides reason to claim victory. We'll delve more deeply into the ruling with Nina Totenberg elsewhere in the program, but now to reaction from Arizona and NPR's Ted Robbins.

And Ted, let's start first with the three provisions of this law that were blocked. What were they?

Read more
Politics
6:03 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Ariz. Voters Pick Giffords' Aide To Replace Her

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 7:00 am

Voters in Southern Arizona decided Tuesday who will replace former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for the remainder of her term: her former district director, Ron Barber. Giffords resigned from Congress in January to focus on recovery from injuries she suffered in a shooting in early 2011. Barber was also injured. His Republican opponent, Tucson businessman Jesse Kelly, narrowly lost to Giffords two years ago.

Economy
5:20 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Part-Time Workers Skew Jobs Figures In Arizona

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 6:13 pm

Arizona is among the top ten states for job growth. But that includes part-time jobs, so thousands may be underemployed.

Around the Nation
5:09 am
Fri May 25, 2012

In Ariz. Contest, A Debate Over Government's Reach

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:22 am

Voters in southern Arizona's 8th Congressional District are deciding who will fill the seat formerly held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The Democrat resigned in January, a year after she was badly injured by a gunman at a district event in Tucson.

Giffords' resignation set in motion a special election to serve out the rest of her two-year term. Giffords' former district director, Ron Barber, won the Democratic nomination uncontested. Jesse Kelly easily beat three opponents in the Republican primary.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:27 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Arizona Sheriff Arpaio Plans To Fight DOJ Lawsuit

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 7:10 am

The Department of Justice has announced it is suing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio because of civil rights violations. He became a controversial figure for his tough stance on immigrants. Arpaio says he will not surrender his office and will fight the suit.

Crisis In The Housing Market
3:05 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Some Housing Markets Rebound, But Bargains Scarce

While some sections of Arizona's housing market have shown signs of recovery, potential homebuyers who are looking for affordable houses have been frustrated. This file photo from 2008 shows a subdivision extending into desert scrubland.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 9:12 am

The real estate market has turned around in some parts of the U.S., but many buyers aren't seeing true bargains anymore. Investors are driving up prices, and inventory is low, especially for homes priced under $250,000. That's not great news for anyone hoping to buy an affordable house to live in.

Arizona is home to one of the nation's extraordinary turnarounds. The Phoenix-area median home price rose 20 percent over the past year — 6 percent in March alone. And Tucson was recently named the nation's best market for investors. But the easy money has already been made.

Read more
Animals
4:57 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

A Bug's Life: Store Caters To Collectors Of Crawly Pets

The Poecilotheria metallica is a species of tarantula that reflects a metallic blue color. It is just one of many tarantulas for sale in Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil's pet store. Price: $200.
Kenthebugguy.com

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:49 pm

If you're the kind of person who screams at the sight of an insect or spider — or worse, steps on it — then a new store in Tucson, Ariz., might not be the best place for you to pick up a new family pet.

Owner Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil says his store is the only retail pet shop in the country devoted to insects and other arthropods. Judging from the recent opening day crowd at the store, plenty of people think the critters make great pets.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:00 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Calif. Study: Nail Products Contain Toxic Chemicals

Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 10:22 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

If you want a mani-pedi - that's a manicure and pedicure to the uninitiated - you don't have to walk very far here in California. There are about 48,000 nail salons throughout the state. A new study by the state government now says some products used in those salons contain toxic substances, even though the products are billed as nontoxic. That sounds scary for salon owners and workers and clients, but representatives of the nail care industry say the study is nonsense. NPR's Ted Robbins reports.

Read more
Sports
2:56 am
Wed April 11, 2012

New Season, New Owners For Los Angeles Dodgers

The L.A. Dodgers stand on the third baseline during the national anthem on opening day at Dodger Stadium. They beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-1, on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Harry How Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 9:31 am

It was a sold out game on a pure Southern California day.

"Isn't this beautiful? Blue sky, not a cloud in the air, nice little breeze," said Maury Wills, who was the Dodgers shortstop in 1962. "It's warm Southern California."

Wills joined a bunch of his old teammates Tuesday to celebrate Dodger Stadium's 50th anniversary. It's also the 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys. So they sang the national anthem after "Surfer Girl."

Read more
Sports
3:53 pm
Sun March 18, 2012

After Ownership Drama, Dodgers Want To Play Ball

Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch on March 8 in Glendale, Ariz.
Christian Petersen Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 5:50 pm

Things are looking pretty good at the Dodgers spring training complex in Glendale, Ariz. They have Cy Young Award winning Clayton Kershaw anchoring their pitching staff and at the plate, the National league MVP runner-up, Matt Kemp.

"Hopefully, we can start out the way we finished last year and be consistent throughout the whole year," Kemp said.

Everyone has had enough of what's been happening off the field.

Read more
National Security
12:01 am
Fri March 16, 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 10:24 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.

Read more
Election 2012
4:00 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.

Read more
Election 2012
2:29 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.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Arizona Lawmakers Target Public Workers' Unions

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:21 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.

Read more
Politics
4:00 am
Mon February 6, 2012

After Cuts, New Mexico Now Has Budget Surplus

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 7:07 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)

Read more
Politics
3:00 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Tucson, Ariz., Reacts To Giffords Resignation

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is stepping down from her seat. She made the announcement Sunday, and Monday she spent time with the people who were with her last January when she was shot through the head at a community event in her home district.

Around the Nation
4:00 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
4:00 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Tucson Remembers Tragic Shooting 1 Year Ago

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 6:27 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)

Read more
Around the Nation
6:37 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.

NPR Story
4:00 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Iowa Set To Begin 2012 Presidential Voting

The voting in the Iowa GOP caucuses begins Tuesday night. On the last day before the caucuses, Republican presidential candidates campaigned across the state Monday. Their goal was the same — motivating supporters to leave their homes on a cold evening, go to their precinct meeting places and vote.

Election 2012
4:00 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 10:09 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.

Read more
It Was A Good Year For...
6:01 am
Sun December 25, 2011

With New Strategy, Record Numbers Deported

Honduran migrants deported from the United States wait to complete their paperwork as they return to their home country in August.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

2011 was a record year for deportations. During the last federal fiscal year, 396,000 people were removed from the U.S., mostly sent to Latin America.

John Morton heads the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency that identifies people inside the country illegally and prosecutes them.

"We set out to have a year of smart immigration enforcement, and we did just that," he says.

Read more
Law
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

DOJ Probe Finds Ariz. Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Joe Arpaio, the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff, is not backing down. The U.S. Justice Department yesterday accused his sheriff's department in Maricopa County, Arizona of systematically violating the constitutional and civil rights of Latinos. By the end of the day, NPR's Ted Robbins reports, the sheriff was hitting back.

Read more

Pages