Robert Smith is a correspondent for NPR's Planet Money where he reports on how the global economy is affecting our lives.
If that sounds a little dry, then you've never heard Planet Money. The team specializes in making economic reporting funny, engaging and understandable. Planet Money has been known to set economic indicators to music, use superheroes to explain central banks, and even buy a toxic asset just to figure it out.
Smith admits that he has no special background in finance or math, just a curiosity about how money works. That kind of curiosity has driven Smith for his 20 years in radio.
Before joining Planet Money, Smith was the New York correspondent for NPR. He was responsible for covering all the mayhem and beauty that makes it the greatest city on Earth. Smith reported on the rebuilding of Ground Zero, the stunning landing of US Air flight 1549 in the Hudson River and the dysfunctional world of New York politics. He specialized in features about the overlooked joys of urban living: puddles, billboards, ice cream trucks, street musicians, drunks and obsessives.
When New York was strangely quiet, Smith pitched in covering the big national stories. He traveled with presidential campaigns, tracked the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and reported from the BP oil spill.
Before his New York City gig, Smith worked for public radio stations in Seattle (KUOW), Salt Lake City (KUER) and Portland (KBOO). He's been an editor, a host, a news director and just about any other job you can think of in broadcasting. Smith also lectures on the dark arts of radio at universities and conferences. He trains fellow reporters how to sneak humor and action into even the dullest stories on tight deadlines.
Smith started in broadcasting playing music at KPCW in his hometown of Park City, Utah. Although the low-power radio station at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, likes to claim him as its own.
Amy Dickinson is a syndicated advice columnist, penning the "Ask Amy" column, which appears in over 100 newspapers. She is a panelist on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Her commentaries and radio stories also have been featured on All Things Considered.
She grew up on a small dairy farm in the Finger Lakes district of New York. Her father wanted his three daughters to be farmers but gave up on them when they refused to compete in the local Dairy Princess pageant. Her large family has lived in and around her hometown (pop. 450) continuously since the Revolutionary War. She has described them as "hilarious, short-waisted Methodists."
"My extended family is a collection of married and divorced parents, single mothers, step-relatives, adoptees, devoted siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, and grandparents. I grew up hearing stories about my ancestors' exploits. My great grandfather was warden of Sing Sing Prison and my great uncle ran off to Europe and joined the circus when he was 40. Life in my hometown was like growing up in Lake Wobegon, only with worse weather and high unemployment," she says.
Dickinson attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a receptionist for The New Yorker, a producer for NBC News, a lounge singer, and a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, Allure, O magazine and other publications. From 1999-2002, she wrote a column for Time Magazine focusing on family life and parenting.
In the early days of the Internet, she wrote a weekly column for America Online's News Channel, which often drew on her experiences as a single parent and member of a large, extended family. She has been a Sunday school teacher for 10 years and is a substitute teacher at a local nursery school.