OLD Media Moves

Smith named Knight-Bagehot director

May 18, 2021

Posted by Chris Roush

Robert Smith

Robert Smith, the award-winning host of NPR’s Planet Money, will become the director of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism starting July 1.

He will also join Columbia Journalism School’s faculty.

As host and correspondent for “Plant Money,” Smith’s engaging and accessible storytelling on how the global economy touches people’s everyday lives helped to make it one of the most popular podcasts at NPR. He won a Peabody Award in 2016 for an investigation into how Wells Fargo was punishing whistleblowers.

Smith, who has described the method at Planet Money of distilling economic trends into compelling human stories as “finding the little story inside the big idea,” has designed training seminars for reporters around the country and has taught journalism at Columbia and Princeton University. Along the way, he has continued to immerse himself in the subject of business and economics as a mid-career student. Smith holds an MBA from Columbia University (2020) and he was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in 2018-2019.

“The Knight-Bagehot fellowship was transformative to me as a reporter,” Smith said in a statement. “Finally, I could understand the business models and complicated math behind the stories that I covered on Planet Money. It gave me the confidence to tell bigger, smarter stories about the world of business and ask just the right questions. I am thrilled to help the program grow and thrive as its Director. And to pass on to a new generation of reporters the tools to master the wild world of business journalism.”

Prior to “Planet Money,” Smith was a national and New York City correspondent for NPR, covering a variety of breaking news stories, from Hurricane Katrina to the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing of US Airways Flight 1549.

Smith’s career in radio started at KPCW in his hometown of Park City, Utah. He continued his passion for radio at the campus radio station at Reed College in Portland, Ore., before moving on to work at public radio stations in Portland, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.