Matthew F. Smith

Morning News Editor

Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, as well as a radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he spent several months producing television news before joining WGCU as a producer for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined VPR in October 2017 as Producer of Vermont Edition.

Matthew studied English and journalism at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., where he wrote for the school newspaper and other school publications. He taught English as a Second Language for several years in China and the U.S. before pursuing a career in journalism.

A small nugget of dried marijuana held in a begloved hand.
Crystalweed Cannabis / unsplash

Vermont is among more than 15 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized recreational cannabis. But broader social acceptance of the drug doesn't address the  health and public safety concerns that come with more people using it. A new app developed by a St. Michael's College psychology professor could help.

Chittenden County States Attorney Sarah George sits in a courtroom in 2019.
Glenn Russell / Associated Press file

How does Vermont deal with people accused of violent crimes, but who are also severely mentally ill? It’s a question swirling at the center of three high-profile cases in the state, over which Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George is clashing with the attorney general.

A hand presents a simple white envelope in front of a sky blue wall in the background.
Erica Steeves / Unsplash

If you live in Vermont and happen to receive a mysterious letter or postcard with no return address, don't just throw it away. It could be a bit of verse sent to you randomly from Vermont's own poet laureate, Mary Ruefle.

A female Vermont State Police trooper salutes with her back to the camera.
Vermont State Police, Courtesy

Vermont's state law enforcement agency is promising to hire and retain more women.

Paper house model cover by a mask isolated on blue background stock photo.
fongfong2 / iStock

If you've been trying to buy a home in Vermont recently, you may have already learned this the hard way: it’s not an easy process during the pandemic.

Several people wearing masks curing the coronavirus pandemic stand behind a table laden with toys as part of a Moose Lodge toy drive.
Burlington Moose Lodge #1618, courtesy

Vermont continues to reopen sectors of the economy that have been shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. Bars and social clubs re-opened Wed., March 24, after having to close by state order for the second time in November. On Friday, many of Vermont's Moose Lodges will reopen their doors.

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan stands at a lectern during an outdoors news conference in St. Albans in January 2020.
Wilson Ring / Associated Press File

Three separate cases involving murder or attempted murder charges were dismissed by Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George in 2019 because all three defendants had “substantial evidence,” including evaluations by mental health professionals, that they were legally insane at the time the crimes were committed.

A photo of author Kekla Magoons and a two by two grid of her books for young adults, including X A Novel, co-written with Ilyasah Shabazz, The Rock And The River, How It Went Down, and Fire In The Streets.
Photo: Kekla Magoon, Courtesy / Covers: Candlewick Press, Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group, Simon and Schuster Childrens Publishing

The Margaret A. Edwards Award was created in 1988 to honor a body of work by an author deemed to have made a significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. This year's winner is Montpelier writer Kekla Magoon, honored for four books that delve into civil rights history, and explore themes about confronting racism, white supremacy and injustice.

Jessie Diggins holds a pair of International Ski Federation World Cup crystal globes, one for overall cross-country winner and one for the distance title.
Team USA, courtesy

Jessie Diggins was crowned the International Ski Federation's World Cup winner over the weekend. The 29-year-old cross-country skier is a Minnesota native who trains at her adopted home in Stratton, Vt. But simply noting that Diggins won the World Cup just scratches the surface of her accomplishments in a record-setting season.

Two simplistic humanoid figures attempt to ascend a latter. The latter one on the left has many rungs for easy ascension, while the one on the right has few rungs, and thus an inequitable climb.
Nazan Akpolat / iStock

While addressing COVID-19 is a big task, Vermont lawmakers are also continuing with other legislative work amid the pandemic, including what could be the biggest overhaul to how the state funds education in a quarter century.

A photo of Vergennes mayor Mathew Chabot in front of a wooded background
Mathew Chabot, courtesy

If you don't live in Vergennes, you could be forgiven for not following the local mayor's race or who's running for city council. But a lot has happened in the small city over a tumultuous last few months. Newly-elected mayor Mathew Chabot says he wants to get Vergennes back on track.

The cover of the book Fans: How Watching Sports Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Understanding, and a photo of author Larry Olmsted
Algonquin Books, courtesy

Getting back into a packed sports stadium to watch their favorite team compete is likely near the top of the list of what sports fans are looking forward to once the coronavirus pandemic ends. Vermont author Larry Olmsted argues in his new book that sports fandom thrills and entertains as much as it fosters our mental health and sense of belonging.

A photo of an F-35 jet on the runway at the South Burlington Air National Guard Base in January 2021.
Tech. Sgt. Ryan Campbell / U.S. Air National Guard

After decades in development and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, the F-35 fighter jet has proven difficult to maintain, and its systems are plagued by inconsistencies, software deficiencies and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Now some in the Air Force say it's time for the military to cut its losses and move on, possibly to a new aircraft. What does that mean for the Vermont Air Guard’s fleet of the jets?

An image from the documentary Coded Bias shows a computer program mapping a white mask being held in front of a Black woman's face.
Coded Bias, courtesy

Racial bias — implicit, subconscious or out in the open — is a serious human problem. So serious that it's been detected in an unexpected place: the world of artificial intelligence, computers and facial recognition technology. A documentary that's screening free for Vermonters through March 8 delves into the problem.

A photograph of Vermont Cynic journalist Ella Ruehsen in quarantine on the University of Vermont campus. Also an image of Ruehsen's story on the Vermont Cynic website.
Kate Vanni and the Vermont Cynic, courtesy

A reporter at the University of Vermont student newspaper The Vermont Cynic was covering the coronavirus on campus for more than a year when she got what any reporter craves: access to the inside story. But for this UVM student journalist, the inside story came courtesy of her own COVID-19 diagnosis.

A clip from KeruBo's music video for the song Chanjo, with Irene Kerubo Webster singing before a crowd dancing on the front steps to a building.
KeruBo, courtesy

Music is a universal language. And If you may not be able to understand the language that local health officials are using to warn you about a deadly pandemic, music can provide another way to communicate. That's how the group KeruBo is discussing the COVID-19 vaccine among Vermont's African community, with the new song Chanjo.

The UVM gymnasium became a medical clinic when the 1918 influenza pandemic, commonly called the "Spanish flu," hit Vermont in the fall of that year.
UVM Silver Special Collections, courtesy

Over a century ago, Vermonters — and the rest of the world — faced another historic pandemic, the 1918 influenza pandemic commonly known as the "Spanish flu." We recently spoke with historians about how Vermont weathered the deadly outbreak of the flu that year, and learned how historical organizations are preserving the digital and physical artifacts of our present-day pandemic. Read highlights from our interview below.

An image of the cartoon Clearing A Path For Everyone by Michael Giangreco
Michael Giangreco and Kevin Ruelle / University of Vermont Center for Digital Initiatives Collection

Comic strips might evoke images of slapstick humor, superheroes, or political satire. When it comes to the topics comics tackle, special education doesn’t immediately leap to mind.

People carrying a banner reading honor Black lives
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

What does Black History Month mean in the era of Black Lives Matter and a national reckoning with white supremacy? 

An image of the novel The Hare next to a photograph of author Melanie Finn.
Image: Two Dollar Radio / Author photo: Libby March

Rose Monroe falls in love with a cosmopolitan con man who uproots her and her infant daughter to an isolated cabin in northern Vermont. In her new novel, The Hare, Northeast Kingdom author Melanie Finn chronicles Rose's survival in a society defined by inequalities of gender, wealth and privilege.