Matthew F. Smith

Producer, Vermont Edition

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.

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.

Vermont's new chief information security officer, Nicholas Andersen, says the state faces evolving threats to cybersecurity and citizen data held by the state.
bgblue / iStock

The state of Vermont will spend millions of dollars on cybersecurity through 2019 to keep the data you share with the state—like at the DMV or when you do your taxes—protected from threats in cyberspace.

We're talking with Vermont's new chief information security officer, Nicholas Andersen, about what those threats are and how they're evolving. Andersen works in the state's Agency of Digital Services.

Rep. Peter Welch will be dealing a number of controversial issues this week.
Alex Brandon / Associated Press File

Congressman Peter Welch was sworn in for his seventh term in Congress on Thursday. Welch returns to Washington amid a government in shutdown, a House of Representatives now controlled by his party, the Democrats, and a vote for a new Speaker of the House.

Protesters carry signs at a Chicago rally against sexual assault and rape culture in 2015.
Bob Simpson / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Education is proposing new rules for how sexual assault and harassment is handled on college campuses. The changes could limit the types of complaints schools can investigate and potentially allow live hearings where victims could be cross-examined.

The department says it's to protect both accusers and the accused, but victim advocates fear the changes could discourage victims from reporting abuse.

Dr. David Toll in his office at 85 Main St. in St. Johnsbury, where he practiced medicine for decades until age 90.
Matthew Payeur / Empire Imaging, courtesy

Dr. David Toll was a physician who practiced medicine in St. Johnsbury for decades and connected with patients from across the Northeast Kingdom and northern New Hampshire. He saw patients from childhood into middle age and worked until he himself was 90. And over this weekend, he died. He was 93 years old.

An astronaut on the International Space Station performs a spacewalk while tethered to the ISS on Dec. 13, 2018. A radiant blue earth is seen in the background.
Alexander Gerst / European Space Agency / NASA

The past year has held exciting news about space: from a new Mars lander, to important strides in spaceflight, to discoveries of distant exoplanets to observations of 'Oumuamua, the first object from another star ever seen in our own solar system. We're talking about the year in space and what to expect in 2019.

Researchers at UVM and 20 other sites across the country are studying more than 11,800 children to learn how brain development relates to behavior, achievement, mental health outcomes and more.

Nearly 12,000 children aged nine and ten are now taking part in a decade-long, nationwide study looking at how young brains develop. And 577 of them are right here in Vermont.

We're talking with investigators leading the research at UVM about this landmark study and what they're learning about this pivotal decade in the development of young brains. 

Bill Gardner survived the toughest challenge of his more than four decades as New Hampshire's Secretary of State.
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Bill Gardner has served as New Hampshire’s Secretary of State for more than 40 years, and last week, New Hampshire legislators—not voters—elected him to his 22nd term in office.

But his re-election was no sure thing, and victory came only after a contentious and unprecedented day in the legislature. Tied up in Gardener’s reappointment are questions about election reforms, the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary and even President Donald Trump.

Don't be like this piggy bank and fear the coming year. We're getting a financial check-up with a financial counselor to navigate recent stock market turbulence.
Bob Bosewell / iStock

It's been a tumultuous few weeks in the stock market. We're checking in with a financial counselor to talk about investments, savings and strategies to start 2019 on firm financial footing.

The Rutland City Police Department in September 2015.
Nina Keck / VPR

Victims of human trafficking need help not from police but from social workers—which is why the Rutland City Police Department is hiring a case manager to connect victims to the services they need. 

Whether you're taking photographs with a cell phone, on film, or with advanced digital cameras, we're talking about ways to compose, tweak and improve your pictures.
Yuri Arcurs / iStock

As you look back at the photographs that tell your story of 2018, do they have that special something that elevates them beyond a simple snapshot and into a photograph worth framing? 

We're talking about how to take better photos, no matter what camera you use, and how to best capture the winter landscapes and family gatherings that tempt everyone's inner shutterbug this time of year.

Ronda Randall and her brother Scott Maxwell are amateur investigators featured in the "Bear Brook" podcast who have dedicated themselves to trying to identify the four victims found in two barrels in the woods of New Hampshire.
Courtesy New Hampshire Public Radio

Four victims. Their bodies found in two barrels. No trace of their identities. No suspects in their murders.

That's how the investigation at the heart of New Hampshire Public Radio's recent true crime podcast Bear Brook begins. But over the course of six episodes, and several forthcoming updates, cutting-edge forensic testing and genetic genealogy provides answers to some of those questions—while raising new ones. 

Vermont Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets parked on a runway in January 2018.
Lawrence Crespo / U.S. Air Force

Allegations of misconduct, abuse of power and a culture of impunity at the Vermont National Guard. Interviews with more than two dozen guardsmen alleging harassment of women and a toxic "good-old-boys" network. And alleged outrageous behavior among pilots and others high within the Guard ranging from the misuse of fighter jets to conduct that may have imperiled a mission in Africa.

These are among the findings from of a six-month investigation by VTDigger into the Vermont National Guard. 

Photos, programs, magazine covers and more bring to life the story of The Patriots in the new book "The Pats: An Illustrated History of the New England Patriots" by Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson.
Images courtesy of Phil Bissell, the collection of Richard A. Johnson, and The Sports Museum

You may think you know The New England Patriots. Brady, Belichick and five Super Bowl championships; what's more to know? But author Glenn Stout's new book, The Pats: An Illustrated History of the New England Patriots, serves up details, anecdotes and stories from the team's nearly 60-year history that will surprise even die-hard Pats fans. 

Baker and author Martin Philip, head baker at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, has written a book that's part memoir and part cook book. It shares what he calls 75 recipes of "a baker's journey home."
Julia Reed / Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins

This program originally aired on November 6, 2017.

Before he became head baker at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Martin Philip trained as an opera singer and worked for an investment bank in New York City. Now the baker and author is sharing his expertise and answering questions for aspiring bakers

Bishop Coyne at a June 2018 ordination ceremony at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
Jillian Alderman / Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, courtesy

Bishop Christopher Coyne is leading a synod within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. For more than a year, he's met with clergy, church officials and lay men and women to discuss low church membership and attracting young people and families to the church. 

But the past year has seen other issues arise that continue to shake the Catholic Church and Vermont's Burlington diocese specifically.

Some Vermonters are vocal in their opposition to certain big box retailers, while others celebrate when when certain shops come to town. We're looking at attitudes toward big box retail in Vermont.
nycshooter / iStock

Vermonters have a complicated relationship with big-box retail stores. Some inspire vocal opposition, while others are accepted, or even celebrated. We're talking about why Vermonters are big-box averse, except when they're not.

Tonewood Maple's mysterious maple cube. Can you grasp its mysteries?
Matthew Smith / VPR

Maple sugar products are pretty standard: there’s the ubiquitous syrup, as well as maple sugar and candy. But one producer has expanded their offerings that run from standard syrups to creams, granules, seasonings and even a mysterious maple cube.

National Book Award nominees from Vermont are Rebecca Makkai's novel "The Great Believers," left; M.T. Anderson's "The Assassination Of Brangwain Spurge," middle; and Colin Calloway's nonfiction book "The Indian World of George Washington."
Viking / Candlewick Press / Oxford University Press

The National Book Award is one the most prestigious literary prizes in the country, given every year since 1950 to celebrate the best writing in America. This year, three finalists for the award have links to Vermont.

In a state that's nearly 95 percent white, how do Vermont's colleges and universities attract a diverse student body?
smartboy10 / iStock

How do you create a diverse student body in a state like Vermont? For some schools, it's by recruiting students from out-of-state. We're looking at ways Vermont colleges and universities recruit for diversity and how they support students who make the move to Vermont.

Vermonters who don't speak English face barriers for things like getting healthcare and finding work, to challenges when it comes to safety, diet and education.
MrPliskin / iStock

Many of us take it for granted that when we visit the doctor's office, shop for groceries or otherwise go about life in Vermont we do so in English. But more than five percent of Vermonters don't speak English at home. We're talking about how Vermonters without English navigate schools, health care, work and other basic needs.