Tom Ashbrook

On Point’s host, Tom Ashbrook, is an award-winning journalist brought to public radio following the attacks of September 11, 2001, when he was enlisted by NPR and WBUR-Boston for special coverage, after a distinguished career in newspaper reporting and editing.

(Photo: J. Costa)

(Photo: J. Costa)

Tom’s career in journalism spans twenty years as a foreign correspondent, newspaper editor, and author. He spent ten years in Asia — based in India, Hong Kong, and Japan — starting at the South China Morning Post, then as a correspondent for the Boston Globe. He began his reporting career covering the refugee exodus from Vietnam and the post-Mao opening of China, and has covered turmoil and shifting cultural and economic trends in the United States and around the world, from Somalia and Rwanda to Russia and the Balkans. At the Globe, where he served as deputy managing editor until 1996, he directed coverage of the first Gulf War and the end of the Cold War.

Tom received the Livingston Prize for National Reporting, and was a 1996 fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation before taking a four-year plunge into Internet entrepreneurship, chronicled in his book The Leap: A Memoir of Love and Madness in the Internet Gold Rush.

Raised on an Illinois farm, Tom studied American history at Yale and Gandhi’s independence movement at Andhra University, India. Before taking up journalism he worked as a surveyor and dynamiter in Alaska’s oil fields, a teaching fellow with the Yale-China Association, a Hong Kong television personality, and a producer of international editions of Chinese kung fu films.

Liz Linder Photography)" href="//">Tom Ashbrook at the WBUR Gala Oct. 15, 2012. (Mary Flatley for Liz Linder Photography)Mary Flatley for Liz Linder Photography

Tom Ashbrook at the WBUR Gala Oct. 15, 2012. (Mary Flatley for Liz Linder Photography)

Here’s what Tom has to say about On Point:

In ballet, “on point” means up on your toes.

In war, it’s the lead soldier on patrol.

In conversation, it’s the heart of the matter.

That’s where we strive to be every day with our listeners — up on our toes, out front, at the heart of what’s going on.

Here at On Point, we’re looking to create a different kind of conversation about the country and the world we live in — about who we are, and where we’re going. Maybe it’s the kind of national conversation you’ve always wanted. Fast, fun, serious, surprising. Open to everyone. And above all, unflinchingly honest. With voices from all over the planet. Fresh voices. Passionate voices.

On Point was born in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, when the country was looking for answers and impatient with old certitudes. We still carry that urgency today: to test, challenge, and probe. And while we do it, to celebrate the people, arts and ideas that make life a joy.

We hope you’ll add your voice to the On Point conversation — on the air, and here online. We look forward to hearing from you.

Oct 8, 2015
In this Aug. 2, 2012 file photo, local newspapers show stories about the controversial strategy to bail the government out of a financial hole, at a restaurant along Seven Mile Beach on the outskirts of George Town on the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands have lost some of their allure by abruptly proposing what amounts to an income tax on expatriate workers who have helped build the territory into one of the most famous or, for some people, notorious offshore banking centers that have tax advantages for foreign investment operations. (AP)

Trillions of dollars are now stashed in protected tax havens around the world, leaving societies’ bills to those at home. We’ll dig in.

Oct 8, 2015
US singer Patti Smith performs during the Way Out West music festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, Saturday, Aug.15, 2015.  (AP)

Iconic rocker, poet of punk, and National Book Award-winning author Patti Smith joins us to talk about her new memoir, “M Train”.

Oct 7, 2015
Students in the new documentary film "Beyond Measure" take part in a project-based learning activity with their peers. (Courtesy the Filmmakers)

Arne Duncan’s headed out as U.S. Education Secretary. What’s next for America’s school kids?

Oct 7, 2015
The Doctors Without Borders trauma center is seen in flames, after explosions near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. Doctors Without Borders announced that the death toll from the bombing of the group's Kunduz hospital compound has risen to at least 16, including 3 children and that tens are missing after the explosions that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike.  (AP)

The U.S. airstrike on the hospital in Kunduz. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan faces tough questions from Congress. We’re looking for what really happened.

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