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.

Nov 27, 2015
Josh Baldonado, an administrative assistant at Brown & Brown Insurance, works at a treadmill desk in the firms offices in Carmel, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP)

The end of sitting at work. A new call to get up off our chairs. To stand and move! We’ll look at how that works.

Nov 27, 2015
The punk rock band Sleater-Kinney (from L: Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) (Courtesy the Band)

Feminist punk-rockers, the band Sleater-Kinney, is with us. Reunited. Hotter than ever.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

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This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

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