‘On Point’ host Tom Ashbrook is Annual Meeting closing speaker

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MMA Annual Meeting closing speaker Tom Ashbrook​Award-winning journalist Tom Ashbrook, host of “On Point” on National Public Radio, will be the closing session speaker at the MMA’s Annual Meeting in Boston on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 21.
​Broadcast live from Boston’s WBUR each weekday from 10 a.m. to noon, “On Point” is heard on 290 public radio stations across the country and averages more than 2 million podcast downloads a month. It is one of the nation’s most popular public radio shows.
Each episode features a focus on both the news of the day and arts and culture, with Ashbrook hosting experts and guests ranging from politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Jimmy Carter, to authors and journalists such as Noam Chomsky and John Updike, to musicians such as Joan Baez and Moby. Listeners are invited to call in with their thoughts and questions.
Ashbrook has been the host of “On Point” – his first job in radio after a distinguished career in journalism – since the show’s inception six days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when it was called “Special Coverage.” The program’s popularity led to it becoming a regular feature on WBUR, and NPR began distributing the show nationally in 2005.
Before he became a radio host, Ashbrook spent two decades as a foreign correspondent, newspaper editor and author.
Raised on an Illinois farm, the Yale University graduate paid off his student loans working in Alaska as a surveyor and “dynamiter” for an oil-prospecting company. Awarded a fellowship from the Yale-China Association, he moved to Hong Kong, learned Cantonese, and began his journalism career as a reporter for the South China Morning Post, covering the post-Mao opening of China and the Vietnamese refugee exodus. He also introduced movies on a local English-language television station, which led to a side job dubbing kung fu films into English.
In 1981, he and his wife moved to Boston and Ashbrook sneaked by a security guard at the Boston Globe to pitch some freelance assignments to editors. After two years covering City Hall, he became the paper’s Asian bureau chief. After filing a story about Indira Gandhi’s assassination and its aftermath, Ashbrook had to clean blood off his shoes, according to a profile in Boston magazine. He covered turmoil and cultural and economic trends at home and abroad in Somalia, Rwanda, Russia and the Balkans.
Ashbrook served as a deputy managing editor at the Globe until 1996, directing coverage of the first Gulf War and the end of the Cold War, before moving into internet entrepreneurship, which he covered in his book “The Leap: A Memoir of Love and Madness in the Internet Gold Rush.”
He has received the Livingston Prize for National Reporting and was a fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism.