Phillip Martin

Senior Investigative Reporter, WGBH-FM

Since joining WGBH in the spring of 2010, Phillip Martin has reported on human trafficking in southern New England, the Boston Marathon bombing, Whitey Bulger, carbon offset schemes, police shootings, training and race, the Occupy movement and the fishing industry in New England, among other topics. 

On WGBH-TV, he is a regular panelist for Basic Black and an occasional panelist for Beat the Press, and hosted the World Compass 2012 presidential primary coverage. He is a Senior Fellow with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a 2012 International Center for Journalists Ford Foundation Fellow.

In addition, Phillip is executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions, a nonprofit public radio journalism project dedicated to exploring issues that divide and unite society. His Color Initiative --an occasional series of reports about the global impact of skin color--aired on The World, a co-production of WGBH, the BBC and PRI.  Phillip has worked as a supervising senior editor for NPR and was NPR’s first national race relations correspondent, from 1998 to 2001. In 1995, in his role as a senior producer, he helped create The World.

He has received various journalism honors, including a 2014 national Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative journalism (Underground Trade),  2014 Clarion Awards, a 2012 PASS Award, a 2012 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Ongoing Coverage (team award), the Margaret and Hans Rey WGBH producer of the year award, a 2011 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, the 2010 Asian American Journalists Award for National Radio Reporting, the 2008 Ruben Salazar Award and the 2005 NABJ Radio Documentary Award. He is an adjunct professor at Brandeis University's Heller School of Public Policy.

Phillip was a Harvard University Nieman Fellow from 1997 to 1998 and a U.S.-Japan Media Fellow in 1997. He earned a master's degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and studied international protection of human rights law at Harvard Law School as well as journalism at the University of California at Berkeley in the Program for Minority Journalists. 

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News
4:39 pm
Mon August 31, 2015

Do Feel-Good Slogans like "Resilient New Orleans" and "Boston Strong" Mask Income Inequality?

Painting by Dwayne D. Conrad. "it’s good to wake up in the morning and say ‘hey man, how you doing’? You don’t get that everywhere. This is one of the few places where somebody will actually say ‘man, how you doing this morning.’
Phillip Martin WGBH News

Bostonians in the aftermath of the Marathon bombing like to remind themselves that Boston is Strong.  A similar sentiment is echoed hundreds of miles to the south in New Orleans on this 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Its slogan is Resilient New Orleans.  Yet, beneath the slogans, Boston and New Orleans still suffer pessimism reflecting deep racial and economic divides. 

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News
7:31 pm
Mon August 17, 2015

Julian Bond's Love-Hate Relationship with Boston: The Last Interview

One of the very last interviews with Julian Bond before his untimely death over the weekend was conducted by WGBH Radio News Senior Reporter, Phillip Martin.  Phillip interviewed the civil rights leader at Brandeis University where Bond was honored in the spring.  Bond offered opinions on  a range of issues including the issue that continues to plague Boston; the reputation it garnered during Boston's violent anti-busing years.

Julian Bond arrived at the Brandeis University television studio 20 minutes ahead of our scheduled interview this past April.  It was in keeping with his reputation that spanned decades as a man ahead of his time.  He joined the civil rights movement in the late 1950’s as a 17 year old, was the youngest founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SCLC) and had his name placed in nomination for vice president at the fractious 1968 Democratic National Convention.  He withdrew because he was too young to assume the office.    

But Julian Bond not only made civil rights history, he chronicled it, including the history of Boston desegregation, as we heard in the locally produced 14-part Award-winning PBS series “Eyes on The Prize” that was narrated by Bond.

Bond was not detached from the subjects of his narration, and in my Brandeis interview with the civil rights icon, Boston’s unrelenting reputation for bigotry lingered in his mind.   

“I hate to say it.  I’m a little wary of Boston today.”

And for Bond, the Red Sox–the last major league baseball team to admit black players— was still a source of trepidation.

“I’m married to a woman who is a tremendous sports fan and she wants to go to a baseball game.  And I said, ‘no, I don’t want to go.  I don’t want to go to a game there.’  And it turned out in this particular case I went with her.  And the people in front of us are telling us jokers—they turned out to be college students looking for recruits to their college—and they said they made sure they never told any black people about their college.  They didn’t want that to happen. And it just reinforced my feelings about Boston.”

He’s [Mayor Marty Walsh] got to find someway to engage white Bostonians and tell them they’ve got to behave better – Julian Bond on his lingering concerns about Boston in the post-busing era.

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Local News
8:37 am
Thu August 13, 2015

A Tit-For-Tat Social Media War for Gang Respect May Be Behind 3 Boston Killings

Police in Boston, Cambridge and Everett are searching for suspects in what is at least for now considered five unrelated shooting deaths in those cities this week.  Meanwhile, a police SWAT team last night raided a Dorchester home looking for a gunman in a non-fatal shooting yesterday in that neighborhood.
 

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Local News
12:35 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

In Search Of Cardinal Bernard Law

Cardinal Bernard Law in 2014.
Credit AP Photo

When Bernard Cardinal Law, Archbishop of Boston, fled to the Vatican in 2002, he left behind a trail of human and financial wreckage: 550 victims abused by parish priests and court judgments that eventually topped $85 million.

Meanwhile, Law was assigned a comfortable post in Rome, where he disappeared from the headlines.

Law led America’s fourth-largest archdiocese for 18 years. His reputation as a public figure peaked during Boston's court-ordered school desegregation crisis, when the cardinal emerged as a steadying voice of sanity.

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Local News
10:32 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Marty Walsh Is Back From Pope Francis' Climate Change Conference. Now What?

Pope Francis greets Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino as he meets mayors gathered in the Synod Hall during a conference on Modern Slavery and Climate Change at the Vatican, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. One row back is Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Credit AP Photo

At the office of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the staff is cleaning up, lingering mayors from overseas are packing up, and the organizer of the mayors conference targeting climate change, among other issues, was left to answer the question: now what?

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Local News
10:46 am
Thu July 23, 2015

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Addresses Vatican Conference

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh addresses the Vatican Conference.
Credit AP Photo

Day two of the Symposium convened by Pope Francis to call attention to climate change and ecocomic disparities began with a slide presentation by noted economist Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University. It showed Boston and dozens of other cities swathed in ominous shades of red to signify when they will end up underwater in the 21st century if global warming is allowed to accelerate.

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Local News
10:33 am
Wed July 22, 2015

Pope Francis Ties Human Trafficking To Global Warming, Recruits Mayors To Fight Both

Pope Francis speaks in the Synod Hall during a conference on Modern Slavery and Climate Change at the Vatican, Tuesday, July 21, 2015.
Credit AP Photo

From the very start of the day, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he knew it would be one of the more unusual 12 hours of his lifetime, and not just because he would be in the presence of the pope by the end of it.

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Local News
1:34 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Marty Walsh A Late Addition To Vatican Conference Speaker Roster

Pope Francis addresses mayors from around the world.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will address the Symposium on Modern Slavery and Climate Change at the Vatican on Wednesday, after his name was added to the agenda Tuesday.

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Local News
10:32 am
Tue July 21, 2015

In Rome For Vatican Conference, Marty Walsh Sees Power Shift From Legislatures To Mayors

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio listen to California Gov. Jerry Brown at the Vatican Conference in Rome.
Credit Vatican

Boston Mayor Walsh will meet with several well known municipal leaders who are addressing an unprecedented assembly of mayors from around the world at the Vatican, including eight from the U.S.

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Local News
5:53 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Arrives In Rome Ahead Of Vatican Conference

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh boards a plane for Rome.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh arrived Monday in Rome ahead of a Vatican conference Tuesday and Wednesday on climate change and human trafficking.

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News
4:45 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

Defining Domestic Terrorism Part Two: Legal Meaning of a Loaded Word

Alleged Killer Dylann Roof: " Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

The FBI is pursuing a terrorism investigation into the killings of four marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee by a man described as a devout Muslim.  But 30 days after a white supremacist allegedly murdered nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina, the Justice Department at this stage has declined to characterize that incident as an act of terrorism. And many are asking why? WGBH Radio’s Senior Investigative Reporter Phillip Martin looks at the legal meaning of a loaded term: terrorism.   

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News
2:33 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

When The Lights Went Out in New York: A Tale of Two Nights

Credit Blackout . American Experience .WGBH | PBS

Thirty-eight years ago this week, the lights went out in New York City. Chaos ensued. But the nature of the disruption was far from simple. Tonight, PBSs American Experience chronicles and deconstructs that intense 1977 experience.

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Local News
2:16 pm
Fri July 10, 2015

Defining Domestic Terrorism Part One: Hate Groups Move Online and On Campus

A white supremacist group called the National Youth Front posted this flyer at Boston University.
Credit National Youth Front

On a recent night near Kenmore Square, bright red posters, printed in Boston University colors, were tacked and taped on doorways, poles and windows all along Commonwealth Avenue. The posters condemned an incoming African-American professor, Grundy, who sent out a controversial tweet criticizing white males. The posters reference that tweet and complain that "Black privilege means not being fired after saying that white college males are a problem population."

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Local News
7:29 am
Wed June 24, 2015

Tsarnaev: Death Sentance To Be Formerly Imposed, Will The Boston Marathon Bomber Address The Court?

Lawyers for Tsarnaev are preparing an appeal that will focus on the jury selection process.
Credit FBI

Today Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to death in US District Court by the same judge who oversaw his trial.  

The question many are asking is:   Will the former defendant speak on his own behalf at today’s hearing.  

 

Nearly thirty survivors and members of their families have asked to address Dzhokhar Tsarnaev face to face at his sentencing.  US Judge George O’ Toole is expected to honor most or all of the requests.  

 

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News
1:50 am
Wed June 24, 2015

Mass. AG Says There May Be More Than Two Waltham Triple Murder Suspects

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Brendan Mess and Ibragim Todashev
Credit Associated Press

The Middlesex District Attorney’s office may be looking at additional suspects who carried out an infamous triple murder in Waltham in 2011 that authorities have suggested is linked to one of the Boston Marathon bombers.  This according to Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey.

In mid September of 2011, the girlfriend of a man living at 12 Harding Street in Waltham made a grisly discovery when she entered his apartment.  Brendan Mess and two other men were dead inside; their throats slashed and nearly decapitated. There was no sign of a break-in.

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Local News
5:45 pm
Mon June 22, 2015

As The Death Sentence Is Imposed, A Question Lingers: Did The Tsarnaevs Act Alone?

If the Tsarnaev brothers had help, are those people still on the loose?
Credit Creative Commons

This Wednesday, 21-year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to die for the deaths and injuries he inflicted at the Boston Marathon and on the MIT campus. Neither side in his trial disputed his role. But by the end of his trial, there remain unanswered questions surrounding the attack; including did the Tsarnaev brothers act alone? Our report begins near the finish line on April 15, two years ago.

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Local News
5:55 pm
Thu June 18, 2015

Notorious Drug Trafficking Gang, 'The Columbia Point Dawgs', Busted In Surprise Raid

1.5 million in cash and 31 guns seized during drug bust
WGBH/ Phillip Martin

Members of a notorious criminal gang were arrested today in a major federal, state and local drug trafficking bust in the Boston area.

The Columbia Point Dawgs is what they called themselves—a syndicate made up of four families working out of Dorchester’s neighborhood on the harbor. But law enforcement says their tentacles reached all the way into Texas, Florida and Georgia. In an early morning surprise raid the Dawgs were swept up by legions of law enforcement officials.

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Local News
2:35 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

The Widow Tsarnaev: What -- If Any -- Relationship Did She Have To The Boston Marathon Bombings?

Katherine Russell, widow of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Credit WGBH News

In less than two weeks, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to death. Victims will speak. Tsarnaev could too. But there’s one person close to Tsarnaev who we have yet to hear from, and may never will— the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Katherine Russell was raised in North Kingston, Rhode Island, lived in Cambridge, and is now hunkering down in New Jersey —trying to stay out of the public spotlight.

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News
11:01 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Massachusetts State Police Respond to Dubious Honor

The 2015 Golden Padlock Award presented to the Massachusetts State Police
Credit IRE

The Massachusetts State police, has responded to being “honored” with the Golden Padlock Award by the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization (IRE) “for a lack of transparency”, in its dealings with the media. 

The dubious award was presented by the IRE at its annual conference in Philadelphia  over the weekend. The  Massachusetts State police was cited specifically for  “habitually going to extraordinary lengths to thwart public records requests”. 

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Local News
1:02 pm
Wed June 3, 2015

Middlesex DA: MBTA Officer Richard Donohue 'Likely' Shot By Friendly Fire

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan points to a map during a news conference in Woburn, Mass., Tuesday, June 2, 2015, to the spot where a gun battle with the Boston Marathon bombers took place in Watertown, Mass., in April 2013. A report on the incident said it is "high likely" transit police officer Richard Donohue was critically injured by friendly fire during the gun battle.
Credit AP Photo

Fifty-six. That was the number of cartridge casings recovered from the scene of the 2013 Watertown shootout that authorities say came from the gun used by Tamerlan Tsarnaev to hold police at bay. There were 251 cartridges recovered from the scene altogether.

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Local News
8:34 am
Tue June 2, 2015

Tsarnaev Friend To Be Sentenced Today For Obstruction Of Justice

A University of Massachusetts Dartmouth classmate  of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will face sentencing today in federal court.

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Local News
8:27 am
Tue June 2, 2015

Essex DA Will Not Appeal Overturned Murder Conviction

The Essex County District Attorney's office has reportedly decided not to appeal a Judge’s decision overturning the conviction of a 48 year old man who served 21 years in prison for a murder he insisted he did not commit. The DA's office, however, has yet to determine whether it will seek a new trial.
 

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Local News
4:13 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Boston Police Looking For Suspect In Dorchester Shooting Of 7-Year-Old

Divan Silva was shot outside Rodriguez Barber Shop on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester.
Credit OpenStreetMap

Boston Police are looking for a suspect who shot and injured a seven-year-old boy in Dorchester over the weekend.

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News
11:24 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Amidst Sky-Rocketing Rents In Boston A Glimmer of Hope for the Middle Class

A drawing of Boston's newest luxury high rise building in the Seaport District, 100 Pier 4 with monthly rents ranging from $2,701 to $6,142
Credit 100 Pier 4

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s Administration has just released its quarterly housing report, and there may be some good news for the city’s middle class.   I was among a small gathering of reporters who met with the mayor this week when he reiterated his vision for the city’s housing market.    

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News
8:11 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Freed From Prison After 21 Years: Angel Echavarria's Story

Angel Echavarria with his 22 year old daughter, Ishannis Lopez, and other family members
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Prisons are filled with men who claim they are innocent.   Once in a while the stars seem to align and a lucky man is given the chance to prove it.

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Local News
11:58 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Tsarnaev Death Sentence To Be Formalized By End Of June

In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, center, stands with his defense attorneys as a death by lethal injection sentence is read at the Moakley Federal court house in the penalty phase of his trial in Boston, Friday, May 15, 2015
Credit Jane Flavell Collins via AP

UPDATED: 4:00 p.m.

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Local News
6:00 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Tsarnaev Decision: My Surprise

Police converge on a Watertown street during the Boston Marathon Bombing Manhunt in April.
Credit Courtesy Andrew Kitzenberg

Around 4 p.m., everyone in the court stood as the jury foreperson was asked by the judge to read the decision reached by all seven women and five men. They were then polled one-by-one, in their own struggling, sometimes tear-filled voices, and each juror agreed aloud with the death sentence they had just imposed on 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Local News
12:01 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Tsarnaev Sentencing Deliberation Stretches Into Second Full Day

Members of the defense team for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, from left, Judy Clarke, Timothy Watkins, Miriam Conrad and William Fick leave federal court in Boston, Thursday, May 14, 2015.
Credit AP Photo

Twelve women and men are deliberating multiple factors to decide if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will live or die, as the jury is still out in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.

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Local News
12:26 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Jury Begins Deliberating In Sentencing Of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Credit Jane Flavell Collins / AP

Update, 4 p.m.: Closing arguments in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have finished — with the defense and prosecution painting radically different pictures of what life in prison might hold for the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.

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News
4:48 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

After Winning A 4th Trial In Cop Killing Case, Sean Ellis Granted Bail

Sean Ellis, the man convicted of murdering a Boston police detective in 1993, today was granted bail.  He was convicted of shooting Detective John Mulligan five times in the face as he sat in his car while on a security detail.    The first two trials ended in hung-juries.  Ellis--now 40 years old- was convicted after a third trial in 1995,  but has always maintained his innocence. 

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