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. 


Local News
12:19 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

DJ Henry's Parents To Attend State Of The Union

In this file photo from 2011, Angela and Dan Henry hold a photo of their son DJ.
Credit Jess Bidgood / WGBH

When President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, among those sitting in the audience will be the parents of Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., of Easton. 

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Charting Baker's Course
7:58 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Charting Baker's Course: Taming The Bay State's Opiate Epidemic

Credit Mass. Department of Public Health

To mark Charlie Baker's first full week on the job, WGBH News is examining a quartet of deeply problematic challenges facing the new Massachusetts governor. Our second installment, Baker's pledge to tame runaway addiction.

Near Central Square in Cambridge, a women pulled her overcoat tighter to her body, her eyes squinting under gray clouds. Susan is a recovering addict and said she welcomes Gov. Charlie Baker’s pledge to take on the scourge of opiate addiction.

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2:30 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Underwater on I-495: A Middle Class in Crisis

Doug and Karen Mow in Franklin
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Eighth report in an ongoing series Rediscovering the Middle Class.

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2:15 am
Fri January 9, 2015

The Changing Middle Class Along Route 128

Sixth report in an ongoing series Rediscovering the Middle Class.

Route 128 on this day is packed with drivers heading north and south.

"I mean 128, it’s like a parking lot," said Linda, who says her commute between Boston and Lexington is worth it. "It is. It is great to live here. That’s why I’m still here."

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6:19 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Race and Racism in 2014: Police, Protests and Immigration

Protest against grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri not to indict a white policeman for killing an unarmed black youth.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

By the time 2014 rolled around many Americans were still fuming over the killing of Treyvon Martin in Florida and the 2013 acquittal of the man who shot him.  As 2014 comes to a close that simmering anger had exploded into ongoing street protests, demands to reform the grand jury system, and a major racial and ideological divide in the country over the perception and reality of racism and police violence.  

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Local News
9:57 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Tsarnaev Trial: Sputtering To Begin In 2015

This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston.
Credit Margaret Small / AP

Updated 3:15 p.m. Dec. 18, 2014, from Adam Reilly, who was at the courthouse:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s final pretrial hearing at the Moakley Courthouse today was his first appearance in court since his arraignment in July 2013. It was brief, lasting just 25 minutes, and mostly uneventful — until a dramatic outburst by a Tsarnaev supporter as the hearing drew to a close.

Tsarnaev entered the courtroom just before 10 a.m., clad in a black sweater and grey pants. He looked frail, wore a bushy beard, and repeatedly touched his face.

Asked by Judge George O’Toole if he'd been kept abreast of his case since his 2013 arraignment, Tsarnaev replied, "Yes, sir." When the judge asked Tsarnaev if he’s satisfied with his legal representation, Tsarnaev answered: “Very much.”

Most of the hearing was devoted to administrative matters. Among other things, O’Toole expressed concern over possible leaks from members of law enforcement, but took no further action.

At the hearing’s close, as Tsarnaev was handcuffed, a woman shouted in Russian and then in English: “Stop killing innocent people! Don’t kill innocent boy, please!” She was ushered out by court personnel, and later identified herself as Elena Teyer, the mother-in-law of Ibrahim Todashev.

Todashev was a friend of Djokhar’s deceased brother Tamerlan, and was killed by an FBI agent last year in Florida in circumstances that remain murky. Speaking to the press outside the Moakley Courthouse, Teyer said she's sure her son was targeted by law enforcement — and that Djokhar Tsarnaev is being framed for a crime he didn't commit.

Jury selection in Tsarnaev's trial is slated to begin next month.

Original story by Phillip Martin:

Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is expected to appear in U.S. federal court in Boston Thursday for a pretrial status hearing just weeks ahead of the actual trial set to begin on January 5.

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Local News
11:24 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Remembering Busing In South Boston With Michael Patrick MacDonald

Author Michael Patrick MacDonald in South Boston.
Phillip Martin WGBH News

This is is Part Three of an ongoing year-long series on the impact of court ordered desegregation in Boston.  Part One can be accessed here.  And Part Two. This series is produced and reported in partnership with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

In "All Souls," his best-selling autobiography, Michael Patrick MacDonald depicted the South Boston neighborhood he loved with graphic intensity. Forty years after court-ordered buses integrated Boston schools, MacDonald acknowledges that racism was a huge factor in Southie's resistance. But racism was just one facet of the kaleidoscope. The media, politicians, and the public failed to grasp the complexities of neighborhood life. I spent a day with MacDonald decoding the Southie of the 1970s where class, gangsters, and violence combined to define the anti-busing movement.

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3:22 am
Tue December 9, 2014

"I Can't Breathe": Boston Protests Grand Jury Decisions in NY and Ferguson

A demonstrator in sight of the State house with sign echoing Eric Garner's last words.jpg
phillip martin wgbhnews

Last Thursday night several thousand people crowded onto the Boston Common.  There were visitors who came strictly for the tree lighting ceremony who bumped up against protestors carrying signs reading “black lives matter”. It was a surreal scene for some, with the sounds of Christmas music mixing with fury over questionable police actions resulting in dead black men.

Dominique Jones with five children watched as singers dressed as elves  danced on stage:

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2:45 am
Mon December 8, 2014

What Black Parents Are Teaching Their Kids About Police

Dominique Jones, her four young children and her 11 year brother, pivoted between watching the performers on the stage and the protestors.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Are the protests against the killing of unarmed black men leading to a movement?  It’s a question some are asking as the demonstrations against police homicides escalate around the country.  It’s not clear. But the incidents and the responses by both protestors and the supporters of police officers accused of wrong-doing are leading many people to discuss their personal relationships with law enforcement.  WGBH’s senior reporter Phillip Martin has been exploring the fall-out from two controversial grand jury decisions.

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7:17 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Ferguson Echoes in Boston and 47 Arrests Follow

A father and daughter at the "Black Lives Matter" rally in Roxbury to protest the Ferguson, Missouri, grand jury decision.
phillip martin wgbhnews

Forty-seven people faced arraignment this morning on charges that include disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace stemming from Tuesday night’s protests against the Ferguson grand jury outcome. While the protests were raging across from the Boston police station in Dudley Square, an ecumenical service was taking place three blocks away at the 12th Street Baptist Church in Roxbury attended by Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.   

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Local News
11:31 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Boston Voices: It Was The Ferguson Decision Vs. Monday Night Football

Above, Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) carries for a touchdown. Below, Fox News covers the Ferguson verdict.
Credit Top: AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman. Bottom: Screenshot.

Boston, like the rest of the nation, braced itself Monday night for the grand-jury decision in the police killing of an unarmed black youth in Ferguson, Mo.

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3:27 am
Sun November 23, 2014

What Obama's Immigration Order Means After 25 years in the USA: 'This is my country.'

The Administration last year deported nearly 450,000 undocumented immigrants. The President's executive order defers the deportation of as many as 5 million undocumented residents.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

President Obama’s new executive action program defers the deportations of undocumented immigrants for three years.  And many of the 150 thousand immigrants without legal status in Massachusetts are expected to apply.  Some were at an immigrant rights celebration yesterday at the State House and I spoke with them about how the President’s executive order might affect them.

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Local News
1:46 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Tom Menino's Final Ride

Mayor Tom Menino's funeral procession nears Dudley
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

One of the neighborhoods in which Thomas Menino’s funeral procession traveled in route to the church service in Hyde Park was Dudley Square.   And before you could glimpse the procession you could hear it, as nearly a dozen police motorcyclists escorting the casket neared the corner of Washington and Melnea Cass Blvd.

Ethnically diverse columns of residents stood in solemn attention like soldiers sending off their general.

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12:44 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

After Menino: Measuring the Psyche of the City

Home made sign for Mayor Menino in Dudley Square
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Boston woke up a week ago to a new era without Thomas Menino, who was put to rest on Monday, November 3rd.   The mood of the city was reflected in homemade placards that read “Our Mayor” and profound expressions of grief .  WGBH’s Phillip Martin took a measure of the city’s mood following the death at the age of 71 of Boston’s longest serving mayor.  

What is this city feeling right now, days after it buried its popular and longest serving mayor?  If Boston could speak it might voice the words of Marvin Oliveros of Roslindale:

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Local News
11:27 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Charlie Baker's Long Night

Charlie Baker finally addressing supporters at 1:20 AM
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

It was a long night, but it wasn’t supposed to be in the view of several Charlie Baker supporters who quoted recent polls, including a Boston Globe survey that had Baker up by nine.  When the doors opened to the public at 7:00 pm, the music blared, and Baker volunteers seemed sure of victory.

“My name is Rick Gorka. I’m a Republican consultant here in Massachusetts.  We’re expecting a strong showing from across the state and a Charlie Baker victory tonight.”

Earlier in the day Charlie Baker told reporters: 

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Local News
12:05 am
Mon November 3, 2014

A Catholic Church With A Renewed Mission For The Poor Celebrates Menino

An injured former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino spoke at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross during an interfaith service for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

The weather was awful Sunday, but the pews in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End were filled for a special mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O’Malley for the repose of the soul of Thomas M. Menino, the city’s longest serving mayor.

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Local News
3:52 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Grading Menino On Race

Former Boston Celtics basketball star Bill Russell, right, chats with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino during a ceremony honoring Russell after his statue was unveiled at City Hall Plaza in Boston, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.
Credit AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Before Tom Menino took over the reins of city hall, Boston’s national reputation for contentious race relations hung over the city persistently. That reputation lingered even after he left office in 2013. But the reality is race relations did change under Menino’s watch — and some say for the better.

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Local News
2:18 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Four Years After He Was Killed By Police, DJ Henry's Memory Is Helping Kids

Angella and Dan Henry. Angella Henry said she works day and night to keep the memory of her son alive through the DJ Henry Dream Fund
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH

It's been four years since a college student from Easton was shot to death by a New York police officer. Since then, Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer and Michael Brown was killed by a policeman. The controversial killings of these young black men have sparked community outrage and scrutiny of the behavior of law enforcement. For the family of Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., they still wait for the legal process to play out — but they're also finding ways to remember their son.

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Local News
11:23 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Report: New England Industries 'Ripe' For Human Trafficking

Labor trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

New England's agriculture, resort and hospitality industries are ripe for labor trafficking and the exploitation of immigrants, according to a study released Monday by Northeastern University and the Urban Institute.

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Local News
3:28 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Prostitution Arrests: Worcester And Lynn Spotlight The Gender Gap

Washington Street in Lynn.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Massachusetts has tried to put more muscle to fight human trafficking and prostitution. One initiative seeks to reduce demand by arresting men who are buying sex. But an investigation by The New England Center for Investigative Reporting shows the vast majority of those arrested in Massachusetts remain women.

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How We Live
1:43 am
Tue September 30, 2014

I'm Going to Miss Summer: An Audio Essay on my favorite season

Missing Summer already
Credit Phillip Martin

I miss it already. Do you?  Summer provides a kind of freedom that we can only dream about in Fall and Winter: sleeveless, coatless walks along the Charles, outdoor dining on the Boston harbor, picnics in Franklin Park, fishing on the Spigot River in Lawrence, pickup basketball games everywhere. California Dreaming.

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Local News
12:26 am
Tue September 30, 2014

What Happened To The Sixth Graders Who Wrote Essays About Busing?

Joseph Kirnon, left, and Cynthia Martin.
Credit Kirnon: James Edwards; Martin: Mallory Noe-Payne

This is is Part Two of an ongoing year-long series on the impact of court ordered desegregation in Boston.  Part One can be accessed here.  This series is produced and reported in partnership with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

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Local News
12:03 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Dorchester Students' Essays Echo Boston's Busing Crisis, 40 Years Later

The Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School sixth-grade class in 1974.
Credit Courtesy The Schuster Institute

This week, 40-years ago, marked the start of phase one of the Boston school desegregation plan. It required busing white children to mainly black schools and black kids to mainly white schools. Recently a pile of essays written by sixth graders at a Dorchester school — yellowed over time — were discovered by a Brandeis University research team combing through the papers of former mayor Kevin White, who was charged with carrying out court-ordered desegregation. WGBH News and the Schuster Institute tracked down some of the now 50-year-old authors of those essays. 

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Local News
5:00 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Is Boston A Feeder City For ISIS?

Tarek Mehanna, left, and Ahmad Abousamra,
Credit Mehanna: Sudbury police; Abousamra: FBI.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared that the coalition of Arab allies joining in the U.S. attack on ISIS “makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.” And it seems that the organization the U.S. is fighting to destroy may be looking for a few allies of its own. ABC News reports that Boston is among three cities where the FBI is looking for people sympathetic to ISIS.

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Local News
9:30 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Remains Of 3 Infants Found In Blackstone Home

A Blackstone, Mass. police vehicle drives in front of a house where a Massachusetts prosecutor said the bodies of three infants were found, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in Blackstone.
Credit (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

A 31-year-old woman is in custody and facing arraignment this morning in Uxbridge District Court after the remains of three infants were found in a home in Blackstone on Thursday. A hazardous-materials team has been in and out of the house the past 24 hours sifting though what police describe as "piles of filth."

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Politics & Government
5:51 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Grossman Loses Gov. Bid By Smaller Margin Than Expected

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley won the Democratic primary for governor, defeating Democratic party chair Steve Grossman by a smaller margin than expected.

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Local News
1:50 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

What Can Unions Learn From The Market Basket Revolt?

A car in Somerville has messages of support for Market Basket workers written on it.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Unions across the country watched the Market Basket workers revolt unfold, and some say it is like nothing anyone has seen before in modern U.S. labor history. Some suggest that the Market basket case study could affect how they organize.

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Local News
4:46 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Rationalizing the Deaths of Unarmed Black Men: From Ferguson to Boston

Photos of DJ Henry at his parents' Easton home. Henry was shot and killed by a police officer in 2010.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH

The recent killing of a black teenager by a white policeman in Ferguson, Mo., has evoked memories of an incident four years ago, closer to home — the shooting death of Danroy Henry Jr., known as DJ, who lived in Easton. Both of these cases have raised concerns about the role of racial bias in rationalizing police actions.

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3:20 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

In Hingham: Searching For The Middle Class

Main Street in Hingham.
Phillip Martin WGBH News

Fourth in an ongoing series on Massachusetts' changing middle class. Read Part OnePart Two, and Part Three.

The middle class used to be easy to define. An affordable home, good schools, a little money saved for a family vacation. But today, the middle class — almost half of all Americans — live with a certain anxiety because of an uncertain economy. One town, Hingham, is challenged as it reaches the height of the middle class.

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Politics & Government
10:12 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Walsh Stands By Comments On O'Brien Verdict: 'I Answered The Question'

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, left, and former probation commissioner John O'Brien.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told WGBH News that he has no regrets about comments he made criticizing a jury’s decision to convict former probation commissioner John J. O’Brien and two deputies last week of corruption.

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