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
9:27 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Trial Of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Begins

In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is depicted sitting in federal court Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, in Boston.
Credit Jane Flavell Collins / AP via NPR

Nearly two years ago on Marathon Monday, the second-tier of runners made their way to the finish line, and an 8-year-old boy, Martin Richard was cheering them along. His cheers ended abruptly as did those of two other victims, along with 260 injured bystanders and runners in that first chapter of the Marathon bombing. Chapter Two was the manhunt, shootout and capture. Chapter three begins Wednesday: The federal trial of the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Local News
1:12 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Jury Seated In Trial Of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, third from right, is depicted with his lawyers and U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr., right, as O'Toole addresses a pool of potential jurors in a jury assembly room.
Credit AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins

After two intense months of screening, a jury has been seated in the federal death penalty trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Openings statements will be heard Wednesday. 

Ten women and eight men were selected to decide the fate of Tsarnaev, who is charged with 30 counts, including murder.

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Local News
10:50 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Tsarnaev Trial: Last Minute Motions Suggest The Contours Of The Courtroom Drama

With the opening statements expected Wednesday in the trial of accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the federal judge in the case heard controversial motions from the defense and the government which reveal the strategic subplots that will factor in the courtroom proceedings to come.

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Local News
9:11 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Father To Sue FBI For $30M Over Death Of Ibragim Todashev

Ibragim Todashev
Credit Courtesy photo

The father of Ibragim Todashev has announced plans to file a $30 million lawsuit against the FBI in connection with the fatal shooting of his son.

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Local News
2:59 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

With A Venue Change Denied, The Death Penalty Looms Large In Tsarnaev Speculation

In this Jan. 5, 2015, file courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, left, is depicted beside U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr., right, as O'Toole addresses a pool of potential jurors in a jury assembly room at the federal courthouse, in Boston.
Credit AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins sketch

With the US Appeals court ruling 2 to 1 over the weekend against a request for a change of venue, the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to begin this Wednesday.

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5:58 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

The Tsarnaev Jury Pool: Questioning the Role of Race and the Absence of Diversity

Defense attorneys for alleged Boston Marathon Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, on Thursday filed new information under seal to bolster their request before the US Appeals Court to move the trial out of Boston.  The defense team also moved to dismiss the 30-count indictment against Tsarnaev and cited the absence of racial diversity of the jury pool and the way it was selected.

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Local News
8:43 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Charles Ogletree To Ask AG Eric Holder To Drop Death Penalty For Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Harvard professor Charles Ogletree, left, and Attorney General Eric Holder
Credit Holder: Twp / Wikimedia Commons

Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree is asking outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to spare the life of alleged Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Local News
5:21 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Tsarnaev, By The Numbers: 235 Prospective Jurors Interviewed

Two-hundred-and-thirty-five prospective jurors have been questioned in the Boston Marathon Bombing trial. That number brings the court closer to opening statements in the case against the defendant, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  

Ten additional jurors Friday were asked their personal feelings about the death penalty and their uses of social media, among other questions. 

A relative of one potential juror perished in the World Trade Center terrorist attack on 9-11, but she said that she was unsure about voting for the death penalty. 

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Local News
4:59 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Tsarnaev Trial: 13 More Jury Interviews, Bringing The Total To 206

So far, 206 potential jurors have been questioned in an effort to find 12 who can serve and sit in judgment of Boston Marathon bombing defendant, Dzhokar Tsarnaev. 

Thirteen individuals were questioned today in US District Court.
The cast of potential jurors today included a woman who went to college with an FBI agent listed on the Tsarnaev trial witness list and a woman who said of Tsarnaev  "I can't see myself sitting in a room with someone for four months and then sentencing him to death."

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Local News
10:55 am
Wed February 11, 2015

The MBTA's (Sort Of) Up And Running : Tell Us About Your Commute

MBTA passengers on the Green Line.
Credit Edgar B. Herwick III / WGBH News

The MBTA was up and running (but far from full capacity) Wednesday, a day after rail service was shut down for repairs following a snowstorm that dumped two feet of snow on the Boston area. WGBH senior reporter Phillip Martin looks at a day in the life of those who had no choice but to go to work on Tuesday.

What’s your commuter experience been like this week and how might it be improved?  We'd like to hear from you. Leave your comments below. 

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Local News
9:31 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Trash Collection Goes On

The scene in Boston's Chinatown on Feb. 9, 2015.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH

 As  inches of new snow settles on top of icy drifts some of the calls to Boston’s emergency hotline were predictable: streets that need plowing and sidewalks that need shoveling. But the majority of calls, said hotline manager Nile Murphy, are questions about...

"The parking ban. Which streets are major arteries and people not allowed to park on?  Trash collection this week."

 And trash in some neighborhoods is piling up with garbage trucks unable to access Boston’s notoriously narrow streets made narrower by piles of snow and stranded cars.

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Local News
1:52 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Acts Of Kindness Accumulate With Snow

People walk down the street in Cambridge during the blizzard.
Credit Meredith Nierman / WGBH News

During a snowstorm, you can always count on certain things happening: A mirror knocked off by a snow plow, wipers stuck to windshields, consumers losing power. What also always seems to happen during blizzards, snowstorms and public emergencies of every sort are acts of kindness — random and otherwise.

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Local News
1:29 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Riding With The Boston DPW Through The Blizzard Of 2015

A Boston Public Works Department truck plows snow during the blizzard.
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

The Blizzard of 2015 was the biggest January storm in Boston’s history and the sixth biggest on record — 24.6 inches of snow. Shoveling and hauling it away is the job of Boston’s Public Works Department, so I hopped a ride with a DPW worker for a passenger seat view of the cleanup.

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Local News
12:51 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Judge To Interview 20 Prospective Tsarnaev Jurors

Credit (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

After a two day delay caused by the blizzard, jury selection is scheduled to resume today in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Local News
3:40 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Boston DPW To Drivers, Pedestrians: Stay Off The Roads

East 2nd St. in South Boston on Tuesday.
Credit Colleen Flynn / WGBH

The snow is expected to continue falling until late this evening and snowplow operators are hard at work. But Boston Public Works Department officials say a handful of people are getting in the way — literally.

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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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