Laura Smitherman

Laura Smitherman is Deputy National Editor for NPR News. She oversees breaking news and enterprise reporting from the eastern half of the United States, and she is the lead editor on immigration coverage.

Prior to joining NPR in January 2017, Smitherman worked at The Baltimore Sun, as the assistant managing editor for enterprise and investigations. In that role, she oversaw a news operation and investigative team that was honored by the National Press Club, the American Society of News Editors, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and other organizations.

Under Smitherman's leadership, The Sun was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Freddie Gray's death from injuries suffered in police custody and the riots that followed. In addition, The Sun collaborated with CNN on an hour-long special report on Gray's death. Other award-winning projects chronicled police brutality and excessive use of Tasers, Baltimore students who were refugees and immigrants fleeing violence around the globe, and the impact of gun violence on the city's youngest residents.

Before becoming an editor, Smitherman was a reporter for 15 years. At The Sun, she covered Maryland politics and business. She previously covered Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission for Bloomberg News in Washington, where she was among the finalists for a Gerald Loeb Award for "September 11: The Day Terrorism Changed Wall Street." Smitherman began her journalism career as a legal affairs reporter at the El Paso Times in Texas.

Several dozen Central American migrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border again, this time escorted by federal agents to an El Paso, Texas, courtroom as part of an unprecedented effort by the Trump administration to control migration.

During a hearing last week, the judge asked the migrants one by one if they had a lawyer. Nearly all of them said, "No."