WBUR Staff

Sacha Pfeiffer

Host, All Things Considered, WBUR

Sacha Pfeiffer is a senior reporter and host of WBUR’s All Things Considered, as well as a fill-in host on the nationally syndicated Here & Now. She was previously host of Radio Boston, the station’s weekday show highlighting interesting people, places and issues in Boston and beyond.

Pfeiffer joined WBUR in 2008 after more than a decade as a reporter for the Boston Globe, where she was on the Spotlight investigative team that won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its stories on sex abuse in the Catholic church. At WBUR, she initially covered health, science, medicine and the environment, and she has received numerous honors from the Associated Press and the Radio and Television News Directors Association, as well as a national Edward R. Murrow Award for broadcast reporting.

Pfeiffer got her start in journalism at the Dedham Times, a weekly newspaper south of Boston. She then moved to the Globe and, during her years on the Spotlight Team, produced series on financial abuses by private foundations, George W. Bush’s military service, shoddy home construction, and the Catholic church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse. The latter series also won a George Polk Award for National Reporting, Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, and Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, among other honors. At the Globe, she also covered legal affairs, the state court system and the nonprofit sector.

From 2004-2005, Pfeiffer was a John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, where she studied at Stanford Law School. She is a co-author of Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church and has been an adjunct faculty member at Boston University’s College of Communication. She has an undergraduate degree in English and history, magna cum laude, and a master’s degree in education, both from Boston University. She is also an English-as-a-second-language teacher.

Recent stories

Altering Genes In Wild Populations: Boon For Human Health? Or Darwinian Nightmare?

July 23, 2014
Researchers have proposed a way to alter the genes in wild populations. The applications include potential malaria eradication. (Centers for Disease Control)

Researchers want to alter the DNA of entire wild populations — but they’re opening the discussion to the public before they move forward.

Beth Israel Opens Mental Health Notes To Some Patients

July 21, 2014
Austrian psychoanalyst Prof. Sigmund Freud and his dog "Jofi" in his office in Vienna, Austria, in 1937. (AP)

A new pilot program lets some psychiatric patients read their therapists’ notes online. Advocates say it could help with treatment. Others worry it may be harmful.

Weston Mother Deals With Daughter’s Death In Unconventional Way

July 21, 2014
The Forbes family in San Francisco in 2004, before Charlotte's death. (Photo courtesy Kersti Malvre)

Weston-based author Sukey Forbes tells the story of the sudden loss of her 6-year-old daughter Charlotte and her unusual method of coping with grief.

Tazhaykov Guilty In Bombing Obstruction Case

July 21, 2014
Azamat Tazhayakov is shown in a file courtroom sketch. (AP)

A federal jury found Azamat Tazhaykov guilty of impeding the FBI’s Boston Marathon bombing investigation.

Week In Review: Patrick’s Child Aid Plan, BRA Audit, Haystack

July 18, 2014
Zelda holds up a sign as she joins demonstrators outside the Mexican Consulate Friday, July 18, 2014, in Houston. Prospects for action on the U.S.-Mexico border crisis faded Thursday as lawmakers traded accusations rather than solutions, raising chances that Congress will go into its summer recess without doing anything about the tens of thousands of migrant children streaming into South Texas. (AP)

Governor Patrick makes an impassioned plea today for the state to help the flood of children crossing over the U.S.-Mexico border. Plus, we’ll take a look at the BRA’s books and a new parking app.

New Head Of Mass. Teachers Association Talks Testing, Teaching, Income Inequality

July 18, 2014
Tracy Taylor, assistant head teacher with Kingsford Community School of London watches a sixth grade math lesson beside student Dema'd McCray, 12, at the Brooke Roslindale Charter School in Boston. (Josh Reynolds/AP)

Barbara Madeloni tapped into many teachers’ feelings of frustration about testing when she ran for — and won — the presidency of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Boston Research Finds Kids’ Brains Benefit From Playing Music

July 17, 2014
Kathleen Jara, co-director of the El Sistema program at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston, directs orchestra students during a rehearsal. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

New research shows that learning to play a musical instrument, especially at a young age, can benefit the brain.

Gov. Patrick Calls For Mass. To Host Immigrant Children

July 17, 2014
MCALLEN, TX. --TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014 -- Immigrants who have been detained while crossing the border are held inside the McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas, Tuesday July 15, 2014. More than 350 detainees were being held on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at the station. A solution for the growing crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border is looking increasingly elusive with three weeks left before Congress leaves Washington for an annual August recess. (AP)

Gov. Deval Patrick says the state can — and should — do more to help some of the tens of thousands of children who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months.

To Protect Birds, U.S. Seeks Kiteboarding Ban At Monomoy

July 01, 2014
The federal agency that oversees the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge says kiteboarding and piping plovers are a bad mix, so it’s proposed a ban on the sport there. And that’s caused howls of protest from kiteboarders who believe they can enjoy their sport without posing any threat to birds. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

CHATHAM, Mass. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that the kites and their shadows scare piping plovers and other shorebirds that nest at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham. But the kiteboarders believe there’s no proof that their sport has any negative impact on the birds.

Protesters Welcome Buffer Zone Ruling, While State Leaders Seek Action

June 26, 2014

BOSTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously struck down the Massachusetts law creating abortion clinic buffer zones.

Anti-Casino Ballot Question Will Dominate Mass. Governor’s Race, Analyst Says

June 24, 2014

BOSTON — The casino repeal referendum in Massachusetts is “about as exciting a kind of an issue … that we will see in some time in this state,” one political analyst says.

The Ghostly Sound Of The Theremin, An Instrument Played Without Being Touched

June 20, 2014
Jon Bernhardt playing the theremin in the WBUR studios. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

BOSTON — Writer Sean Michaels will be at Porter Square Books this weekend discussing his new book, “Us Conductors,” about the theremin’s inventor, Leon Theremin. He will be joined by Somerville theremin player Jon Bernhardt, who joins us in studio to play his unique instrument.

Week In Review: Minimum Wage, Opiate Addiction, Boston Olympics 2024

June 13, 2014
Children play on the Olympic rings in Eton Dorney, England, at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

Raising the minimum wage in Massachusetts, combating opioid addiction and Boston as a possible host city for the 2024 Olympics. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind this week’s headlines.

Why Is My Dog Chasing His Tail? Understanding Mental Illness In Animals

June 13, 2014
Laurel Braitman looks at the inner lives of dogs and other members of the animal kingdom in her new book. (Ruben Bos/Flickr)

Birds, cats, whales, chimps and many other types of animals can experience mental health problems that mirror our own symptoms.

Shocked By His Own Voice: Male Soprano Soars In World’s Smallest Vocal Category

May 14, 2014
Male soprano Robert Crowe (Courtesy)

BOSTON — Robert Crowe is one of the very few male sopranos singing professionally worldwide.

Lost In The Mountains? N.H. Considers Hiker Fee To Cover Rescue Costs

May 06, 2014
In this Jan. 22, 2007 file photo, a search-and-rescue team boards a helicopter to head to the top of Mount Lafayette to look for a missing hiker in Franconia, N.H. (Jim Cole/AP)

BOSTON — To defray the expense of rescuing lost and injured hikers, New Hampshire is considering charging hikers an upfront fee to help cover search-and-rescue costs.

Furry, 4-Legged Therapist Helps Marathon Bombing Victims Through Hard Year

April 16, 2014
Jessica with rescue.

BOSTON — Meet Rescue. He’s a specially trained assistance dog that’s helping Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, newlyweds who each lost a left leg in the marathon bombing, rebuild their lives.

Group Song Inspired By Marathon Bombings Grows To Nearly 100 Voices

April 15, 2014

A group song inspired by the Boston Marathon bombings now contains about 90 voices, including two choirs.

Marathon Medical Tent Nurse: Krystle Campbell ‘Will Stay With Me Forever’

April 15, 2014

BOSTON — A finish line medical tent nurse who helped treat Krystle Campbell, one of the Boston Marathon bombing fatalities, recalls that experience and the personal connection he felt to her.

Free Trauma Counseling Available To Boston Marathon Bombing Victims

April 14, 2014

BOSTON — WBUR’s Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with a trauma counselor who’s treating Boston Marathon bombing victims with psychological injuries.

For Some Boston Bombing Victims, Psychological — Not Physical — Wounds Linger

April 14, 2014

BOSTON — Many Boston Marathon bombing victims weren’t physically injured in the attack, but they do have psychological wounds that linger a year later. Each week, some of them meet in a support group at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

‘Something Very Important Was Shared’: Doctors Who Treated Marathon Bombing Victims Remember Back

April 09, 2014
FILE - In this April 15, 2013 file photo, medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston.  A federal grand jury in Boston returned a 30-count indictment against bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Thursday, June 27, 2013, on charges including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use, resulting in death. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

BOSTON — Two doctors who helped bombing victims at the Boston Marathon finish line describe how that experience changed them personally and professionally.

From ‘Scandal’ To Chekhov: Actress Kate Burton On Her Later-In-Life Professional Success

March 19, 2014
Kate Burton in the role of Irina Arkadina in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of Anton Chekhov’s "The Seagull." (T. Charles Erickson)

BOSTON — WBUR’s Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with actress Kate Burton — from the hit TV shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” — about her role in the Huntington Theatre’s current production.

What Spurs Jazz Icon Herbie Hancock’s Constant Musical Reinvention? ‘Boredom!’

February 06, 2014
Herbie Hancock at his first of six Harvard University lectures on "The Ethics of Jazz." (Tia Chapman/Harvard University)

BOSTON — Legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock talks about his role as Harvard University’s 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry, and muses on life.

Making It Up As They Go: Boston's Unscripted Musical Project

December 19, 2013
Members of Boston’s Unscripted Musical Project perform a recent show. (Courtesy)

There’s a new theatrical event in Boston: a Broadway-style comical musical spun from scratch on the spot using a story idea supplied by the audience.

‘I Am A Human Being, Just Like You’: Stories By Boston’s Homeless Come To The Stage

November 21, 2013
Nolan Bagley

BOSTON — An unusual theater event is happening in the Boston area this weekend: “Stories Without Roofs,” a collection of writings by homeless people performed by professional actors, singers and dancers.

Lure Of Jagger: Marsh Chapel Choir Embraces Rock ‘N’ Roll

June 12, 2013

BOSTON — BU’s Marsh Chapel Choir temporarily ditches its traditional church music to sing with the Rolling Stones.

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