WBUR Staff

Deborah Becker

Host/Reporter, WBUR

Deborah Becker is a Senior Correspondent and Host at WBUR.  Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

Deb is also a substitute host on several WBUR programs and helps produce and report for various WBUR special projects. Deb also worked on the launch of WRNI, Rhode Island’s NPR News Station, where she served as Morning Edition host and host of the weekly show “Focus Rhode Island.”  Before coming to WBUR, she worked at Monitor Radio, the broadcast arm of The Christian Science Monitor newspaper. She also worked at several Boston area radio stations. Deb has received numerous awards for her hosting, newscasts, reporting, and investigative reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTNDA), Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, National Education Writers Association, Associated Press, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Parent/Professional Advocacy League and United Press International. She has also completed several fellowships on addiction, mental health, juvenile justice and journalism and the law.

Deb studied journalism at St. Bonaventure University. She lives with her family in central Massachusetts.

Recent stories

Female Lawyers Allege Improper Searches On Prison Visits

February 27, 2015

State public safety officials are defending how a female attorney was searched at MCI Norfolk this week.

Sen. Chang-Diaz On MBTA Crisis: ‘I’m Hopeful We Will Not Fail To Act On This Moment’

February 26, 2015

State lawmakers on Thursday questioned transportation officials about the massive problems that have plagued the MBTA during the recent stretch of snowstorms.

Baker Unveils Plan To Fight Opioid Abuse

February 19, 2015

Gov. Charlie Baker Thursday unveiled the first steps his administration plans to take to combat abuse of heroin and prescription drugs.

Amid Scramble To House Homeless, Boston Night Center Reopens

February 17, 2015
Jackie Kerivan says he ended up at the Boston Night Center because he hasn't been able to find a substance abuse treatment bed. (Deborah Becker/WBUR)

Amid extreme cold and fewer addiction treatment beds in Boston, advocates for the homeless are trying to get people indoors by reopening the Boston Night Center.

‘They’ve Always Had Open Arms': Second, Third Chances Are Key To Lowell Youth Program’s Success

February 13, 2015
At Lowell's United Teen Equality Center, Ginny Chhuon, 21, right, talks with Elizabeth Porrazzo, a transitional coach, and Geoff Foster, director of organizing and policymaking. “I think I probably would be homeless if I didn’t find this place,” Chhuon says of UTEC. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

UTEC is part drop-in center, part school, part counseling and mentoring, part vocational training and social justice advocating, part cafe. But most of those involved say what UTEC really is is a family.

Elizabeth Warren, Grammy Winner? She’s Up For One In The Spoken Word Category

February 06, 2015
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Warren is nominated in the Spoken Word category of the Grammys for her audio book “A Fighting Chance.”

Literature Class Helps Young People On Probation Build New Relationships And Lives

February 04, 2015
(Abhl Sharma/Flickr)

Changing Lives Through Literature is an alternative sentencing program that has been proven to reduce the rate of recidivism among its participants.

MBTA Problems ‘The Unavoidable Result Of Years Of Bad Transportation Policy’

February 03, 2015

Charlie Chieppio has written extensively about the MBTA and told WBUR the transit agency has some big problems that the Baker administration is going to have to deal with.

Documentary Series Looks At Sex Trafficking In Boston

January 30, 2015
Savannah, with her mother, Sara, at their home outside of Boston. (Courtesy Audrey Hall)

Domestic sex trafficking in Boston and some other U.S. cities is the focus of the first episode of a new PBS documentary series “A Path Appears.”

Learn To Cope Founder To Attend State Of The Union

January 20, 2015

Drug use in Massachusetts and the state’s addiction epidemic is something a Raynham woman hopes President Obama will discuss in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Cambridge Choir School Charting High With Christmas CD

December 23, 2014
Practice at St. Paul’s Choir School (Courtesy of AimHigher Recordings)

“Christmas In Harvard Square,” by the St. Paul’s Choir School, is near the top of the classical Billboard chart.

‘Selma’ Is About ‘The Power Of Voice,’ Director Ava DuVernay Says

December 10, 2014
This photo released by Paramount Pictures shows David Oyelowo, center, as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Carmen Ejogo, right, as Coretta Scott King in the film, "Selma." (Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures)

In 1965 in Selma, Alabama, news cameras captured police using tear gas and billy clubs on civil rights demonstrators. Now that story is being told on the big screen for the first time.

Baker Taps Marylou Sudders To Lead Health And Human Services Department

November 21, 2014
Marylou Sudders (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Several groups are praising his choice, citing Sudders’ work as the former state mental health commissioner and former head of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

New MGH-MIT Partnership Marries Medicine And Tech

November 19, 2014
MIT graduate student Matthew Li, MIT engineering professor Michael Cima, and MGH nephrologist Dr. Herbert Lin with the portable device they’re developing to measure hydration state and blood volume using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

MIT and MGH are partnering with the goal of developing better technologies and methods to diagnose and treat disease.

UMass Medical School Sending Team To Fight Ebola In Liberia

November 10, 2014
Dr. Rick Sacra, a UMass Medical School faculty member who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia, walks out of a media availability with Chancellor Michael Collins Sept. 4 in Worcester. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

The school recently received a $7.5 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to send doctors and nurses to help care for Ebola patients and reopen health care facilities.

Study Raises Questions About Military Service Causing Chronic Suicidal Tendencies

October 23, 2014

A new study commissioned by the U.S. Army has found that the mental health of soldiers isn’t as different from civilians as the researchers previously thought.

Surgeon General Nominee Murthy Loses Support Of Key Backers

October 22, 2014
Dr. Vivek Murthy is an internist at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His nomination for U.S. surgeon general has stalled, largely due to his advocacy of gun control. (Charles Dharapak/AP/File)

One of the country’s leading medical journals is withdrawing support for a Brigham and Women’s Hospital physician President Obama nominated to become the next surgeon general.

Listen: MGH Chief Of Infectious Disease Discusses Ebola Preparedness

October 16, 2014

How prepared is Massachusetts for Ebola? That was the question during a hearing at the State House Thursday.

It’s Not Business As Usual In Ferguson, Missouri

August 26, 2014
Ferguson police are visiting businesses in an effort to communicate more. (Deborah Becker)

From barber shops to bike shops, WBUR’s Deborah Becker looks at what the protests have meant for businesses.

As Mass. Lawmakers Take Up Addiction Bill, What’s Most Effective Treatment?

July 29, 2014
Hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin. (Toby Talbot/AP)

As Massachusetts lawmakers take up the $20 million bill aimed at addressing the state’s opioid crisis, questions about the best treatments remain.

How Addiction Can Affect Brain Connections

July 10, 2014
Untitled-1

A growing body of research shows that addiction is a complex brain disease that affects people differently. But the research also raises hopes about potential treatments.

Could Medical Marijuana Help Stem The Opiate Addiction Crisis?

June 11, 2014
medical marijuana sign

Marijuana is touted as a treatment for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and anxiety — and some say it may be a way to help alleviate Massachusetts’ opiate crisis. But that idea is causing some tension in the addiction treatment community.

Dookhan Was Drug Lab’s ‘Sole Bad Actor,’ Report Says

March 04, 2014
Annie Dookhan, in late 2012 (Steven Senne, Pool/AP)

“However … deficiencies at the Drug Lab created an atmosphere that allowed for [Annie] Dookhan to commit her crimes,” the state inspector general wrote in his review.

Boston Doctor Chosen For New National Effort To Reform Forensic Testing

February 21, 2014

With the Massachusetts Inspector General expected to release his report on the state drug lab crisis any day now, a local doctor is part of a new national effort to reform forensic testing.

How Mass. Should Deal With Convictions Affected By Dookhan

January 10, 2014
Annie Dookhan leaves Suffolk Superior Court after being arraigned Dec. 20, 2012. (Joe Spurr/WBUR)

Matt Segal of the Massachusetts ACLU discusses the criminal cases that linger as the state investigates the drug lab scandal.

ACLU Asks Mass. High Court For ‘Comprehensive Remedy’ For Drug Lab Cases

January 09, 2014

The court is again being asked for guidance on how to deal with criminal convictions thrown into question by the state drug lab crisis.

Forensic Testing A Problem In Several States

December 31, 2013

Congress could take up legislation in 2014 aimed at improving oversight of the nation’s crime labs. Critics say lawmakers need to take action after several lab scandals.

Reviewing The Annie Dookhan Drug Lab Crisis

December 26, 2013

WBUR’s Deborah Becker, who has been reporting on the drug lab scandal all year, looks back on the case and at the unresolved legal ramifications of chemist Annie Dookhan’s actions.

Dookhan’s Lawyer: She Had A ‘Lapse In Judgment’

November 29, 2013

Convicted former chemist Annie Dookhan has never spoken publicly about the drug lab crisis. We speak with her lawyer, now that she’s in prison.

Forensic Testing Questions Remain After Dookhan Sentence

November 23, 2013

Former chemist Annie Dookhan began her first full day in prison Saturday, but lingering questions persist about state oversight of forensic testing.

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