Robbie Harris

WVTF/RADIO IQ New River Valley Bureau Chief

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg,  covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia. 

The former news director of  WBEZ/ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, she led award-winning news teams and creative projects.  Early in her career, she was the Humanities Reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, and also served as a tape editor on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Robbie worked at New Jersey Public Television and WCAU/CBS TV in Philadelphia while she pursued  her Master's Degree at the University of Pennsylvania.  During college, she was a Page at Saturday Night Live in New York and a reporter and program host for Cross Country Cable Television in Somerville, NJ.  Robbie also worked at the Rutgers College Radio Station, WRSU and was part of the team which founded "Knight Time Television" at the university.

The arts have a unique ability to embrace complexity; to hold a variety of ideas at once. They can foster exploration not always possible through other routes. That’s the idea behind the Islamic Worlds Festival at Virginia Tech’s Center for the Arts, which opens next month. 

"There’s such a cultural clinging to tradition that is both admirable and sometimes problematic, but that’s in every culture; if you hold too strongly to tradition."

Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club

An environmental impact statement on the proposed Mountain Valley Natural Gas Pipeline is expected this month, from the companies planning to build the 300 - mile transmission line. 


The New River Valley is slated to be one of the fastest growing areas in the state. So transportation experts are getting creative about how to move traffic more efficiently and safely going forward.   As Robbie Harris reports, the Virginia Department of Transportation is trying something new in Blacksburg, near the Virginia Tech campus, where traffic tie-ups are already a problem.

Creative Commons/Ron Dollete

You can tell a lot about a culture from its cuisine: what it values, what challenges it faces. In Appalachia, where people have lived off the land for centuries, it was common practice to ‘eat local’ way before that was cool. Now that the rest of the world is trying to do the same, people are looking anew at this region’s cooking. Instead of seeing it as a food of poverty, some are suggesting it’s an undiscovered gem in American regional cooking.



“What we’re seeing now is, that employers are looking for candidates that are rooted in an academic discipline, are more prepared to enter the work force, but who can also problem solve with what we call a sustainability lens.”

Angie DeSoto is director of the new Sustainability Institute at Virginia Tech.  It offers a month-long boot camp for juniors and seniors how to focus whatever job they’ll be doing at a firm through that sustainability lens.