NPR Head Of News Michael Oreskes Announces Updated Newsroom Leadership

Sep 20, 2017

In a note to staff today, NPR SVP of News and Editorial Director Michael Oreskes shared newsroom leadership staffing updates.

Colleagues,

We are at a time of transformation for NPR and public radio. We have never been more successful yet we have never faced stiffer competition. Our audiences expect more of us than ever before.

One thing is already very clear. As we continue to expand our audience (a reasonable estimate is that we now reach 85 million people every week across all our radio and digital platforms) we need to be the complete news organization they are expecting. We must be their source for the strongest hourly newscasts, the most informative and deeply reported news on air and online and the most engaging podcasts. A place where strong reporting drives us, and our stories reach our audiences wherever they want us. An organization that will be both faster and deeper than ever before.

You have been rising to this challenge every day. But so have our competitors. So we will need to get even sharper. And that starts at the top.

I'm changing the newsroom leadership structure to clarify roles and ensure fast, streamlined editorial decision making at every hour of the day and night across all platforms. There will now be a deputy managing editor on duty 24/7 with full authority to decide how we respond to breaking news, from how we deploy staff to when we break into existing coverage. I am also separating oversight of entrepreneurial journalism from news of the day to better focus each track of work.

As I announced a couple of weeks ago, David Sweeney will step in as head of news gathering as Edith turns her focus full-time to building the collaborative public media network of the future. David's new title will be Chief News Editor.

Gerry Holmes will report to him in a new role as one of our two Managing Editors, focusing on planning and overseeing enterprise reporting across all platforms. He will draw on his years as Deputy Managing Editor and producing All Things Considered to support our newsroom's ambitions to bring forward distinctive, exclusive coverage and our signature deeply reported stories. Gerry's promotion reflects the exceptional work he has done developing the Newsdesk and driving a vision of a truly unified newsroom.

Gerry will work closely with Julia Redpath Buckley who will become our Deputy Managing Editor for Special Coverage. Julia is evidence that diamonds are forged in fire, and her news judgment and clear thinking have supported strong coverage of major news events during two decades at All Things Considered, as well as during her leadership of the team responsible for our coverage of the 2016 primaries, conventions, debates and election night. Part of their work will be to create deep, well-told distinctive stories for both audio and non-audio platforms.

Sara Kehaulani Goo will join Gerry as our other Managing Editor (dropping "interim" from her title). Sara will focus on leading all of us to a fully integrated editorial operation where each of us owns digital every bit as much as we have owned radio. In that spirit, the word "digital" is no longer part of her title. You'll be hearing more both from her and your direct supervisor about this in the weeks ahead. Sara joined us in early 2016 as Deputy Managing Editor and has pushed NPR to strengthen its digital presence and expand the audience since she arrived. In a short time, she's improved NPR's daily digital news operation as the traffic has grown more than 20% year-over-year and she's launched a number of new initiatives, including creating a social video team, and improving our search performance. As Managing Editor, Sara will oversee all editorial content published on NPR.org and other digital platforms and lead NPR's digital editorial strategy and teams.

It's also a good moment to note that we now have an impressive leadership team in place in Culver City. As Edith previously announced we are thrilled to welcome Michelle Morgante as our evening Deputy Manager Editor at NPR West, where she will work Sunday through Thursday. Michelle joins Deputy National Editor Hugh Dellios at NPR West.

Edith also shared recently that Jim Kane has assumed deputy managing editor duties on the weekends, working a Thursday to Sunday schedule here in Washington. Terry Samuel is our day-side DME and we are looking for an overnight supervisor here in DC to round out the 24/7 team.

As we realign our editorial oversight we are also focusing our editorial support functions and financial operations in the newsroom. Sharahn Thomas will be promoted to Senior Director, News Operations and Budget and take over management of the News division's budget, in addition to her existing oversight of the News Ops team. In this expanded role, she will partner closely with me to align our resources with our editorial priorities. She will report to me and become a member of the senior leadership team.

As we deepen our collaboration with Member stations, Franklyn Cater will become our Director of Collaborative News Strategy, supporting NPR and Member stations across all of NPR's news activities. Franklyn will be essential to ensuring that NPR news initiatives are informed by the perspectives and needs of Member stations. He will also work to foster more cross-newsroom and cross-NPR communication to help maximize and amplify our journalism. Among the efforts Franklyn is steering is the development of an improved editorial calendar for the newsroom. Franklyn will report to VP for News Chris Turpin with a dotted reporting line to VP for Member Partnership Gemma Hooley.

Please join me in congratulating your colleagues on their new and expanded roles. As always, please share any questions you may have.

Mike

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