NPR Looks to Hire a Digital News M.E. As More Leadership Changes Are Announced

WebNewser has obtained a memo sent from National Public Radio SVP of News Ellen Weiss about some leadership changes as public radio continues to change with the times including an audience that continues to fractionalize. NPR went through a re-org after about 18 months ago and, writes Weiss, “Since that time it has become even clearer to me that we must deepen the integration of our newsroom, establish better and faster communication between units in News and others in the organization, and foster even more ambitious, distinctive storytelling and enterprise reporting every day on our shows and online.”

Dick Meyer, Editorial Director of NPR Digital, will now oversee newsgathering across all platforms. Meyer joined NPR from CBSNews.com a year ago and had been at CBS News Radio and TV for 14 years before that. This means NPR is now looking for a Managing Editor of Digital News.

The entire memo, including other changes, after the jump…


To: All News Staff
Fr: Ellen Weiss
Re: Changes in News Leadership

About 18 months ago I introduced a new leadership team and several news jobs – including Directors of Morning and Afternoon Programs, a Director of News Operations and a Director of Staff Development. I assumed that the needs of the News Division would change over time and that the management team would change to meet those needs. Since that time, it has become even clearer to me that we must deepen the integration of our newsroom, establish better and faster communication between units in News and others in the organization, and foster even more ambitious, distinctive storytelling and enterprise reporting every day on our shows and online.

The painful cuts and sacrifices by everyone at NPR have sharpened our focus on how best to secure NPR’s and public radio’s future in terms of journalism, audience and revenue. And News plays a central role: our ability to create and present the highest quality journalism and storytelling on all platforms is what defines NPR’s distinctive value. To support these priorities I am restructuring the senior leadership of News.

In these budget conscious times, it is important to emphasize that these changes all come from redefining existing jobs – and coincide with the departures of Jonathan Kern and Richard L. Harris and Cheryl Hampton’s move to HR to head up NPR News’ recruitment efforts.

As I announced last week, Ellen McDonnell’s position as our Director of Morning Programming is expanding to oversee all radio news programs as Executive Director of News Programming. This move will ensure that we are focused on our core radio service. Ellen has led morning programming through many transitions and has proven over and over again to be an innovative and creative leader. Reporting to Ellen will be the Executive Producers of ATC, ME, TMM, TOTN and the Supervising Producers of Weekend Mornings and WATC. She will report to me.

Dick Meyer’s position as Editorial Director of NPR Digital is expanding to oversee NPR’s newsgathering and journalism across all platforms as our Executive Editor. In his first year at NPR, Dick has transformed the quality and focus of our journalism online. He’s made important strategic hires in multimedia and deepened our original reporting. He also brings a strong broadcast background having spent 14 years reporting and producing for CBS News TV and radio before he went to CBSNews.com. Dick will also report to me and we’ll post a Managing Editor for Digital News position that will report to Dick and Kinsey Wilson.

David Sweeney is assuming the position of Managing Editor. David will direct the daily editorial process — determining which stories will be covered, how and by whom. The desks; Foreign, Washington, Science, National and the Newscast unit will all report to him. David’s reputation as a clear decision-maker and the manager who anticipates everyone’s needs will be invaluable as we work to streamline communication and coordination and help shows and online get what they need. He will initially work a Tuesday-Saturday schedule to cover the start-up of the Newsdesk and will report to Dick.

Brian Duffy will lead the effort to further develop and deepen our enterprise and investigative reporting. He’ll head up futures planning and take the lead in working across News and all NPR divisions to better focus, coordinate and publicize News initiatives and work with all desks to help generate more investigative and enterprise stories. His new title is Director of Enterprise and Planning. He will report to Dick.

Stu Seidel is moving to Deputy Managing Editor and will run the Newsdesk being launched June 1. The Newsdesk will initially function 24/5 as a single information – gathering, sharing and decision-making unit for daily news with one phone number and one email address. Passoffs will be coordinated and the Desk will be a resource for reaching quick decisions about news coverage across platforms. We have all come to depend on Stu’s excellent editorial leadership across the weekends. He will work a Sunday – Thursday schedule. He will report to David.

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