NPR changes up its political and national teams, PBS hires a v.p. and other comings and goings

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NPR is gearing up for a new administration with changes to its political and national reporting teams.

Editor Arnie Seipel will coordinate daily news coverage of Congress and assist with story planning. Seipel spent the past year as lead candidate editor.

Reporter Scott Detrow joins the Capitol Hill team. He covered the Republican side of the 2016 presidential election. Detrow also reports on technology and data and appears regularly on the NPR Politics Podcast.

Muthoni Muturi becomes features editor for politics. Earlier in her tenure Muturi served as national editor.

Ron Elving, senior editor and correspondent on the Washington desk, shifts to a part-time role to accommodate his teaching position at American University.

And Peter Overby, NPR’s power, money and influence correspondent, has returned from a leave and is already covering government ethics and conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, campaign reporter Asma Khalid is returning to her previous employer, WBUR in Boston, to cover business, technology and innovation. At NPR, Khalid focused on demographics and politics in the election.

Sam Sanders also announced Dec. 2 that he will leave the NPR Politics Podcast at the end of January to start a new podcast for the network.

On NPR’s National Desk, reporter Sarah McCammon will turn to covering Mid-Atlantic regional news, based in Virginia Beach, Va. McCammon was the lead Republican field reporter for the election.

And correspondent Jennifer Ludden will oversee more than a dozen reporters nationwide covering energy and the environment. Most recently Ludden reported on family life and social issues.

Also at NPR, Dana Farrington, currently a homepage and engagement editor, moves to digital and social editor. Farrington joined NPR in 2011 as a web producer.




NPR has a new voice for funding credits. Chioke I’Anson started appearing Nov. 28 on newscasts and digital content, including podcasts and pre-rolls on NPR digital audio. Jessica Hansen remains the voice of credits on all other NPR broadcast content. I’Anson has produced for BackStory with the American History Guys and recently served as community producer for UnMonumental, a series for AIR’s Localore: Finding America initiative. He’s also an instructor of African American studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. “With Chioke, we expand the diversity of voices on NPR, develop a ready and familiar sounding ‘back-up’ voice, and create additional capacity for NPR’s Programming division,” said Izzi Smith, senior director, promotion and audience development, in a Nov. 11 email to NPR staff.

National Public Media, which manages corporate sponsorship for NPR, PBS and member stations, has promoted General Manager Bryan Moffett to chief operating officer, a new position. Moffett will manage acquisitions and partnerships, head strategic planning and oversee development of new sponsorship offerings. He arrived at NPM in 2006 as v.p., digital strategy/ad operations and rose to g.m. in 2014. Earlier in his career Moffett worked as editorial director of what is now the Radio Television Digital News Association.




PBS has hired Rhonda Holt as v.p., software development and operations. Holt oversees teams responsible for design, development, implementation, maintenance and analysis of PBS’s media management, delivery and organizational information systems. Most recently in Holt’s 30-year career, she served as v.p. of engineering and operations for the health-care technology company TrustedCare Inc. Earlier in her career Holt was responsible for daily operations of Turner Digital media properties, including,,,, and She also serves on the board of Public Broadcasting Atlanta.



Chuck Holmes begins work as general manager at WBHM in Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 9. He will also oversee the Alabama Radio Reading Service, a resource for listeners with eyesight impairments. Since 2013 Holmes has worked as deputy managing editor of NPR’s daily news operations. Previously he was supervising senior editor of Morning Edition. Earlier in his career Holmes served as foreign editor and a foreign correspondent for Cox Newspapers.

Eric Athas, who manages NPR Training, has accepted a position as senior editor at the New York Times. Athas joined NPR in 2011; previously, he was a digital editor and producer at the Washington Post.



Paul Damberg, a founder of the Public Radio Association of Development Officers, has joined Wisconsin Public Radio as its northern regional manager. Damberg will supervise regional staff, students and volunteers, as well as oversee the regionally-based news staff. Damberg spent 15 years directing development at KUMD in Duluth, Minn. More recently he led the Lake Superior College Foundation as its executive director and was director of the Human Development Center Foundation of Duluth.


Producer Alex Braunstein has joined Public Radio Exchange as community manager of its Podcast Garage, its community audio and media arts training facility in Boston. Braunstein has worked as an independent producer for Rhode Island Public Radio. During college she was communications manager and director of Storytellers for Good at Brown University, which helps students learn skills in digital media and storytelling.

Peter Clowney is the new executive editor at podcast company Midroll. Clowney spent the past year as head editor at Gimlet Media. Previously Clowney worked for 10 years at American Public Media, departing in September 2015 as managing director, national content development and arts and ideas programming.

Jane Marie, music supervisor for This American Life, is the host of DTR (“define the relationship”), a new podcast from Gimlet Media and dating app Tinder. Marie is also a producer at Epic True Stories magazine and the Earwolf audio network.



Janae Pierre is the new local host for All Things Considered and All Things New Orleans at WWNO in New Orleans. For the past five years she has worked as drive-time host and community events director at a local Christian radio station.

Randol White has joined Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, Calif., as local All Things Considered anchor. Previously White was the first news editor at KCBX in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where he built the newsroom. Earlier in his career he anchored and reported for commercial broadcasters in California, Wisconsin and Oregon.

Arielle Zionts, a former producer for public radio’s Interfaith Voices, is now a reporter for the Nogales International newspaper in Nogales, Ariz. Earlier in her career Zionts was a reporting intern for Pacifica Radio in Berkeley, Calif.

Abbie Ruzicka, formerly a producer at WBUR’s On Point, has joined the Gimlet Media creative team. Previously she also worked as a digital radio producer at WGBH in Boston.


Scott Sauer, a longtime executive at WMHT in Albany, N.Y., begins work Jan. 3 as vice president, partnerships, at PBS Distribution, a new position. Sauer will manage business relationships related to programming, premiums and fulfillment for the distributor. Sauer joined WMHT in 1991 as corporate support representative, rising in 2013 to e.v.p. for development, communications, television programming and production and digital services.


WFAE in Charlotte, N.C., has promoted Meghann Batchelor, who joined the station in 2013 as office manager, to director of station relations. Batchelor oversees internal communications, coordinates the president’s activities and communications and acts as a liaison to WFAE’s board.


Eric Calloway moves to advancement systems manager from gifts processing coordinator at WFAE. Calloway will supervise the transition and upgrade of WFAE’s membership database and its integration with the Contributor Development Partnership research initiative.

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7 thoughts on “NPR changes up its political and national teams, PBS hires a v.p. and other comings and goings

  1. And how soon will people start complaining about Chioke I’Anson–or do they only complain about women announcers at NPR?

  2. Seems like the people leaving because they aren’t willing to cover a Trump Presidency don’t understand or appreciate the fact that tolerance goes both ways! Sad!!! – God’s peace to all

    • Hi Andrew: I am trying to better understand your comment. Are you referring to the NPR political staff changes? NPR and PBS NewsHour will both be covering the new president. I don’t see evidence of anyone “leaving” because they are “unwilling” to provide that coverage. What did you mean by that? Thanks.

      • Dear Dru,

        Your are understanding my implication very well, although you may not be taking away the same information that I did from the article and tweets to support it.

        My assertion is base primarily on an implied assumption, because it seems quite obvious to me that more than one of the people who’ve decided to leave NPR’s political news coverage team have done so because they can not stomach, for whatever reason(s), doing their job as before now that Mr. Trump will be the president. In other words, it seems as if they have a conflict of “bias” that would preclude them from doing their jobs objectively. Such honesty and integrity is commendable, but I also find it very sad that so many people have decided to leave because (apparently) it may be too difficult for them to be objective with a president they do not agree with. We have a lot of that mentality circulating right now (e.g. “He’s not my president”) and I really think it’s a shame.

        Peace to you

    • NPR usually hires extra political reporters for presidential election cycles. I know at least a few of these people were on temporary contracts for that purpose. Election is over, contracts end, people move on.