After cutting his job, NPR grants David Welna four-month extension

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NPR correspondent David Welna, whose position will be eliminated next month as part of a newsroom restructuring, will stay with the network until January, he told Current Friday.

Welna, a national security correspondent, said that union steward Richard Harris, also an NPR correspondent, and SAG-AFTRA representative Pat O’Donnell helped negotiate a deal with the network to keep him working at the network until Jan. 6.

NPR will still eliminate the national security correspondent position he currently holds. He will be on the news desk — “doing what, I’m not sure,” he said. He will continue to earn his current salary and benefits until the grace period ends.

“I think my only chance of being kept on indefinitely is if I apply for an open position here and am hired by Jan. 6,” he said. But he added, “I’m an award-winning correspondent with a lot of seniority, which may not be great credentials for landing a new job at an organization whose head honchos seem to be bloodletting to let in new blood.”

Welna began with NPR as a freelance reporter in 1982.

NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara declined to comment on Welna’s status at the network, citing company policy of not commenting on personnel matters.

NPR news chief Nancy Barnes told staff in an email Tuesday that the cuts and changes in newsroom positions would affect fewer than 10 people. She said the changes were a response to shifting newsroom priorities.

Video producer Kara Frame tweeted Wednesday that she was one of three video staffers laid off.

An email from NPR union stewards to union members Wednesday obtained by Current said that the union would hold a meeting Friday to update members about the restructuring.

“There are limits to what the union can do,” they said. “But know that we are fighting to get the best possible outcome for each affected position.”

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