Comings and goings: NPR adds to news desks, NJ Spotlight co-founder departs …

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NPR announced changes this week to staffing on its Washington and National desks. 

Among the National Desk changes, Ammad Omar is taking on a new position as deputy national editor for NPR West in Culver City, Calif. He joined the National Desk earlier this year as a supervising editor. Before that, he was an editor and supervisor for All Things Considered and edited for Morning Edition and Tell Me More.

Furthermore, Eric Whitney is joining the National Desk as Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief. Whitney previously worked as news director for Montana Public Radio.

Kirk Siegler, a national correspondent who has been covering rural America in the West, will relocate to work out of Boise State Public Radio in Idaho. National Correspondent Leila Fadel will relocate to NPR West while maintaining her current beat covering breaking news with a focus on Islam and LGBT issues. And Liz Baker will join the National Desk as a producer. In her prior position she worked closely with the desk for several stories with All Things Considered


On the Washington Desk, Krishnadev Calamur is joining as deputy Washington editor. Calamur was previously a senior editor with The Atlantic and also worked for NPR from 2008–15 as a digital editor and writer. He starts Sept. 3.

In other changes, Phil Ewing is moving into a new role of election security editor. Ewing was previously national security editor.

Carl Craft is joining the Washington Desk as elections logistics producer. He started on the NPR Ops desk more than two years ago as a production assistant. Craft begins in the new position Sept. 23.

And Domenico Montanaro has taken on the new title of senior political editor/correspondent. He was formerly lead editor for politics and digital audience.

In addition, Amita Kelly is now an editor on the Washington Desk. She was formerly senior digital editor on the National Desk and worked a previous stint as a digital editor on the Washington Desk.

Lee Keough, a founding editor and editor-in-chief of NJ Spotlight, is leaving the online publication to pursue new opportunities.

WNET in New York City, which acquired NJ Spotlight in March, announced the change Monday. Keough will retain the title of editor emeritus.

“NJ Spotlight is poised for its next evolution, one that will bring a more robust news source to all of New Jersey,” Keough said in a press release. “I am looking forward to supporting that effort. But after spending the last nine years building NJ Spotlight to where it is today, I’m ready for my next adventure.” 

Executive director John Mooney and web director Máire Crowe are serving as NJ Spotlight’s co-editors until the editor-in-chief position is filled.

Barry Winograd is stepping down from his role as midday host on Chicago’s WDCB after more than 18 years with the jazz station.

Winograd also hosted jazz shows on WBEZ and WXRT in Chicago before joining WDCB. He plans to devote more time to his work as a saxophonist and bandleader after leaving his slot Sept. 20. 


“Barry is such an important part of who we are as a radio station,” said WDCB Station Manager Dan Bindert in a press release. “We serve an audience that is serious about jazz. His love for this art form is as genuine and sincere as it gets. That comes across every day he’s on the air.”

Winograd will continue to host WDCB’s When Jazz Was King, a Saturday-morning historical show. Early-morning weekday host Leslie Keros will move into Winograd’s midday slot. Existing staff will cover early mornings.


Shannon Bond is joining NPR’s business desk as a technology correspondent based in Silicon Valley after more than a decade working with the Financial Times. Bond will start her new position Sept. 16.

Freelance audio host and producer Megan Tan tweeted that she’s joining the new LAist Studios at Southern California Public Radio in Pasadena

Ike Sriskandarajah has returned to Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting as a reporter/producer. Sriskandarajah previously worked as a producer for The New York Times, where he was with The Daily. Before that, he was with Reveal from 2015–17.


Andy Ellis is returning to Cincinnati Public Radio as a classical music host. He previously worked as an announcer and engineer for the station almost a decade ago. Ellis starts on the air Monday.

Marie Cusick has joined PBS NewsHour as a producer for its Student Reporting Labs. She previously worked as a multimedia reporter for WITF in Harrisburg, Pa. 

Ashlee Clark Thompson has moved into the role of digital director at Louisville Public Media in Kentucky. In her previous role as culture editor, she oversaw Do502, LPM’s social calendar service. She joined the station last year.


Se’era Spragley is the community manager at the PRX Podcast Garage opening Sept. 4 in Washington, D.C. Spragley was previously marketing and engagement coordinator at WAMU in Washington and has also worked for the Daily Press Media Group and Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts. 

Colorado Public Radio producer Zach Gilltrap has joined Lakewood-based Paragon Media Strategies as an audio imaging producer. “To say I’m stoked would be putting it mildly,” Gilltrap said in a press release. He will continue in his role at CPR. Paragon is a consulting and research firm specializing in entertainment and media.

Bobby Blanchard has taken on the role of assistant director for audience at the Texas Tribune. He had served as social media manager since 2016.

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