Comings and goings: AmDoc expands team, Kopp quits in Aspen …

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American Documentary in New York City added two managers to POV Engage, the impact team behind its POV series, and hired a producer for POV Shorts.

Thomas and Cook

Courtney Cook joins AmDoc as education manager. She has been teaching at the University of Texas and is a consultant helping educational organizations work toward goals in equity and diversity. She has also written poetry and literary essays.

AmDoc hired Aqiyla M. Thomas as manager of community engagement. She was previously a project director at Urban Arts Partnership in New York, where she managed creative arts programs in schools and coordinated a film screening for high school students, education staff and community organizers. She was also education manager for Meridian Hill Pictures in Washington, D.C.


The producer also added Opal H. Bennett as producer for POV Shorts. Bennett was most recently shorts programmer for the Montclair and Nantucket Film Festivals. She is also a programmer for Aspen ShortsFest, the Athena Film Festival and DOC NYC and consults for the March on Washington Film Festival. 

In addition, POV promoted Sophie Harari to associate producer, Nicky Cook to media coordinator and Robert Chang to coordinating producer for America ReFramed.

Craig Kopp has resigned from Aspen Public Radio after just four months on the job.

Kopp resigned from his position of managing editor at the Colorado station, he said in an email to Current.

“Five weeks into the position, I learned that a heart condition known as Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) had become uncontrolled when I hit the higher altitudes of the Roaring Fork Valley,” he wrote. Kopp had surgery for the condition last month.

He added that the station’s executive director, Tammy Terwelp, had told him that he “might not be the right fit for the job.” Kopp said he was not allowed to conduct editorial meetings with his staff without Terwelp’s supervision and “felt his ability to manage the newsroom in the future had been undermined beyond repair.”

“The staff has clearly seen in several instances that I don’t have the confidence of the ED,” he wrote.

Terwelp declined comment, citing personnel matters.

Kopp had previously served as GM of WMNF in Tampa, Fla.


Shirley Sneve left Vision Maker Media in October to become president and CEO of the Tiwahe Foundation, a Minneapolis-based organization that serves American Indian people and communities in Minnesota. Sneve had worked for Vision Maker for 15 years, starting as assistant director. She became executive director in 2006. Vision Maker provides training for Native producers and works with them to develop, produce and distribute programs.


WSHU in Fairfield, Conn., has hired A. Rima Dael as station manger, a newly created position. Dael will report to GM George Lombardi and “work to define and meet strategic priorities, build capacity, and ensure long-term sustainability,” the station said in a press release. Dael previously worked as executive director of development & major gifts at New England Public Radio in Amherst, Mass., where she also helped negotiate the reorganization of NEPR and WGBY-TV under a new nonprofit. 



Sylvia Strobel has been elected as a member director to fill an unexpired term vacancy on the NPR board of directors. Strobel is COO of ideastream in Cleveland. Her term on the NPR board continues through November 2021.

Bert Schmidt is the new chairman of the board of trustees of America’s Public Television Stations. He succeeds Roy Clem, executive director of Alabama Public Television, who retired from the role of chairman. Schmidt, who is CEO at WHRO in Norfolk, Va., was previously professional vice chair on the board. Molly Phillips, GM of Iowa Public Television in Johnston, was elected to that role. Schmidt and Phillips will serve in their new positions until APTS’ next board elections Feb. 25, 2020.



Carla Wohl is the new senior VP of development at Southern California Public Radio in Pasadena. Wohl previously was associate dean of external relations at the USC Rossier School of Education in Los Angeles. She was also assistant dean of external affairs at the UCLA School of Public Health. “At both institutions, she oversaw capitol campaigns of $100M and $160M, respectively, rebuilt the advisory boards and implemented new communications strategies to utilize storytelling to advance development efforts,” SCPR said in a press release.

Before working in development, Wohl was a journalist for nearly 30 years, reporting for ABC News, Nova ScienceNOW and newsmagazine shows.



Jodi Gersh is joining Colorado Public Radio as senior VP of marketing and engagement. Gersh most recently was VP of engagement and audience development at PRX. She also worked for 17 years at Gannett/USA Today, advancing to the role of director of social media for national brands. 


NPR added two staffers to contribute to 2020 election coverage. Benjamin Swasey is joining the network as deputy political editor through January 2021, planning and editing daily coverage of the presidential campaign. Swasey has worked for WBUR in Boston for a decade, most recently as political editor. And Caroline Amenabar will serve as a production assistant for engagement through January 2021. She has been leading graphics and illustrations at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Both start Monday.

Teresa Frontado will start in January as executive editor at KUT in Austin, Texas. Frontado is currently digital director at WLRN in Miami. She has also worked at Univision and the Miami Herald. The executive editor role is a new position at KUT.

Traci Bauer is joining KCUR in Kansas City, Mo., as director of journalism. Bauer most recently served as executive editor at a news organization in Westchester County, N.Y. She has also worked for The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., and several Gannett properties. At KCUR, she succeeds Donna Vestal, who is overseeing a nationwide collaboration on election coverage.

Niki Walker has left her position at NPR for a role with PBS Digital Studios. At NPR, she was a producer and editor for Jazz Night in America.

WAMU in Washington, D.C., hired Debbie Truong as an education reporter. Truong previously reported on education for the Washington Post.

St. Louis Public Radio has hired two reporters, Jaclyn Driscoll and Julie O’Donoghue. Driscoll, a statehouse and politics reporter, previously covered the state capitol for NPR Illinois in Springfield for two years. O’Donoghue, a politics correspondent, was formerly a state government and bureau chief at the New Orleans Times-Picayune for six years. She has also covered politics in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Craig Kopp retired from Aspen Public Radio. Kopp resigned.

Assistant Editor Tyler Falk contributed reporting to this column.

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