Comings and goings: Francene Blythe-Lewis to lead Vision Maker Media, Ben Godley announces next job …

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Francene Blythe-Lewis was named executive director of Vision Maker Media, based in Lincoln, Neb.

Blythe-Lewis most recently served as director of programs at the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation in Vancouver, Wash. She has also held several positions in Washington, D.C., including director of the All Roads Film Project at the National Geographic Society, program manager for the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and cultural arts specialist for the National Museum of the American Indian.


Her father, Frank Blythe, is the founding executive director of Vision Maker Media, which was formerly named Native American Public Telecommunications. The group is affiliated with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Blythe-Lewis is Eastern Band Cherokee and Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota from her father and Navajo from her mother, according to a news release.

“I have longed to return to Indigenous storytelling through film and media. Our stories are so crucial — always have been — to the vast history of world knowledge, as well as to posterity,” said Blythe-Lewis in the release. “I am absolutely thrilled to be supporting and promoting Native American films at Vision Maker Media.”

PBS announced promotions within its communications departments after departures.

Eleanor Hawkins was promoted to senior director of corporate communications and media relations at PBS. Hawkins, who joined PBS in 2019, previously served as the director of corporate communications and media relations. She has also been the director of communications at Defense Priorities, the national press secretary for Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign and a press secretary for the U.S. Senate.

Michae Godwin was promoted to senior director of publicity. She joined PBS in 2011 and has served as associate director and director. In her new role, she takes on all general audience publicity oversight and will continue to oversee public relations for American Portrait

Also, Lara Davidson was promoted to director of publicity. She will continue overseeing publicity for Masterpiece and Ken Burns’ portfolio. After graduating college in 2011, she joined PBS as a project assistant who helped with social media and received several promotions.

The changes come after Jennifer Byrne left PBS in May and the retirement of Carrie Johnson, senior director of primetime publicity strategy.

KEXP in Seattle announced staff changes.


Starting July 27, DJs Gabriel Teodros and Larry Mizell Jr. will host weekday time slots, 5–7 a.m. for Teodros and 1–4 p.m for Mizell. As part of the changes, Mizell, who previously hosted the station’s Street Sounds program, was named director of editorial and will replace John Richards, director of programming, as co-host of Sound & Vision. Teodros was named associate music director. Richards’ program, The Morning Show, will have its weekly time slot reduced by one hour to 7–10 a.m. Albina Cabrera will become co-host of KEXP’s modern Latin music program, El Sonido, beginning in the fall and will join the station full-time as the Latin American content producer.



Maxie Jackson III joined New England Public Media earlier this year as chief content officer. Jackson is a national journalism fellow for the Maynard Institute. He has also been the station manager for ideastream in Cleveland; senior director of program development for New York Public Radio; radio program director for WETA in Washington, D.C.; and GM for WEAA in Baltimore. He has also been an executive director for the Pacifica Foundation, president of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, an assistant director of programming for Radio One and a producer for BET.


Ben Godley was named president of Greenough Communications, a marketing and public relations firm based in Watertown, Mass. Godley formerly served as CEO of the Contributor Development Partnership, a fundraising organization affiliated with WGBH in Boston. Michal Heiplik, a co-founder of CDP with Godley, was recently named president. Godley has also served as COO of WGBH and held other titles with the station, including EVP and president of business services.



Courtney Hurtt left her position as associate director of product strategy and operations for WDET in Detroit to become the program manager for NewsMatch at the Institute for Nonprofit News. Hurtt joined WDET in 2013 and also served as a digital content producer and as the business operations coordinator. Hurtt worked on last year’s winning Local That Works audio and photography project.


Van Cleave

Ariel Van Cleave was hired by Aspen Public Radio in Colorado to become the station’s news director. Her first day is Aug. 4. Van Cleave is currently senior editor of audio news for WBEZ in Chicago. She joined the station in 2019 as audio editor. Prior to WBEZ, Van Cleave was Morning Edition producer and Weekend Edition Saturday host for KNKX in Seattle; Morning Edition host and reporter for WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio; and host/reporter for WBAA in West Lafayette, Ind. On Twitter, Van Cleave said getting the Colorado job “will fulfill a years-long dream of leading my own newsroom. And I’ll get to do it in the mountains!”

Doualy Xaykaothao left her position Tuesday as a newscaster and reporter for NPR West in Los Angeles. She was selected as one of 10 fellows for the Knight-Bagehot program at Columbia University in New York. Xaykaothao joined NPR in 1999 as a production assistant for Morning Edition. After receiving promotions, she worked in Seoul, Bangkok, Japan and Nepal. She later left NPR and became a correspondent for Minnesota Public Radio, a senior reporter for KERA in Dallas and an Annenberg Fellow at KPCC in Pasadena, Calif. She rejoined NPR on the West Coast in 2018.

Shumita Basu, a former host and reporter for WNYC in New York City, has joined Apple News as the co-host of Apple News Today. Basu announced in May that she was leaving the station.

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