Comings and goings: PMJA names Johnathan Reaves president, Joan Lunden tapped to host ‘Second Opinion’ …

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Johnathan Reaves was named president of the Public Media Journalists Association.


Reaves replaces Shula Neuman, who resigned earlier this month “to focus on issues within St. Louis Public Radio.” Reaves will serve as board president until June 2021, when the position will be open in the organization’s annual election. Members will then elect a president who will serve the final year of Reaves’ term and in 2022 elect a president to a full two-year term.

Reaves was elected to the PMJA board as its small station representative in 2017 and was reelected for a second term in that seat in 2019. He is news director at KASU in Jonesboro, Ark. 

With Reaves’ appointment to president, the board appointed Ariel Van Cleave to serve the final year of Reaves’ term as small station representative. Van Cleave is news director at Aspen Public Radio in Colorado.

Joan Lunden was hired as host of Second Opinion, a health-care series produced by WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., and the University of Rochester Medical Center.


Lunden previously worked as a special correspondent for the Today Show. She has also worked as a correspondent and co-anchor for Good Morning America and was a reporter and anchor for WABC, an ABC affiliate in New York. According to a news release, Lunden is the longest-running female host ever on an early morning television show. 

In addition to being a spokesperson for organizations like the American Heart Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the American Lung Association, Lunden is the host of the Washington Post podcast series Caring for Tomorrow, premiering in September.

The new season of the program, which will be renamed Second Opinion with Joan Lunden, is scheduled to be released in February 2021. The series is distributed by American Public Television.

“It is my absolute pleasure to be joining the team at Second Opinion which has been enlightening viewers on health issues for sixteen years,” said Lunden in a news release. “I’d always imagined I’d follow in my father’s footsteps, a cancer surgeon who was dedicated to his patients’ wellbeing. While I did not become a doctor, as a broadcaster and health advocate, I have had a lifetime opportunity to educate and empower others to better control their health and longevity. I look forward to becoming a part of the PBS family!”



Rafael Nam was hired as a senior business editor for NPR. Nam replaces Jennifer Liberto, who left NPR in December to become deputy economics editor for the Washington Post. Nam’s first day is Monday. He previously worked as a campaign editor for The Hill, leading its digital-first coverage of the 2020 elections. He also worked as a reporter for Reuters in Asia. In a note to staff, NPR Chief Business Editor Pallavi Gogoi said Nam’s hire is “a much-needed addition to the small and mighty Business Desk, especially at a time of immense upheaval in the global and American economy and business.”


Aisha Harris became the fourth co-host of Pop Culture Happy Hour, NPR’s entertainment roundtable podcast. The program will become a daily show in October. Harris previously worked as an editor and writer for the New York Times’ opinion and television sections. She also worked as a culture writer, podcast host and editor for Slate. Harris first appeared on Pop Culture Happy Hour in 2016 and has been a regular guest since then. “Over the years, the show has continued to evolve, welcoming a widening range of contributors, guests and topics. With Aisha at the table, the PCHH crew will be able to take their observations and recommendations to a new level of relevance, insight — and fun,” said Anya Grundmann, NPR’s SVP for programming and audience development, in a news release.


Traci Bauer resigned from her position as director of journalism for KCUR in Kansas City, Mo. In a memo obtained by Current, interim GM Sarah Morris wrote that Bauer submitted her resignation effective Aug. 28, but Morris released Bauer from her duties immediately. Bauer’s last day was Aug. 14. She joined the station last year.

Morgan Givens will leave his position as a producer for 1A, the weekday talk show produced by WAMU in Washington, D.C. Givens said on Twitter that his last day is Monday and that he “made this decision myself.” He also said he plans to focus on his independent podcast, Flyest Fables. Givens joined the station in 2017 and also worked as a temporary producer for The Kojo Nnamdi Show. He was among WAMU staff members who criticized leadership’s handling of diversity issues.



Pete Matthews joined WBUR in Boston as executive director of business development. He will lead the station’s underwriting team. Matthews previously worked as senior executive director of partnerships for the Atlantic. He has also worked as a regional sales manager for Fast Company, a sales director for Newsweek, a sales manager for Time and global multimedia account executive for the Wall Street Journal


Six reporters from public radio stations were selected to participate in ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. The journalists are Emily Elena Dugdale of KPCC/LAist in Los Angeles; Zoë Sobel of KUCB/CoastAlaska in Unalaska, Alaska; Meribah Knight of Nashville Public Radio in Tennessee; Tony Schick of Oregon Public Broadcasting; Megan Pauly of VPM in Richmond, Va.; and Richard A. Webster of WWNO in New Orleans and WRKF in Baton Rouge, La.. They will work with Zahira Torres, a senior editor for ProPublica. Their year with the network begins Sept. 1. The initiative is supported by a grant from the Abrams Foundation. 


Brittany Harley, a community engagement reporter for WBGO in Newark, N.J., became a John S. Knight Journalism Community Impact Fellow for 2020–21. Fellows will work remotely on projects focused on people of color. Fellows will receive strategic advising, stipends of up to $70,000 and additional funds to support their work.


Matthew Martin was named board chair for WYPR in Baltimore. He succeeds Darcy C. Carroll, whose term ended June 30. Martin, who joined the board in 2015, is an EVP and retail market manager for PNC Financial Services Group.

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