Comings and goings: Robert Costa leaving ‘Washington Week’, Gunjan Kedia joins PBS board …

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Robert Costa is leaving his position as moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, produced by WETA in Washington, D.C., to co-write a book about President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden with investigative journalist Bob Woodward.

“While stepping away to co-author a book isn’t easy, I do it with a deep sense of appreciation for WETA and Washington Week,” Costa said in a statement. “This experience, from working with the wonderful crew on Friday night to engaging with the devoted audience, has lifted me as a reporter and been a joy.” His last day with the program will be Jan. 1.

“WETA has begun the process of finding Bob’s permanent replacement as moderator. Until that new moderator is named, Washington Week will draw from its deep pool of talent, featuring a number of excellent journalists as guest moderators,” said a spokesperson in a statement to Current. “The first guest moderators will be colleagues from the PBS NewsHour, Yamiche Alcindor and Amna Nawaz, brilliant and respected journalists whom Washington Week viewers have come to know and love.”

Costa, who is also a national political reporter for The Washington Post, joined the program in 2017 to succeed Gwen Ifill.

Gunjan Kedia was elected to the PBS board of directors Dec. 10.


Kedia is vice chair for the U.S. Bank’s wealth management and investment services and is also a member of the U.S. Bank managing committee, its most senior leadership group.

Kedia will take Erroll Davis’ seat on the board. Davis, whose term ended, is president of the African American Heritage House at Chautauqua. He has also been the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, chancellor for the University System of Georgia and chairman for the Alliant Energy Corporation.

Charles Beck, VP of radio and television content for Maine Public, will retire next month.


Beck joined the station in 1980 as a part-time classical music host and intern reporter for Maine Things Considered. He has also helped develop music programs and worked as a host and producer for Bed & Breakfast, which became the station’s local Morning Edition broadcast.

“I feel both grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to play a role over all these years in helping make this valued public service available for the people of Maine,” Beck said in a news release.

TPT in St. Paul, Minn., hired two executives for newly created positions, effective Jan. 4.


Amina Jaafar was named chief inclusion officer.

Jaafar most recently worked as assistant VP in the office for equity and diversity at the University of Minnesota. She first joined the university in 2002 as a researcher, left in 2008 to work as a self-employed diversity consultant and trainer, then returned in 2013.

“I am thrilled to be joining TPT as the inaugural Chief Inclusion Officer,” Jaafar said in a news release. “Like many industries, public media is navigating how to grow and evolve to meet shifting demographics, expectations and needs. As an educator and parent, I have seen the positive impact of TPT’s programming on diverse communities within and beyond Minnesota. I am honored to join the team to further advance diversity, equity and inclusion across the organization.”


Lynn Farmer will join as VP of marketing. She most recently worked as assistant VP of marketing and communications for Hamline University. Farmer joined the university in 2016. She previously worked as a CEO and CMO for Milwaukee Black Business, a director at Target and an assistant buyer and manager for Neiman Marcus. She is also a principal consultant for Farmer Consulting.



Jill Jackson, news director for KUOW in Seattle, is leaving her position to become a principal for Monument Advocacy, a communications firm that specializes in government relations and public policy. Jackson, who will be based in Seattle, starts the new job Dec. 30. Before joining KUOW in 2017, Jackson held several roles with CBS News, including senior producer for Face the Nation.

Mark Shields left his role as a Friday night analyst for PBS NewsHour. He will remain as a senior contributor. Shields has appeared on the program since 1987. He has also been a columnist for The Washington Post; a moderator and panelist on CNN’s Capital Gang; and a panelist on Inside Washington, a public affairs show that aired on PBS stations. Shields’ successor on NewsHour has not been announced.


Laura McCallum, an editor for TPT in St. Paul, Minn, is leaving the station to become a politics and government editor for the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis. McCallum joined TPT this year to work on Next Avenue, a content vertical geared towards older Americans. She previously held several editorial roles for MPR News and Prairie Public Radio in Fargo, N.D.

Mariano Avila was hired as a bilingual reporter and producer for Milwaukee PBS. His first day will be Jan. 11. Avila comes to the station after working for WGVU in Grand Rapids, Mich. He has also been an editor and producer for the Washington Hispanic and an editor for El Vocero Hispano.


Kenny Cooper joined WHYY in Philadelphia as a suburban reporter last month. Before joining the station, Cooper covered state politics as a fellow for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. He also participated in the 2020 Politico Journalism Institute.

Kam Chronicles was hired as an on-air personality for The Vibe, an Urban Alternative digital station and web stream programmed by KTSU in Houston. She will work on the morning show hosted by Rob G The General. Chronicles previously worked as a host for The Core 94 and as a guest for The Box 97.9FM and The Beat 93.7FM.



Lynn Casper was hired as a communications coordinator for the Association of Independents in Radio. Casper is the founder of Podcastivist, a consulting firm, and produces Homoground, a podcast about LGBTQ and allied musicians. She has also been a social media strategist and a freelance web designer and writer.

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