Comings and goings: GBH creates accessibility role, new Vermont network makes first hire …

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Donna Danielewski was promoted to executive director of accessibility for GBH in Boston.


As part of the appointment to the newly created position, Danielewski will partner with Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates, GBH’s incoming chief inclusion and equity officer.

“GBH invented closed captioning in 1972 and has been pioneering accessible technologies for more than four decades,” said GBH CEO Jon Abbott in a news release. “Disability access is a core element of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we look forward to furthering our efforts through Donna’s experience and expertise.”

Danielewski most recently worked as senior director for the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media. She joined the center, operated by GBH, in 2008.

Fran Tobin was hired as VP of people and culture for Vermont Public Radio/Vermont PBS, which will merge this year.


Tobin previously worked as director of people and culture for Lake Champlain Chocolates. She has also been director of human resources for American Flatbread and director of administration for the Vermont Family Network. She also held several positions at Trinity College in Vermont.

“Fran is the perfect person to be the first hire of the combined organization,” said VPR CEO Scott Finn, who will lead the new organization. “We are committed to serving new and diverse audiences, and Fran brings deep commitment and experience to equity and inclusion.”


Emily Cooper is leaving her role as director of brand and partnership marketing for PBS.

Cooper will become VP of brand and marketing for Great Courses, a virtual education company. She joined PBS in 2019 and led the creation and implementation strategy for the PBS rebrand, according to a staff memo from Amy Wigler, VP of marketing.

“Thanks to Emily, we are now at almost 84% brand recognition and 75% adoption,” Wigler wrote. “She will be greatly missed (except not so much by me, because I intend on bugging her on the regular. Feel free to do the same.) Please join me in wishing Emily well.”

In the memo, Wigler also announced several other personnel changes.

Taryn Stewart was named director of audience engagement. Stewart joined PBS in 2008 as an associate web video producer. She was also homepage and newsletter editor and, most recently, senior manager for PBS Digital.

Andrea Iezzi, manager of brand strategy, was promoted to senior manager of brand strategy. Iezzi joined PBS in 2017 as a digital coordinator and has also been grant manager of brand strategy.

And Emily Berkley was named manager of multiplatform creative. She previously worked as a contractor for PBS and was a motion graphic designer for National Geographic.

The Poynter Institute announced the first of three classes selected for its seventh annual Leadership Academy for Women in Media.

Thirty participants were selected for the program, which will gather for virtual sessions May 2–7. The 10 public media employees selected are:

  • Yasmeen Alamiri, senior news editor for PBS NewsHour
  • Kari Anderson, director of programming for Vermont Public Radio
  • Tayla Burney, senior manager of programming and production for NPR
  • Lisa Creamer, digital managing editor for WBUR in Boston
  • Natalie Delgadillo, DCist interim managing editor at WAMU in Washington, D.C.
  • Anika Houston, director of social and audience engagement for Marketplace
  • Erika Janik, EP and director of podcasts for New Hampshire Public Radio
  • Ashley Lisenby, senior producer/editor for WAMU in Washington, D.C.
  • Maribel Lopez, managing director for TPT’s Rewire in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Sara McCloskey, newscast editor and internship coordinator for VPM in Richmond, Va.

The institute noted that “40% of the total [2021] applicants were journalists of color with 65% of all applicants hailing from outside major media centers.” One of the instructors for the program is Joanne Griffith, the managing editor for public radio’s California Newsroom.

The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education selected 44 fellows for Maynard 200, the third cohort of its flagship fellowship.

The five public media employees selected are: 

  • Sarah Mizes-Tan, race and equity reporter for CapRadio in Sacramento, Calif.
  • Jeneé Darden, reporter and podcast host for KALW in San Francisco
  • Tripp J. Crouse, news director for KNBA in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Samantha Guzman, executive editor of Decibel for Austin PBS in Texas
  • Ross Terrell, managing editor for KUER in Salt Lake City

Fellows will receive executive leadership, media entrepreneurship and storytelling training. Aaron Glantz, senior investigations editor for public radio’s California Newsroom, will lead the storytelling training course, according to Evelyn Hsu, co-executive director of the Maynard Institute.


Jared Blass was promoted to SVP of underwriting and corporate support for Public Broadcasting Atlanta. Blass, who most recently worked as VP of underwriting, joined PBA in 2008 as director of underwriting and corporate support.



Tom Gjelten will retire from his role as a religion correspondent for NPR. Gjelten joined the organization in 1982 as a labor and education reporter. He later worked as a foreign correspondent, first in Latin America and later in Central Europe. He has also covered U.S. diplomacy and military affairs. In an outgoing interview for All Things Considered, Gjelten said covering religion made him “more attentive” and “respectful” of people with different beliefs.


Andrea Hsu was promoted to labor and workplace correspondent for NPR, a newly created position. Her first day in the new role will be May 10, according to a newsroom memo by Chief Business Editor Pallavi Gogoi. Hsu joined NPR in 2002 and has recently worked as senior producer for All Things Considered.

Matt Martinez announced that he is leaving his role as director of content for KNKX in Tacoma, Wash., to become a senior producer for the On Being Project, the nonprofit media organization that produces the public radio show On Being. His last day with the station will be Friday. Martinez previously held several roles for NPR between 2000–15, including senior producer of programming.


Mechelle Hankerson was promoted to news director for WHRO Public Media in Norfolk, Va. Hankerson joined the station in 2019 as a reporter. She previously worked as a reporter for the Virginia Mercury, the Virginian-Pilot and the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Mechelle in this new role. She is through, dynamic and continues to bring innovation to our newsroom,” said CCO Heather Mazzoni in a news release.

Lee V. Gaines announced that she is leaving her position as an education reporter for Illinois Public Media in Urbana to become an investigative reporter for WFYI in Indianapolis. Gaines will work on a new team that will cover inequities in Indiana’s education system. “This is a dream job, and a bittersweet departure,” Gaines said on Twitter.


Juliana Kim was hired as an education reporter for WPLN in Nashville, Tenn. Her first day is May 3. Kim most recently worked as a reporting fellow for the New York Times. She has also been an emerging reporter for ProPublica and an intern for the Baltimore Sun. “I admire WPLN’s commitment to telling stories that are nuanced, contextualized and people-centered,” Kim said in a news release. “With that, I am excited to expand the station’s coverage of students from underrepresented backgrounds, including recent immigrants, low-income students and pupils from rural areas.”


Patricia Cervini was hired as executive director for Eastern Region Public Media. She succeeds Georgette Bronfman, who retired last year. Cervini most recently worked as senior manager of sponsorship sales for PBS. She also held several roles for NPR between 1999–2014, including senior manager of member and business partnerships. “It’s an honor and a privilege to work for such an important organization like ERPM whose roots pre-date NPR,” Cervini said in a news release. “Nothing could be more crucial than cultivating the next group of public media leaders and CEOs to advance the mission of public broadcasting and strengthening the industry as a whole. I look forward to growing the organization and am excited to be back engaging with stations and helping them succeed.”



Josie V. Williams was awarded a Nonso Christian Ugbode Digital Media Fellowship from Black Public Media. The fellowship provides a mentor and up to $5,000 for people who are producing their first independent digital media project. Williams founded and is lead data scientist for Algorithmic Equity, a database of law enforcement behavior as reported by New Yorkers. She is currently on the Creative Science track at NEW INC, an incubator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

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