Comings and goings: Lulu Garcia-Navarro joins New York Times, NPR names chief culture editor …

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Lulu Garcia-Navarro will host a podcast for the Opinion Audio team at The New York Times.


The podcast “will explore the personal side of opinion — how we come to believe what we do, and what happens when our beliefs get tested,” said Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury and Director of Audio Paula Szuchman in a news release. “Imagine a guest essay, but for the ears.”

Earlier this month, Garcia-Navarro announced that she was leaving her positions as host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and co-host of its morning news podcast Up First.

On Twitter, Garcia-Navarro said she is “thrilled to open up a new chapter doing what I love: telling real stories about people and how they move in the world and why they think the way they do.”

“At a time when there is so much distrust over where people’s opinions come from, this new show will explore the place where lived experience and opinion intersect,” she added. “I think we are better and can connect more when we understand why people hold the views they do.”

NPR added an editor and promoted another.


Nick Charles was named chief culture editor. Charles succeeds Beth Donovan, senior director of NPR programming and acting chief culture editor. He will be based in New York but will also work out of the Washington, D.C., and NPR West offices, according to a staff memo from VP and Executive Editor Edith Chapin. His first day with NPR is Oct. 25.

Charles most recently worked as an editor and spokesperson for the Save Journalism Project and as managing director of Word in Black, a collaboration of 10 Black-owned publishers. He has also held management and journalism positions for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Essence, BET, AOL Black Voices and People.


Shirley Henry was promoted to deputy managing editor for recruitment and development. She starts the role Nov. 8.

Henry, who joined NPR in 2014, most recently worked as chief Washington editor. Krishnadev Calamur will become acting chief Washington editor, and Arnie Seipel will be acting deputy chief Washington editor while the organization searches for a successor. In addition, editor Muthoni Muturi will assume more leadership of the NPR Politics Podcast.

“In this new position Shirley will be a key partner in helping us recruit new and diverse talent at all levels of the newsroom,” Chapin wrote. “Equally important will be our work together to develop careers within the newsroom with an eye to finding growth opportunities for staff in preparation for the next job.”

Christine Paige Diers was named executive director of the Public Media Journalists Association.

Paige Diers

Paige Diers previously worked as interim executive director, succeeding Terry Gildea. She joined PMJA, then Public Radio News Directors Inc., in 1997 as a part-time employee and became full-time business manager in 2018.

She helped create the PMJA Editor Corps, a program that pairs public media editors with stations that have faced increased workloads. Paige Diers has also helped develop training sessions.

“I’m thrilled to be taking on this new role with PMJA and am really looking forward to continuing with all of our members and partners to improve the public media system,” said Paige Diers.

Will Pedigo was hired as a VP, chief content and engagement officer for WMHT in Troy, N.Y. 


Pedigo succeeds Joseph Tovares, who left the station this year to develop a podcast with Texas Public Radio and Sonoro Global Media. Pedigo previously held several roles for Nashville Public Television, including EP, producer, director and editor.

Pedigo starts the position full-time Friday.

“Will brings a deep background in community engagement and extensive experience in production and filmmaking as WMHT continues to tell the myriad of stories in our region,” said WMHT CEO Robert Altman in a news release.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee announced four new weekend hosts.

The hosts are Chris Alexander, Element Everest-Blanks, Anthony Foster and Doris Wessels.

Alexander is a scholar advisor for All-In Milwaukee, a nonprofit helping students graduate college. He has also been a program coordinator for the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Everest-Blanks is a benefits adjudicator for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. She is also a former member of Black Elephant, a hip-hop group.

Foster, a realtor for Frost Realty, has been a producer and bassist.

Wessels joined 88Nine Radio Milwaukee in 2011 as traffic manager and currently works as underwriting sales manager.

Alexander, Everest-Blanks, Foster and Wessels

“We are incredibly excited to bring these four unique voices to our airwaves!” said PD Dori Zori in a news release. “Each new DJ adds another layer of musical perspective to our programming team that will enrich the music we share with Milwaukee.”



Allison Otu became executive director of marketing and communications, a new position, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Arizona PBS in Phoenix. Otu starts the job Nov. 1. She most recently worked at the University of Arizona as executive director, corporate and community relations, and has also been media relations and public information officer for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Ken Kriegel was hired as assistant director of communications for WGCU Public Media in Fort Myers, Fla. Kriegel most recently worked as digital creative arts and marketing manager for Mobile Software Solutions Group.



Desmond Winton-Finklea was hired as digital editor for WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Winton-Finklea most recently worked for commercial TV stations in Dayton. “Desmond is a great local news talent,” said Jason Saul, news and programming director, in a news release. “We are excited to introduce him to the world of public radio.”

Chelsea Merz left her role as EP of Boston Public Radio at GBH. Her new position at the station has not been announced.

Trecia Pannell became digital news editor for WOSU Public Media in Columbus, Ohio. Pannell most recently worked as communications coordinator for the Ohio Environmental Council. She has also been a media production fellow for The Ohio Channel and the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.


DJ Ray Velasquez will host Nocturnal Transmission, a rebooted electronic music program on 90.9 The Bridge, a sister station to Kansas City PBS. The program returns to the air Oct. 8. The program originally ran from 1983–2003 on KJHK, the University of Kansas student station.

Send news of “comings and goings” to [email protected]

Correction: An earlier version of this column incorrectly said that Chelsea Merz had left GBH in Boston. She left her role at Boston Public Radio but remains at GBH.

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