Comings and goings: SVP leaving CPB for university role, deputy general counsel leaves NPR …

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Stephanie Aaronson, SVP of engagement for CPB, left the corporation Feb. 11.


Aaronson will be deputy VP of communications and mass media for George Mason University, where she received her bachelor’s degree, according to a university spokesperson. Aaronson joined CPB in 2012 as VP of education and community impact. During her tenure, she led the implementation and expansion of American Graduate and Veterans Coming Home.

Before CPB, she was a consultant for Animal Planet and senior director of communications and marketing for PBS. She has also worked in communications for the Hallmark Channel, A+E Networks and Discovery.

Michelle Shanahan, deputy general counsel and assistant secretary for NPR, is leaving the organization.


Shanahan’s departure was announced during an NPR board meeting Thursday. Shanahan joined NPR’s legal team in 1997 after working for Hogan & Hartson.

“After over 25 wonderful years at NPR and over 30 years of practicing law, I am leaving NPR at the end of February in order to have some more time to travel, spend time with family and friends, and pursue some personal interests,” Shanahan told Current. “… It has been a privilege and honor to work at NPR and to work with such amazing, talented colleagues.”

WBEZ in Chicago announced three hires.

Cassie Walker Burke became the station’s first external editor. As a member of the digital news team, she will work with freelancers to increase WBEZ’s coverage of culture, the arts, business, transportation and the environment. Walker Burke most recently worked as Chicago bureau chief for Chalkbeat. She has also been assistant managing editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and executive editor of Chicago magazine.

Mawa Iqbal joins as statehouse reporter. Iqbal will work from Springfield, Ill., as part of the Illinois Public Radio collaborative. She most recently worked at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, as a reporter covering policing and local government. She has also been a reporter for KBIA in Columbia, Mo.

Lynnea Domienik is joining the daily talk show Reset as a producer. She succeeds Jason Marck, who became a senior producer for the station’s Curious City. Domienik has been a freelance producer for Reset since last year and was a production intern for Curious City in 2020.



Terry Chi was hired as director of digital marketing for Vegas PBS. Chi most recently worked as corporate director of mobile and digital innovation for Caesars Entertainment. She has also been senior brand manager for LT Foods Americas.


Jason White was hired as a production manager for TPT in St. Paul, Minn. White previously worked as a video production manager for Wagner Spray Tech, a hardware company. He has also been producer for This Old House Ventures. “Public media has always been where my heart is at and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead!,” White said on LinkedIn.



Nicole Beemsterboer is leaving NPR’s longform documentary unit. Beemsterboer announced that she was hired as head of news and knowledge for Gimlet Media, which is owned by Spotify. She is supervising senior producer of NPR’s Enterprise Storytelling Unit, which oversees Embedded, Invisibilia, Rough Translation and more. Beemsterboer joined NPR as an intern in 2006 and has been a producer for Morning Edition and senior producer of investigations.


Hazel Cills became a full-time staff editor for NPR Music. Cills joined the organization last year as a temporary weekend editor. She previously worked as a pop culture reporter for Jezebel and a music journalist for MTV News.

Zach Thompson was hired as a copy editor for NPR. Thompson previously worked as an editor and producer for The Des Moines Register in Iowa. He has also been a designer for Gannett.


Author Meg Wolitzer was named host of Selected Shorts, a literature program and podcast produced by Symphony Space. Episodes hosted by Wolitzer episodes will begin airing on public radio stations next month.


Lily Burris joined WKMS in Murray, Ky., as a reporter. Burris will work a nine-month stint and focus on the local community’s recovery from a tornado late last year. Burris graduated from Western Kentucky University last year and has interned for Louisville Public Media. Her new position is funded by an emergency grant from CPB.


The Public Radio Association of Development Officers announced four new members joining its board of directors: Luis Estrada, on-air fundraising manager for KPBS in San Diego; Kristin LaPorte, director of development and marketing for WTMD in Baltimore; Caroline Lopez Spears, traffic coordinator for WBHM in Birmingham, Ala.; and Regina Yeager, development director for WUNC in Chapel Hill, N.C. In addition, Brian Flath, associate director of corporate support at WSIU in Carbondale, Ill., was elected vice president; Katie Swain, director of membership of Utah Public Radio, was elected secretary; and Sarah McDaniels, membership director at Northwest Public Broadcasting in Pullman, Wash., was elected treasurer. PRADO previously announced that Tom Labuzienski, development director for WVPE in Elkhart, Ind., was elected president, succeeding Kevin Donohue, president of KFD Media in Ellicott City, Md.

Jaitly and Reis

PRX announced two appointments to its board of directors. They are Rishi Jaitly, CEO of investment firm Times Bridge, and Kyle Reis, senior director of TechSoup. Jaitly previously worked as a VP for Twitter and head of public-private partnerships for Google and YouTube India. He was also a director of the Knight Foundation in Detroit. Reis is also treasurer for Ideo, a design firm, and board chair for his family foundation. Before that, he was manager of strategy and operation for the Ford Foundation.

Current’s Leigh Giangreco contributed reporting to this column.

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