Comings and goings: Neal Carruth leaves NPR for Freakonomics Radio, Ben Calhoun exits ‘This American Life’ for ‘The Daily’ …

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Neal Carruth is leaving NPR to become EVP and GM for Freakonomics Radio.


In his current position as senior director of on-demand news programming, Carruth helped create the daily news podcast Up First and oversaw shows like The Indicator from Planet Money, Short Wave, Pop Culture Happy Hour and the NPR Politics Podcast. He also helped create NPR’s Enterprise Storytelling Unit.

Carruth joined NPR in 1999 as an intern on the Culture Desk. He also worked as an editorial assistant for Weekend Edition Sunday, supervising senior producer for All Things Considered, supervising editor for the Elections Unit and supervising senior editor for the Business Desk.

“It’s been a tough decision to leave @NPR, which is a wonderful place to work, filled with brilliant and principled people. But it’s good to try new things. And it’s also important for leaders to create room so that others can grow and lead,” Carruth said on Twitter.

Ben Calhoun of This American Life is leaving to become EP of The Daily, produced by The New York Times.


Calhoun, an editor, first joined This American Life in 2010 and has also been a producer, reporter and hiring manager. He previously held several positions at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, including VP of content and programming. Calhoun starts the new job May 31.

“What’s unusual about Ben is that in addition to his first-rate radio editing chops, he’s a great manager. Way better than most,” said Ira Glass, host and EP for This American Life in the Times’ news release. “In our show and in his years running WBEZ, the people under him felt supported and heard, and they grew under his empathetic and thoughtful approach. Great editors are rare, but great editor/managers even rarer. I bite my lip at his departure but, of course, wish Ben the best in his new job.”

South Carolina’s ETV promoted staffers to lead digital and radio operations.

Moody and Birch

Tyora Moody stepped up from digital services manager to director of digital. Moody has worked for the station for more than 20 years in roles that include web developer and web producer for digital education projects.

Sean Birch became director of sister network South Carolina Public Radio, overseeing all content and programming. Birch joined the state network in 2017 and most recently directed programming and operations. He previously worked as a producer for WJCT in Jacksonville, Fla.


Lopez and Bustillo

NPR’s Washington Desk hired two reporters. Ashley Lopez will cover elections and will be based in Austin, Texas. Lopez most recently worked as a senior reporter of health care and politics for KUT in Austin. Lopez joined the station in 2016. She previously reported for Louisville Public Media, WGCU Public Media in Fort Myers, Fla., and WLRN in Miami. Ximena Bustillo is joining NPR as a general assignment reporter. Bustillo most recently worked as a food and agriculture policy reporter for Politico. She joined Politico full-time in 2020 as an intern after participating in the Politico Journalism Institute. She was also a breaking news reporter for the Idaho Statesman.


Mark Norris became the director of digital content for Houston Public Media. Norris previously worked as digital director for KDFW-TV, a Fox affiliate in Dallas. He was also managing editor for Major League Soccer club FC Dallas and was a metro reporter for the Dallas Morning News.


Grace Birnstengel will become a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio. Birnstengel joined the station last year as an associate digital producer. She previously worked as an editor for Next Avenue, a content initiative led by TPT in St. Paul, Minn.


Cara Chapman was hired as a reporter for North Country Public Radio in Canton, N.Y. On Twitter, Chapman said she’ll cover the Plattsburgh and Champlain Valley areas. Chapman previously worked as a reporter for the Press-Republican in Plattsburgh, where she covered crime, politics and education.



Rosemary Miller became senior director of early learning for the Public Media Group of Southern California. Miller will report to COO Jamie Myers. Miller previously worked as a curriculum specialist for Age of Learning and was also a consultant for PBS SoCal/KCET and Stanford University. She has also been a teacher for several schools in California.

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