Comings and goings: Former Vermont Public CEO joins Center for Community News, NPR announces changes on National Desk …

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Scott Finn, former CEO of joint licensee Vermont Public, joined the Center for Community News at the University of Vermont.

Finn

In his new role as manager of public media-university collaborations, Finn will help public media stations work with student-created journalism outlets at colleges and universities, according to a news release. “Scott’s background as a teacher, reporter, organizer and public radio leader make him a perfect fit for our team,” said CCN Managing Director Meg Little Reilly. “Public media and universities are natural partners and we are excited about the potential impact of these efforts to revive local news and information in communities across the U.S.”

Finn announced last year that he was stepping down from Vermont Public. He first worked as president and CEO of Vermont Public Radio in 2018 and became leader of Vermont Public after it merged with Vermont PBS in 2021.

Finn is now organizing a series of webinars with the University Station Alliance. The webinars will “make the case for a deeper partnership between public media and universities — and help leaders of both organizations understand how to grow these partnerships,” according to the release.

“With more than 180 university-licensed stations across the country, there is tremendous potential to increase collaboration between college reporting programs and public media,” Finn said. “The benefits to the stations, the students and their communities could be huge.”

NPR announced hires and promotions on its National Desk.

Lewis

Russell Lewis was promoted to deputy national editor. Lewis started working for NPR as Southern bureau chief in 2006 and remained in that role for 15 years until he was promoted to supervising editor in 2021.

Alfredo Carbajal joined NPR as supervising editor for the National Desk and will be lead editor for immigration coverage. Carbajal most recently worked as managing editor of Al Día, a Spanish-language publication operated by the Dallas Morning News. He will relocate from Dallas in a few months to California and will work out of NPR West, according to a newsroom memo.

The memo also noted that Gigi Douban became a supervising editor after leaving her role as news director for KUOW in Seattle. She will continue to live in Seattle.

Jeff Luchsinger, director of radio system investments for CPB, is retiring.

Luchsinger joined CPB in 2006. Before that, he worked for KERA in Dallas from 1986–2006, holding positions including VP and radio station manager.

According to a spokesperson, CPB is seeking his successor in the role of director of radio grants, a new position.

Charles Compton left his position as director of news and public affairs content development, radio operations and programming for WSKG in Binghamton, N.Y.

Compton

Compton told Current in an email that his retirement is for “for a social security funded sabbatical,” adding, “It’s not quite a retirement, but I don’t know if I’ll do public radio again. I feel there is not much else I can offer WSKG, and it’s time to come home to Cincinnati.

“In my near future, I’ll relocate to Salt Lick, Kentucky and [launch] an online station, just to keep my hand in it. After a good break, I hope to try something else…maybe drive a golf cart in the lair of a super villain.”

Compton has worked for WSKG since 2014. He previously worked as radio news director for WEKU in Richmond, N.Y. He started his career in public radio in 1978 when he worked for WVXU in Cincinnati.

Content

Olson

Emily Olson announced on LinkedIn that she left her position as a live blog editor for NPR to become a live blog editor for the Associated Press. Olson joined the network in 2022.

Kevin Cole will retire from his full-time DJ role for KEXP in Seattle July 26. Cole, who hosts a daily afternoon program for the station, previously worked as senior director of programming and CCO since joining the organization in 1998. “I love music and DJing as much as ever. At the same time I also feel that after two decades of being on-air full time, it’s time to step aside and make space for different voices and perspectives,” Cole said in an announcement on the station’s website. “I look forward to hosting a weekly show on KEXP, developing some new show concepts, and continuing to work behind the scenes to help make KEXP the very best music discovery resource it can be.”

Treece

Nathan Treece joined Little Rock Public Radio in Arkansas as a Morning Edition host and reporter. Treece most recently worked as public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, where he worked with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. He has also been a producer for commercial television stations KARK/KLRT.

Hernandez-Simeonidis

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was hired as a digital producer on the arts and culture desk for WBEZ in Chicago. Hernandez-Simeonidis most recently worked as a social media manager for Usra Live and was also an email and podcast assistant for Harper’s. She held several roles at NPR in 2021 and 2022, including Ask Me Another intern and production assistant for NPR Music and Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!

Sheila Rue announced on Facebook that she is leaving her position as PD of Classical WSMR/WUSF in Tampa, Fla. Rue joined the organization in 2009 after working as PD for Classical KUSC in Los Angeles. “After nearly 40 years as a PD, and now 15 years here at WSMR + WUSF working with people I truly love and admire … I’m off to new adventures at the end of February,” she wrote. “This is an exciting step for me and I am so grateful for my time here. So so very grateful … Public radio rocks!”

Governance

Joachim

America’s Public Television Stations announced the election of board leaders and members. Franz Joachim, GM and CEO of New Mexico PBS, was reelected chair. Dolores Fernandez Alonso, president and CEO of South Florida PBS in Miami, was reelected professional vice chair. David Steward II, past board chair of Nine PBS in St. Louis, was reelected lay vice chair. The newly elected trusses are: Clarence Copeland, president and CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting; Diana Enzi, lay trustee for Wyoming PBS; and Susan Reardon, lay trustee for PBS SoCal in Los Angeles. The reelected trustees are: Eric Easter, lay trustee for WHUT in Washington, D.C.; Anthony Hayes, president and CEO of WMHT in Troy, N.Y.; and U.S. Ambassador Gaddi H. Vasquez, lay trustee and former board member of PBS SoCal in Los Angeles. The officers and trustees will begin their terms Feb. 27. Separately, Ajit Pai, former FCC chair and partner at Searchlight Capital Partners, will join the board of trustees as an at-large member effective Feb. 26.

Fellowships

Firelight Media announced the 2023–24 recipients of the William Greaves Research & Development Fund. The fund was established in 2020 to support mid-career documentary filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities in the U.S. and Latin America, with a particular emphasis on filmmakers of African descent and/or from Indigenous communities. Film projects receive $25,000 each to support research and development on a feature-length nonfiction film. The recipients and their projects are: 

  • Edward Buckles Jr., whose film Kinfolk focuses on the risk of New Orleans being completely underwater by 2050, all while gentrification affects a predominantly Black population.
  • Daryl Jones & Tim Tsai, who are leading an untitled project about how Black and Hispanic residents of California’s Central Valley are uniting “against a worsening environmental crisis and systemic racism.”
  • Kelly Daniela Norris, Teresa Pittman-Chavez and their film Biological Exuberance, which follows a sect of biologists and ecologists who track evidence of same-sex sexuality and transgender behavior as it exists in the natural world.
  • Chica Andrade, whose project House of Hilton delves into the life of Erika Hilton, a transgender woman who became a political icon in Brazil.
  • Juan Javier Pérez, whose film Migrant Dreams (w.t.) tells the story of Mariano, an indigenous Tzotzil Maya who seeks to migrate for a short while to the United States to earn the money necessary to fulfill a traditional role in his town — without knowing that the trip will change his life forever
  • S. Leo Chiang and Parachute Kids, a first-person essay film exploring Chiang’s experience as an unaccompanied minor who moved to the U.S. from Taiwan.
  • Amado Villafaña Chaparro, whose Colombian film Seyn Zare and the God Particle covers the indigenous Sierra Nevada people.
  • Genito Gomes and the Brazilian film Terra Kaiowá, the Speech of the Great, about the Indigenous Guarani and Kaiowá people who since the beginning of recorded history have lived on the land that today is called the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil, but due to the forces of modernization and colonization, they have experienced a long process of dispossession.
  • Shirley Bruno and the film Fresh/Saltwater Heart, “a visual meditation over a collection of BIPOC voices recounting stories of being in water — personal stories from seas, lakes, rivers, and swimming pools.” The film will incorporate animation, archival footage and live-action recreations of interviews.
  • Dinazar Urbina Mata, for the film The Town, which covers inhabitants of Tututepec, Mexico, and their traditions, festivals, food, dance and music.

Send news of “comings and goings” to people@current.org

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