NPR’s information leader proclaims surprising departure after 4 years

The highest information govt at NPR introduced Friday that she is leaving the group, an surprising departure that coincides with a shake-up within the nonprofit media large’s control construction.

Nancy Barnes, who took over NPR’s newsroom in 2018 as senior vice chairman and editorial director of the broadcasting and virtual information operation, mentioned she’s going to go away the group later this autumn. She didn’t announce new plans, however mentioned in a notice to team of workers on Friday that she’s going to “pursue different journalistic endeavors.”

Her determination got here hours after NPR’s leader govt, John Lansing, introduced the advent of a brand new place that can oversee all of NPR’s programming — trademark information systems similar to “All Issues Thought to be” in addition to podcasts and non-news programming similar to “Wait Wait … Don’t Inform Me.” The brand new leader content material officer place would have successfully created every other tier of control over Barnes, who in the past reported at once to Lansing.

Barnes and Lansing didn’t reply to requests for remark.

A very popular newspaper editor on the Houston Chronicle and Minneapolis Big name Tribune, Barnes took over NPR’s newsgathering operations from an meantime supervisor following the resignation of Michael Oreskes in 2017 amid a couple of allegations of sexual harassment.

NPR mentioned it will behavior a seek for Barnes’s successor, who will transform the fourth particular person to run NPR’s information operations up to now 5 years.

She leaves at a time of rising monetary drive on NPR, a nonprofit group this is funded by way of basically by way of charges from noncommercial radio stations and company sponsorships.

For fiscal yr 2021, NPR had revenue-after-expenses of $16.9 million — a swing from a deficit of $14.1 million the yr ahead of. Officers have indicated that the group was once hit exhausting by way of the pandemic, with day by day listening and company toughen falling as fewer folks listened to information stories whilst operating from house. At one level in mid-2020, NPR imposed unpaid, week-long furloughs on maximum of its newsroom staff.

Lansing introduced the brand new leader content material officer place in a team of workers memo Friday morning. Barnes introduced her resignation that afternoon.

She wrote in an inner memo that there’s “increasingly more overlap between the scoop and [non-news] programming divisions” and that she supported Lansing’s determination so as to add a brand new leader content material officer. She known as her departure “bittersweet.”

NPR’s information department these days employs 481 folks. The programming department employs an extra 183.

Barnes supervised NPR’s protection of the 2020 presidential election, the pandemic, social unrest following the homicide of George Floyd and the Russian army invasion of Ukraine. She additionally created a local weather table, a disinformation staff and a breaking information investigations staff. She mentioned she would stay at the task in the course of the 2022 midterm elections.

NPR gained its first Pulitzer Prize beneath Barnes final yr, in audio reporting, for an investigative podcast collection known as “No Compromise” about gun rights activists. A 2d NPR-produced collection, “Throughline: Soleimani’s Iran,” concerning the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, was once a finalist for a Pulitzer final yr.

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