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For immediate release
August 7, 2001
Gretchen Michael,
202-513-2313
gmichael@npr.org

Juan Williams To Become Senior Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC - Talk of the Nation® Host Juan Williams will become a senior correspondent for NPR News, providing commentary on politics and other subjects for the network. He will also work on documentaries and participate in NPR's efforts to explore television opportunities. Williams leaves Talk of the Nation at the end of this month to take up this new role.

"Juan wants to branch out in a different direction at NPR," said Bruce Drake, NPR's vice president for news and information. "He came to NPR with a wealth of experience in journalism, and now we want to draw on that experience, and his talents, for our news magazines. Juan made his mark at The Washington Post as a reporter with a keen eye, and he demonstrated his talents as an author with his powerful writing."

Talk of the Nation's audience has grown to an all-time high during Williams' tenure as host. The total number of listeners for TOTN's top stations has increased over the show's last three Arbitron surveys as has the average number of people listening to the program. In addition, the number of NPR member stations carrying the program also reached an all-time high under Williams.

Williams played a major role in NPR's coverage of the 2000 presidential election. NPR expanded Talk of the Nation's on-air hours throughout the additional weeks of the contest, including special Saturday broadcasts. Williams drew on his years of experience as a national political correspondent for The Washington Post to generate informed and intelligent discussion of the electoral crisis. This coverage helped produce a substantial jump in NPR's audiences last fall.

Another hallmark of Williams' work was the Changing Face of America project. Over the course of 18 months, Williams took the show around the country - from Goshen, Indiana, to Los Angeles. Williams anchored live town hall broadcasts in cooperation with NPR member stations that helped raise the visibility of the program.

"The high caliber guests and the informed people calling everyday made Talk of the Nation a joy to host," said Williams. "It has been an honor to sit in that seat and talk with the smartest audience in the radio universe. It was a thrill to be on the air as history was made during the presidential election. Now I look forward to bringing energy and insight to commentary and analysis for NPR."

Before coming to NPR, Williams had a 23-year career as an editorial writer, White House correspondent and op-ed columnist for The Washington Post. He is the author of a critically acclaimed biography of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. And he wrote the nonfiction best-seller Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965. Williams has won an Emmy Award for TV documentary writing and written articles for magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, GQ and Ebony. He is a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday and the host of the syndicated television show America's Black Forum.

Neal Conan will serve as acting host of Talk of the Nation starting in September. A permanent successor will be named shortly.