NPR Hires a New Head of Diversity

Just in case any of you missed this big announcement at NPR this week. It's hired Keith Woods from the Poynter Institute to help improve the diversity issues I wrote about in October.

Poynter Dean Says He's Confident Network Can Change
Keith Woods, one of the foremost trainers and educators in journalism diversity and the No. 2 administrator at the Poynter Institute, the school for professional journalists, was named Monday to be vice president of diversity in news and operations at National Public Radio, a new position.

Although the NPR culture has been cited for more than 20 years as an impediment to diversity there, Woods, 51, told Journal-isms he believes he can succeed because "the leadership of NPR has changed and there is a critical mass of leadership both new and longstanding that wants to see NPR succeed at this.

"And I'm adding myself to that mix," said Woods, Poynter's dean of faculty and a veteran journalist who spent 16 years at the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "I can't tell you how juiced I am about this."

This from Current.org, which covers public media:

NPR diversity consultant to sign on as v.p.
Keith Woods, a Poynter Institute dean who was consulting with NPR on newsroom diversity, will join the network as vice president, diversity in news and operations, in February. The position, a newly created senior management role, will lead development and implementation of strategies for diversity within NPR and public radio as a whole.

Newsroom diversity—as well as NPR's commitment to training, hiring and retaining journalists of color—have come under criticism this year as NPR laid off staff, canceled its African-American oriented show News and Notes, and fired one of its few black newsroom managers. "We are extremely fortunate to have found a leader who offers a combination of strong journalistic credentials, diversity expertise and a passion for teaching," said NPR President Vivian Schiller, in a news release.

Woods has taught writing and reporting on race relations, ethics and diversity at the Poynter Institute for professional journalists for 15 years; he also writes on race and media and consults with news organizations and journalism schools. Previously, he reported for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Details on how Woods' consulting assignment turned into a full-time job here.
posted at 3:24 PM EST Dec 15, 2009

YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO READ THIS PIECE by Eric Deggans. I have known Keith Woods for over a decade, and I feel assured that Keith will be a postive influence at NPR in terms of diversifying the staff and sources used in reporting. This is a very positive step for NPR. —ACS

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