Code Switch Podcast: Meet The Team : Code Switch Meet the team behind Code Switch, NPR's race, ethnicity and culture podcast.

About The Code Switch Team

We're a multiracial, multigenerational group of journalists who explore how race affects every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, food and everything in between.

Meet the familia:

Gene Demby
Jessica Chou/Jessica Chou

Gene Demby

Gene Demby is the co-host of Code Switch, covering issues of race, ethnicity, and identity. As a founding host alongside Shereen Marisol Meraji, Gene has been a member of the Code Switch team from the very beginning (before it was a podcast!), originally serving as lead blogger where he won The Online News Association Award for Commentary in 2014. Seven years later, with Gene still at the helm, Code Switch was named Apple's first ever 'Podcast of The Year' in 2020.

Gene began his career as an assistant at the New York Times before helping launch HuffPost's Black Voices as managing editor. He went on to found the award-winning politics and culture blog PostBourgie before joining NPR in 2012. Gene is a native of South Philadelphia and an avid runner. He hopes to stay healthy long enough to see his beloved Sixers win an NBA championship.

You can read Gene's stories here, and follow him on X at @geedee215.

B.A. Parker, photographed for NPR, 9 September 2022, in New York, NY. Photo by Brandon Watson for NPR.
Brandon Watson /Brandon Watson

B.A. Parker

B.A. Parker is a co-host of NPR's Code Switch. She joined the team in July of 2022 and has expertly covered racial trauma in horror films, honoring her ancestors, and the myth behind self-care.

Prior to joining Code Switch, she was co-host and lead producer at The Cut podcast with New York Magazine. During her time there, she interviewed Anita Hill, March for Our Lives students, and himbos at SantaCon.

In a previous life, Parker was a film professor at Morgan State University and Stevenson University, where she forced 19-year-olds to watch Point Break and Wong Kar-wai films. She then found her way to a production fellowship with This American Life, which she still can't believe happened. She has also been a guest host of NPR's It's Been a Minute and has produced for NPR's Invisibilia, Gimlet's Heavyweight and WNYC's Nancy. In 2019, she was selected for the Third Coast Radio Residency at Ragdale.

Parker hails from Baltimore, and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. You can hear some of her ramblings here, and follow her @aparkusfarce on IG and X.

Lori Lizarraga, photographed for NPR, 25 January 2023, in Washington DC. Photo by Mike Morgan for NPR.
Mike Morgan/Mike Morgan

Lori Lizarraga

Lori Lizarraga is the co-host of Code Switch. Before public radio, Lori's career was in television. Her work as a local news reporter and evening anchor took her to newsrooms in Texas, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and abroad on international assignment in Ecuador to become an Emmy and Murrow award-winning broadcast reporter. She left local TV news in 2021 to pursue race and justice reporting full time as an independent journalist. Her investigative reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic uncovered discrimination in local news that resulted in new standards of immigration coverage at newsrooms across the country.

In 2022, Lori became co-host of Code Switch at NPR, bringing her background in breaking news and a reputation for covering under-reported communities – particularly Latinos in the U.S. – to public radio.

When she isn't working, Lori is most likely: on her way to Texas to see her nephew/bff, on FaceTime, on the last page of another murder mystery, on her second bag of gummy worms, or somewhere in Philly listening to a podcast.

You can listen to Lori's work here, and follow her on social media at @lorilizarraga.

Dalia Mortada

Dalia Mortada is the managing editor and showrunner of Code Switch. She's a (racially ambiguous) child of Syrian immigrants who's lived on three continents and has spent her life straddling cultures, languages, and lived experiences.

Before joining the Code Switch massive in 2022, she developed editorial strategy for NPR's listening app, edited for NPR's Morning Edition and spent many (literally) sleepless nights editing Up First. She joined NPR in 2018 after living in Istanbul, Turkey, for seven years, where she reported on the Syrian war and refugee crisis, Turkish politics and society, food, fashion, music and more. In her life beyond work, you'll likely find Dalia outside (usually in the mountains) and/or cooking.

Leah Donnella

Leah Donnella is Code Switch's senior editor and the voice of the Code Switch newsletter. (Fun fact — she started out on the team as an intern.) Before joining NPR, Leah worked with Public Media Commons at WHYY in Philadelphia, teaching high school students the basics of journalism and film-making. As an undergraduate at Pomona College, she edited the Africana Studies newsletter. But Leah really got her journalism start in high school, where she penned the wildly popular (satirical) advice column, "Ask Leezul."

You can read Leah's stories here, and follow her on X at @AskLeezul.

Christina Cala headshot
Elissa Nadworny/NPR

Christina Cala

Christina Cala is Code Switch's senior producer. She's a proud Colombiana who strives to put more languages, more accents, and more ways of telling stories in ears everywhere. There's a special spot in her heart for stories about immigrant and indigenous communities, social and climate justice, and all things poetic or musical.

Before coming to Code Switch, she produced and sometimes edited the TED Radio Hour and All Things Considered. Her reporting on the US-Mexican border was part of a 2019 Edward R. Murrow award-winning package. She's an inaugural Edit Mode fellow and a co-founder of NPR's MGIPOC mentorship program. In 2021, she ran Code Switch's reporting fellowships. When not working, she can be found backpacking, taking all too many pictures, reading a novel a week or making pottery.

You can listen to Christina's stories here.

Jess
Deveney Williams/NPR

Jess Kung

Jess Kung is an associate producer on Code Switch. They started at Code Switch as an intern, and before that, interned for the podcast The Document from KCRW in Santa Monica. They are a graduate of Long Beach State University.

You can find Jess's stories here.

Xavier Lopez

Xavier Lopez is a producer on Code Switch. He came to NPR from CNN Audio, where he helped produce shows such as Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and the inaugural season of Tug of War. Prior to that, Lopez worked at NPR member station WHYY in Philadelphia, where he worked on shows such as The Pulse, Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane and the daily news podcast, The Why. Xavier is a graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, (but don't hold that against him.)

Before working in journalism, Xavier worked in the non-profit world in Queens, NY, where he was raised and currently resides. He is a fan of the beach, long walks, sad music, cats, and raccoons.

You can follow him on X at @xalopez.

Photograph of Veralyn Williams, courtesy of Jorge Gomez.
Courtesy of Jorge Gomez

Veralyn Williams

Veralyn Williams (she/her) is the executive producer of Code Switch and It's Been a Minute. She's Peabody and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist who has been asking hard questions about our world since she picked up her first microphone in 2004.

Previously, Veralyn was the senior editor at LWC Studios, where she developed and launched The Oprah Winfrey Network original podcast, Trials To Triumphs. She was also Executive Producer for WNYC's United States of Anxiety, and has worked to launch and shape shows like Slate Represent, Family Ghosts, Radio Rookies and The Stakes.


Want to pitch us? Here's how. And if you're wondering what it means to "code-switch," you'll probably find this helpful.