NPR Creates New Senior Management Role Focused On Diversity

Keith Woods.jpgNational Public Radio is increasing its focus on diversity with the addition of a new senior manager role.

Keith Woods, the dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute, has been named as the first vice president in charge of Diversity in News and Operations for the nonprofit organization. In his new role, Woods, a former consultant to NPR, will “lead the development of NPR’s vision and strategy for diversity, and will play a central role in its implementation across the NPR newsroom, throughout the organization and in the public radio community as a whole,” NPR said. He will join NPR full-time in February.

Woods, a journalism veteran who has served on two Pulitzer Prize juries, will work with NPR’s CEO Vivian Schiller to help broaden the radio network’s content in order to reach a more diverse audience. He will also provide coaching and training throughout the organization and its member stations to help deal with issues of “content, recruiting and workplace environment strategies,” the company said.

Full release after the jump

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(Photo by Kenny Irby)



December 14, 2009; Washington, D.C. — NPR has appointed Keith Woods, dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute, as its Vice President, Diversity in News and Operations, it was announced today. In this newly created senior management role, Woods will lead the development of NPR’s vision and strategy for diversity, and will play a central role in its implementation across the NPR newsroom, throughout the organization and in the public radio community as a whole. Woods has been consulting with NPR for the past several months, and will join the NPR staff full-time in February 2010.

“Keith’s career has been distinguished by a common thread: to make journalists better reporters and the nation better informed as a result,” said Vivian Schiller, NPR President & CEO. “We are extremely fortunate to have found a leader who offers a combination of strong journalistic credentials, diversity expertise and a passion for teaching. Keith will be a critical resource not only for the NPR newsroom but for our colleagues at NPR stations nationwide.”

“NPR is one of the most credible news sources in the world, and aspires to be an organization that tells the fullest story of the country and world. The work of diversity is about helping the organization do just that,” said Woods. “As journalism struggles, NPR’s voice becomes more important. And, in turn, being that voice for all people in the country takes on even greater significance.”

Woods will report directly to CEO Vivian Schiller, and will work very closely with senior news management, a first for a diversity head at NPR, offering leadership and support to broaden NPR’s coverage and reach a more diverse audience. Woods will also serve as a training and advising resource not only for NPR, but also for NPR member stations across the country on issues of content, recruiting and workplace environment strategies. He will offer coaching and training.

Woods comes to NPR after 15 years at the Poynter Institute — the nation’s leading training center for professional journalists — the last five as its dean of faculty. He has taught writing and reporting on race relations, ethics and diversity at Poynter, and was previously the Institute’s director of diversity. Woods regularly writes on race and media and is the co-author of The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity (Columbia University Press, 2006). Woods has consulted with most of the leading U.S. news organizations, and worked with faculty at journalism schools across the country to better incorporate diversity in their teaching. He has also served as chairman of two Pulitzer Prize juries. Before joining Poynter, Woods spent 16 years at The Times-Picayune as a sportswriter, news reporter, city editor, editorial writer and columnist. Woods’ complete bio is available online.

NPR is an award-winning, multimedia news organization and an influential force in American life. In collaboration with more than 880 independent public radio stations nationwide, NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.