NPR Executive Producer Dies of Cancer

NPR’s Teshima Walker, Executive Producer of “Tell Me More,” died this morning after battling colon cancer for two years. She was 44. According to an announcement from NPR earlier today, she is survived by her husband, writer Jimi Izrael, her parents, William and Vonceal Walker and her sister, Eureva Walker.

Some history

Since 2011, Walker was the executive producer for NPR’s midday news program “Tell Me More,” hosted by Michel Martin. Walker was part of the public radio family for more than a decade. She first joined the afternoon newsmagazine “All Things Considered” as a journalism fellow in 2000. Later she spent three years as a producer for “The Tavis Smiley Show,” and then worked for “News and Notes.” In 2007, Walker became senior supervising producer of “Tell Me More,” where she remained for the next six years in a variety of capacities. A Chicago native, Walker first came to NPR by way of WBEZ, where she was a senior producer for morning newsmagazine “Eight Forty-Eight.”

Thoughts from her coworkers

As explained in the release, Walker’s NPR colleagues knew her as a “Southside Chicago girl to the core,” with an infectious laugh, and as someone who put herself aside for everyone.

Ellen McDonnell, exec. editor for NPR News Programming: “Teshima was a terrific journalist who worked tirelessly to bring new and diverse voices to air. She was a phenomenal advocate for the show, the staff and the audience. Tell Me More – and everyone who was lucky enough to work with Teshima – thrived under her leadership.” 

Michelle Martin: “Teshima made us all want to dig a little deeper, think harder, and be better. She was everything you could want in a manager and friend: kind and open-hearted when you needed her to be, and tough, but fair, when you needed her to be. While I already miss her amazing laugh and her incredible off-key rendition of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, I know I am better for having heard them both. We are all very grateful for the time we had with her, and thank her husband, parents and sister for sharing these precious last days with us.”

Educational background

Walker graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville with a degree in Communications. She was a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She earned her Masters of Public Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology.