NPR Announces New Roles for Hosts

NPR announces new appointments for three of its news magazine hosts: Michele Norris returns from a leave of absence to take on an expanded new role as a host and special correspondent; she returns to the air full-time in February. Audie Cornish will stay on as co-host of All Things Considered; and Rachel Martin anchors Weekend Edition Sunday. She will stay on as the host of Weekend Edition Sunday, where she’s been filling in while Cornish has been with All Things Considered. Cornish and Martin have been interim hosts of their respective programs.

See further details and the internal memo from NPR’s Senior VP of News…

As host and special correspondent, Norris will…

  • produce in-depth profiles, interviews and series
  • regularly guest host NPR News programs. One of her focuses will be “The Race Card Project,” an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America that Norris began after her 2010 family memoir The Grace of Silence. More than 14,000 people from all over the world have participated, sharing their experiences and thoughts about race in just six words.
  • continue the popular “Backseat Book Club” on All Things Considered, inviting young listeners to read and discuss new books with one another and often the authors.
  • Norris returns to the air full-time in February after a sabbatical spent developing “The Race Card Project.”

Cornish, who has been on assignment with All Things Considered since January 2012, will remain the show’s co-host. Together with hosts Robert Siegel and Melissa Block, she will…

  • continue to bring a distinctive range of interviews, ideas and interests to the signature afternoon newsmagazine. Cornish has been a host and reporter for NPR since 2006.

Martin previously covered military and intelligence issues as a National Security Correspondent. She was…

  • part of the team that launched NPR’s experimental morning show, The Bryant Park Project
  • an NPR international correspondent based in Berlin
  • a reporter who covered religion for the network.
  • a White House correspondent for ABC News.

From: Margaret Low Smith
Date: January 3, 2013, 10:10:02 AM EST
To: News-All Staff
Subject: newsroom news

Dear All,

I have some significant host news to announce. After the inauguration, Michele Norris will be returning to NPR in a new role as a Host/Special Correspondent, producing signature profiles of leaders in politics, pop culture, business and other fields. While on sabbatical, Michele has spent a good deal of time traveling the country and developing two successful initiatives: The Race Card Project and NPR’s Backseat Book Club.  Her new role will allow her to continue this work while producing in-depth segments for all NPR programs.

Michele created The Race Card Project to foster a wider conversation about race after her 2010 family memoir, The Grace of Silence, was published.  Michele asked people to share their thoughts about race in just six words. More than 14,000 people from all over the globe submitted their thoughts, observations, fears, hopes and experiences about race.  Those six word stories are a rich archive of views about a complex subject. They also represent a meaningful opportunity for Michele to share her distinctive style of storytelling with NPR listeners on this important topic. To that end, I’ve asked Michele to develop features around The Race Card Project on and related segments for broadcast, in addition to producing in-depth profile segments on newsmakers. Michele will continue to develop The Back Seat Book Club feature aimed at cultivating NPR’s youngest listenership and she will do a variety of live events and roundtable discussions to help NPR increase its visibil!
ity. Michele will also lend her unique hosting style as a guest host on NPR news programs.

Michele spent nearly ten years hosting All Things Considered and was a powerful addition to the show. She brings a unique interviewing style that combines both warmth and grit when talking to world leaders, Nobel Laureates, Oscar winners and American presidents.  Her keen ear and sharp instincts led to many memorable segments with everyday people including Katrina survivors, comedians, working parents, school principals and survivors of war. We’re looking forward to hearing Michele’s work in this next chapter.