Add 'News and Notes'

Along with the changes made by NPR at "News and Notes" reported here yesterday, Nicole Childers becomes Executive Producer and the show takes on more of a multimedia flavor. Memo after the jump.


Farai Chideya Named Host, Nicole Childers Named Executive Producer;
New Elements to Bring Online Experience into the Radio Broadcast

Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, CA; September 12, 2006 NPR is initiating a series of changes to the daily news and information program News & Notes aimed at incorporating the online experience into the radio show, adding audience participation in shaping the program and creating a community uniting the radio listeners and Internet users.

As part of these plans, News & Notes host/correspondent Farai Chideya has been named host, replacing Ed Gordon. Chideya is a well-known broadcast and digital media journalist, longtime public radio show host and founder of an online journal for young Americans which attracts more than 50,000 visitors monthly.

Additionally, Nicole Childers has been named Executive Producer of the program. Childers joined News & Notes in July 2005 as Senior Supervising Producer and, most recently, has served as Acting Executive Producer. The Emmy-winning journalist came to NPR from ABC News, where she had been a producer.

The new elements of News & Notes will reflect the mounting importance of the Internet in how the public seeks news and information, Chideya's proven experience in unifying traditional and new media and NPR's current efforts to extend its presence in digital platforms. The show will feature significant contributions from its online community to identify issues of interest, spot trends, share discoveries, participate in shaping the program and join in News & Notes' dialogue with newsmakers. The show's existing roster of respected experts will contribute regular segments on a wide range of issues relevant to the African American audience. The audience will also be invited to post personal essays on the website, with some essayists featured on the broadcast.

The online community will also be utilized to help introduce the public to a daily show currently in development with award-winning broadcast journalist Michel Martin. The upcoming program will join News & Notes as part of NPR's broader commitment to diversity in public radio programming. Martin will contribute to the site in a variety of ways, including writing a blog about her show's progress, to be titled "Under Construction." Both News & Notes and Martin's show are produced by NPR in association with the African American Public Radio Consortium, representing 22 independent public radio stations that serve predominantly black communities.

"News & Notes is a vital part of NPR's public service mission," said Jay Kernis, Senior Vice President for Programming, NPR. "We believe these changes, made in collaboration with our partners in the Consortium, better serve the role of public radio and the interests of the audience seeking information in both the broadcast and online spaces. We thank Ed for his contribution to the program and wish him success with his new television program."

Added Loretta Rucker, Executive Director of the Consortium, "The Consortium is delighted with this new role for Farai, who is talented, creative and fearless as a broadcaster. She brings an adventurous spirit and authenticity that audiences crave and appreciate. Nicole has already proven herself to be a tremendous asset with the show, offering clear leadership to the dedicated staff and a talent for finding and communicating the heartbeat of stories. The Consortium is looking forward to News & Notes' fresh and exciting new dynamic, and we know these two powerful journalists will play significant roles in that process."

Chideya has worked in print, television online and radio. Before joining News & Notes in February 2005, she was host of Your Call, a daily news and cultural call-in show on NPR Member station KALW in San Francisco. She has also been a correspondent for ABC News; commentator for CNN, Fox, MSNBC and BET, and anchor of the Oxygen cable network primetime program Pure Oxygen. Chideya began her career as a reporter for Newsweek and, in 1997, was chosen one of the magazine's "100 People to Watch." She is the author of three books and has written for such publications as the New York Times, Vibe, O and Essence. For her extensive involvement in digital media, she was named one of Alternet's "New Media Heroes" and's worldwide "25 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics," and is recipient of a MOBE IT Innovator Award. Other honors include a North Star News Prize from the North Star Fund, recognizing journalists of color who have made significant contributions to the field; a "Young Lion" from the Black Entertainment & Telecommunications Association (BETA), a GLAAD Award and a National Education Reporting Award. Chideya graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a B.A. in English.

Before joining News & Notes and NPR in July 2005, Childers spent six years in broadcast and digital journalism at ABC News. There, she worked with Diane Sawyer on the newsmagazine Primetime Live, and then was named Associate Producer for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. She covered such major stories as 9/11, the Iraq war and the death of Pope John Paul II. She was also producer for the launch of ABC News' digital channel, ABC News Now. Childers has been honored with two Emmys as well as Peabody, DuPont-Columbia and Edward R. Murrow Awards. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Afro-American Studies.

News & Notes made its premiere in January 2005 and is produced at NPR West studios in Los Angeles. It currently airs on 86 stations and has an audience of 875,000 weekly listeners.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Radio stories on LA Observed:
Warren Olney leaving KCRW's radio lineup
5 things: Double politics, fake quake news, bike lane rage
KPCC ends 'Off-Ramp' and gives host John Rabe new role
What would Ray Bradbury say?
LA Times editor gets all serious: 'How could truth become so devalued?'
Hugh Hewitt joins WashPost oped columnists
KPCC's 'Take Two' is now minus one
KCRW investigates LA restaurant worker abuse


LA Observed on Twitter