NPR said Wednesday that Juana Summers would be the newest co-anchor of “All Things Considered,” its flagship news magazine, replacing Audie Cornish, the longtime co-anchor who left this year to start a show for the service. short CNN+ broadcast. .
Ms. Summers, a veteran political correspondent whose touring career has taken her to new media outlets like Mashable and traditional news organizations like The Associated Press, will start June 27.
“Juana has it all: she is a top-level journalist with an enviable track record; she is a natural leader who connects people and makes them feel heard, and she has a flair for creative storytelling that is second to none,” said Nancy Barnes, senior vice president of news for NPR.
Ms. Summers, 33, takes over after several high-profile departures from the public radio network. Ms. Cornish said in January that she would be leaving NPR to host a weekly show for CNN+, a streaming service that CNN’s new owners shut down shortly after it started. Lulu Garcia-Navarro, co-host of “Weekend Edition,” left in November to host a podcast for The New York Times. And Noel King, co-host of “Morning Edition,” has left to join Vox Media to host “Today, Explained,” a daily podcast.
Many of the anchors who have left NPR in recent months come from racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in US newsrooms. Ari Shapiro, co-host of “All Things Considered,” tweeted that the network was “bleeding hosts from marginalized backgrounds,” referring reporters to Isabel Lara, the network’s head of communications, for comment. Ms. Lara said that the presenters who were hired to replace those who left are from underrepresented backgrounds and have extensive experience in public radio.
Ms. Summers, who is black, said she believes NPR has a good track record in promoting journalists from underrepresented backgrounds, pointing to Ms. Cornish’s decade-long stint as host of “All Things Considered” and her own career at NPR, where he has risen through the ranks. But she said every company in America, including NPR, has more work to do on that front.
“I always think that more can be done to recruit, retain and cultivate women, people of color and people from marginalized communities,” said Ms. Summers. “That’s the work we all have to do every day.”
In recent years, NPR has repackaged popular shows like “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” into digital formats like podcasts. Ms. Barnes said those efforts, along with the network’s push to diversify her staff, are part of an effort to become relevant to changing American audiences.
“You can’t do that without having a diverse staff that really represents all of America,” Ms. Barnes said. “In addition, we know that the audiences of the future are on new and different platforms. And if we want to reach younger and more diverse audiences, we have to be there with them.”
In an interview, Ms. Summers said she hopes to explore topics not typically associated with NPR, where politics and international coverage are a mainstay.
“I think sports stories are cultural stories,” Ms. Summers said. “They are business stories, they are stories of empowerment and competition.”
Growing NPR’s audience is also a business priority for the public radio network. During the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic, NPR was at risk of laying off staff when sponsors canceled their network slots, said John Lansing, NPR’s executive director.
Since then, sponsorship income has returned, Lansing said, and NPR was able to navigate the pandemic without cutting staff.
“We made it through that year, as difficult as it was, and finished the year with no losses,” Mr. Lansing said.