After losing two key staffers to voluntary departures, NPR is turning to VP for diversity Keith Woods to serve as interim chief of the network’s team called Code Switch, for covering issues on race and identity.
Code Switch was led by supervising senior producer Alicia Montgomery, but she left NPR in mid-September and is now local/regional news director for WAMU in Washington, D.C.
Also in September, Code Switch senior digital editor Tasneem Raja announced she was moving to Texas for personal reasons. The losses created a major void at Code Switch and temporarily at least, it’s Wood’s job to hold it together.
NPR describes Code Switch as “a team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting.”
In a statement, Woods said: “I can’t think of a more exciting beat to be on as we look to the presidential election and beyond.”
Woods had moved away from editorial work after serving 1978 to 1994 at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans as a sportswriter, news reporter, city editor, editorial writer, and columnist, according to his NPR bio. Before joining NPR in 2010, he worked 15 years at the Poynter Institute journalism school, including the last five as dean of the faculty.
NPR has not said when it will hire a permanent replacement to lead Code Switch. NPR is also expected to hire replacements for Montgomery and Raja.