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National Desk staffing update

In a note to newsroom staff, Chief National Editor Ammad Omar announced the following update:

Dear All,

We are thrilled to announce that Cheryl Corley has been hired as permanent Midwest Bureau Chief, effective immediately, after an internal search.

The Midwest Bureau Chief is an essential position, linking the NPR newsroom to hundreds of member station newsrooms across nine states in the region. In her time serving in an acting capacity, Cheryl has elevated the voices of countless member station reporters, bringing vital stories to a national audience.

Cheryl has been a reporter and correspondent for NPR for 28 years, covering all varieties of stories from her home base in Chicago.

Cheryl has also been a key collaborator as part of a NPR's criminal justice vertical—where she was able to delve into stories about juvenile justice, solitary confinement, and how women may change policing. She's also covered communities ravaged by violence, and those that have worked to regain their footing – whether it was after a shooting at a New York supermarket, in a South Carolina church or on the streets of Chicago or Minneapolis.

She's also been heard as a regular substitute host for All Things Considered Weekends, Morning Edition, Tell Me More and News and Notes. "I have been here a long time," she says.

Cheryl adds: "Now I will use that experience and expertise in my new role as Midwest Bureau Chief. It's a job I've held on an acting basis since last August --editing and cultivating new voices for NPR and working with seasoned NPR and member station reporters. So, if you've heard about a good Midwest story, know a reporter who needs to get on the national air—send them my way! Looking forward to working with them and making NPR sound better than ever."

Please join me in congratulating Cheryl. We couldn't be happier for what this means for our coverage of news across the Midwest, and the journalists who cover it daily from member stations across the region.

Additionally - Jason DeRose will be covering religion for NPR on a temporary assignment until the end of September. This is a grant funded position. He'll be reporting on the ways belief shapes American public life and the ways American life shapes religious expression.

Jason has long been NPR's Western Bureau Chief, editing news coverage from Member station reporters and freelancers in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii. He also edited coverage of religion and LGBTQ+ rights for the National Desk. Earlier, he was an editor on NPR's Business Desk and on the former NPR mid-day news magazine Day to Day.

Before coming to NPR in 2008, Jason had been a reporter and editor at Member stations in Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis and Tampa. His work has won numerous awards, including from the Religion News Association, the Religion Communicators Council, the Native American Journalists Association and NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists.

Outside of public radio, Jason worked as an oral history interviewer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, as a trainer at the International Center for Journalists and as a nursing home chaplain. He taught journalism ethics, radio reporting, multimedia storytelling and religion reporting at DePaul University in Chicago and at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

We're thrilled that Jason will be able to take on this assignment, and know he will handle it with aplomb.

In Jason's absence, Eric Westervelt will be serving as acting Western Bureau Chief until mid-June, at which point Ravenna Koenig will slide into the seat from her home base in Seattle, Washington. Both were selected after an internal search.

Eric is a long-time NPR correspondent based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For a decade as a foreign correspondent, Westervelt served as NPR reporter and bureau chief in Baghdad, Jerusalem, and Berlin. Closer to home, he's recently covered issues involving policing and mental health in San Francisco, and the pitfalls of extreme weather on the West Coast.

Before joining NPR, Westervelt worked as a reporter in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, reported for the broadcast edition of the Christian Science Monitor, Monitor Radio, and worked as a news director and reporter in New Hampshire for NHPR.

Ravenna Koenig is an NPR veteran, currently working on the Culture Desk. She's previously worked on various shows across the network, including Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. She's done it all - from editing, to producing, to directing, to reporting for shows across the network.

After several years at NPR, she joined Alaska's Energy Desk, working as an energy and environment reporter. She reported both from Fairbanks, as well as Alaska's northernmost town of Utqiaġvik, which serves as a hub for international Arctic research and is also on the front line of climate change. She's now in warmer if not drier climates, and we couldn't be happier to have her in the critical role.



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Ammad Omar
Ammad Omar is the Chief National Editor for NPR News. He oversees a desk of nearly 50 journalists, based in bureaus across the country. National Desk correspondents cover breaking news and a broad range of topics, including criminal justice, immigration, national security, housing, state government and sports, among many others. The desk also works closely with hundreds of journalists across NPR's Member station network nationwide.