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New hires on the National Desk

<strong>Ravenna Koenig & Sergio Martínez-Beltrán</strong>
Courtesy of Ravenna Koenig//Renee Dominguez/KUT
Ravenna Koenig & Sergio Martínez-Beltrán

In a note to newsroom staff, Ammad Omar, Chief National Editor, Catherine Laidlaw, Deputy National Desk Editor, and Russell Lewis, Deputy National Editor, made the following announcement:

Dear All, 

We are thrilled to announce two key hires on the National Desk. 

Ravenna Koenig has been named the new Western Bureau Chief, taking the lead on coordinating, collaborating, and editing with member stations on the West Coast of the United States for the National Desk. 

Ravenna is an NPR veteran, having worked on various shows and desks across the network including the Culture Desk, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. She's filled many roles: editing, producing, directing, and reporting. 

After several years at NPR, she joined KTOO and the public media collaborative Alaska's Energy Desk, where she worked as an energy and environment reporter, focusing in large part on Arctic climate change. Based in Fairbanks, she made frequent trips to Alaska's northernmost town of Utqiaġvik, which serves as a hub for international Arctic research, plays a critical role in oil politics and, like many Alaska villages, is on the front lines of climate change. Subsequently, she spent 40 days on a ship in the central Arctic Ocean, covering one of the largest polar research expeditions in history. 

As an editor, she co-led NPR's coverage of the 2023 Hollywood writers' strike, and was the lead editor for the Maui wildfires, coordinating a team of producers and reporters on the ground in the immediate wake of the disaster. She's also worked with member stations to advance NPR's reporting on critical issues in the West like the removal of the dams on the Klamath River and the evolution of Oregon's drug decriminalization law. 

In her free time, Ravenna loves creative nonfiction, hockey, and mending her clothes. 

She's based in Seattle.

Also, Sergio Martínez-Beltrán has been hired as NPR's newest immigration correspondent. 

Sergio has been a frequent contributor to NPR's news magazines for years.   Most recently, he was at The Texas Newsroom, where he covered politics and the Texas state government.   He reported on the historic expulsion of a member of the Texas House and the historic impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton.  

In 2023, Sergio was part of NPR's first ever bilingual broadcast of the State of the Union. 

Prior to moving to Austin, he worked for the nonprofit news outlet Bridge Michigan, where he reported extensively on the state's inaugural redistricting commission, campaign finance and state government. His work has also appeared on the San Antonio Express-News, BBC, El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), Nashville Public Radio, and Standard-Examiner (Utah).

He has won multiple accolades, including a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.

Sergio is from Carolina, Puerto Rico and a proud graduate of Michigan State University.

He calls Austin, Texas his home base. 

Please join us in welcoming Sergio and Ravenna!

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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.
Catherine Laidlaw
Catherine Laidlaw is the deputy chief of NPR's National Desk. Based in Washington, D.C., she oversees the desk's daily and long-term news-gathering operations for audio and digital platforms, working with journalists in bureaus across the U.S. The desk also works closely with hundreds of journalists across NPR's nationwide network of Member stations.
Russell Lewis
As NPR's Southern Bureau chief, Russell Lewis covers issues and people of the Southeast for NPR — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. His work brings context and dimension to issues ranging from immigration, transportation, and oil and gas drilling for NPR listeners across the nation and around the world.