Kenya Young becomes Managing Editor for Collaborative Journalism

In a notice to the newsroom, Senior Vice President of News and Editor-in-Chief Nancy Barnes announced this staff update:

I’m thrilled to hear that Kenya Young, the pre-eminent executive producer of Morning Edition, has been promoted to Managing Editor for Collaborative Journalism, effective June 1st.

Kenya became the lead candidate for this position after an extensive external and internal search. She will fill the executive position vacant by Chris Turpin and will be responsible for helping me liaise with broadcaster newsrooms, expanding and supporting our collaborative journalism efforts in a variety of ways, and working with development and membership relationships. Occasionally she will also lead daily news operations and stand up for Terence Samuel and / or Gerry Holmes.

It became increasingly clear to me that collaboration across the NPR network is critical to our mutual success and a force multiplier in delivering world-class journalism across the country. In the past few months we’ve seen what these partnerships can do. To take just a few examples, Georgia Public Broadcasting did so much to our coverage during election season, the Texas Newsroom was invaluable in our coverage of the infrastructure outages there, and the new Gulf States Newsroom (and others) teamed up with us about an effective vaccine access investigation. We want to build on all of these achievements and follow the groundbreaking work of Bruce Auster, Edith Chapin, Chris Turpin, Kathy Goldgeier and Tamar Charney, who have kindly taken on this role over the past few months.

Kenya has done an exceptional job of running the Morning Edition over the past few years and is thriving despite the most demanding news cycle we have ever seen and the rolling production crisis caused by the pandemic. Her excellent leadership skills have helped her talented and dedicated team get ahead in the worst of times with consistently excellent shows, impressive journalism and marquis interviews. We know she’s very much missed in the Morning Edition, but she’s more than ready to take on a broader mandate across the newsroom.

Kenya has served several roles during its NPR tenure, which illustrates its natural leadership qualities along the way. Prior to directing Morning Edition, Kenya was WATC executive producer, a senior editor, show editor, producer and director. Previously, she also worked at Marketplace, KCSN, and KOST103.5 FM in California.

While we could immediately put Kenya in this new role, we also recognize the importance of having a smooth transition for the Morning Edition team that is currently hiring a new host and we need to look for Kenya’s replacements as well. Kenya, Sarah Gilbert and I are determined to lead your team through this transition as seamlessly as possible. We plan to search for Kenya’s successor immediately, although we will all agree that she will be difficult to follow.

In the meantime, join me in congratulating Kenya Young.


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