Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NPR is coming! NPR is coming!

Russell Lewis, the NPR Southern Bureau Chief, is visiting WMRA today. And it's not just because we're a fun bunch of people to visit (which we are--at least to the extent that we all enjoy each other's company, at least). It's because of the canny way that NPR does the news business.

There are five (I think) regional bureaus in the country, each with a bureau chief. The bureau chief's job is to be the go-between between the stations' news departments and NPR national news. When reporters anywhere in the South are working on news stories they think have national interest, they send Russell a note. If he agrees that a story translates well to a broader audience, then he becomes that story's hands-on editor for national broadcast.

I, personally, have never done a story with Russell. I've been reporting on books and publishing so long, I've been grand-mothered into a direct report to an arts and culture editor on the national desk. But I've found Russell to be extraordinarily efficient, accessible and pleasant to deal with. I have never, ever sent him a note to which I haven't gotten a prompt response. Which I, frankly, find amazing.

From my perspective, Russell Lewis is very, very good at his job, in that he makes any reporter who works for an NPR station feel an active part of NPR central. Which means that you, as a listener, get to hear about everything from the South that's worth hearing about.

Welcome, Russell!


  1. How interesting! Neat to hear about how local NPR people interact at the national level . . .

  2. Martha, your blogs are very informative and well written. They help make WMRA an important
    asset to our region. Keep up the good work.