'If NPR Doesn't See This as a Crisis, I Don't Know...'

Host Audie Cornish is leaving, and Ari Shapiro is worried about exodus of 'marginalized' hosts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2022 11:42 AM CST
As One Host Leaves, Another Sees a 'Crisis' at NPR
In this 2015 photo, NPR's Audie Cornish, right, interviews Christian McBride.   (Paul Morigi/AP Images for NPR)

(Newser) – Another name familiar to NPR listeners is leaving, and a colleague suggests a "crisis" is brewing at the outlet. Audie Cornish, the co-host of All Things Considered, announced on Twitter that she is joining the pandemic's "Great Resignation" and is "ready to stretch my wings and try something new." The 42-year-old did not provide specifics beyond "new journalism projects," and she had only positive things to say about NPR in her tweets and in a memo to staffers. "I have never considered the host chair a tenured position and there is still much to learn," she wrote in the memo, reports the Hill. However, co-host Ari Shapiro struck a different tone in his tweeted homage to Cornish.

"This one stings," he wrote. Shapiro implored NPR to investigate why it's "hemorrhaging hosts from marginalized backgrounds," adding, "If NPR doesn’t see this as a crisis, I don’t know what it’ll take." Cornish's departure—her last day is Friday—comes on the heels of Lulu Garcia-Navarro leaving in October after 17 years. Noel King and Joshua Johnson are among those who left before her. As Fox News notes, Garcia-Navarro hinted at workplace issues after she left. "People leave jobs for other opportunities if they are unhappy with the opportunities they have and the way they have been treated," she wrote. "I'm sad to see this happening but it is not unexpected."

A statement from NPR execs Sarah Gilbert and Nancy Barnes praised the "incisive" voice of Cornish, who first joined the outlet in 2005, per the Boston Globe. “Whether in the field reporting on natural disasters, following presidential candidates and historic moments in our democracy, or landing illuminating high-profile interviews, Audie has brought listeners a rich array of topics, voices, and perspectives from across the spectrum of American life," says the statement. She has co-hosted All Things Considered since 2012. (Read more NPR stories.)

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