NPR’s Ellen McDonnell, executive editor for news programming, will retire after almost 35 years

By Ben Mook

Ellen McDonnell. Credit: Doby Photography/NPR.

McDonnell. Doby Photography/NPR.

NPR’s news division is seeing the exit of another longtime executive with today’s announcement that Executive Editor for News Programming Ellen McDonnell will retire. McDonnell oversees NPR news programs including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

She started at NPR in 1979 and worked for nine years as executive producer of Morning Edition.

“Ellen is as much a part of NPR’s DNA as she is a presence in our daily lives,” NPR’s Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson wrote in a memo quoted on the network’s breaking news blog. “She has touched and transformed nearly every aspect of NPR News, her creativity and zeal surpassed only by her generosity of spirit. When you describe Ellen the words you hear over and over are transparent and authentic. She is the real deal.”

Margaret Low Smith, former senior v.p. for news, left in August after taking the position of president of The Atlantic’s live events division.

According to Wilson, McDonnell will probably stay on until the end of the year.

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