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Michael Oreskes talks new role as NPR's VP of News

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Michael Oreskes says he admires NPR's reportorial muscle and that the network's greatest strength could be found in its ability to tell stories that listeners find compelling, accessible and absorbing.

Michael Oreskes had been serving as the senior managing editor of the Associated Press. He talks to Alex Cohen about his move to radio.

NPR announced Thursday that it has named a new senior vice president of news and editorial director.

Michael Oreskes had been serving as the senior managing editor of the Associated Press. He talks with Take Two's Alex Cohen about his move to radio.


On what about the position appealed to him:

"It's different, and of course that itself is appealing, but it's also a world in which whatever platform you start from, whether you start in newspapers, or you  start in radio, or you start on television, we're all heading to the same place and it's all about the same challenge, which is to create and protect great journalism in an age when it's really hard to hold people's attention. I think one of the gifts of public radio is its incredibly loyal and incredibly strong following, and one of its great talents is an extraordinary ability to tell great stories. And if we can marshal that, and combine it with really brilliant reporting and just fantastic journalism, I think there's a great opportunity to grow and continue to expand the footprint of public radio journalism around the country. And that -- I think -- is a really important mission, not only for all of us as journalists,  but for society."

On improving diversity at NPR:

"This is a huge challenge, and it isn't just NPR's challenge. This is a challenge the entire news industry -- newspapers, radio, television broadcasts -- all of us are facing this problem. We simply have not been able to find the people of color that we ought to have to represent the communities that we cover. And that's a real problem, and it's been a problem for some time now, and I'm sad to say it's gotten worse. The recession did a lot of damage to a lot of newsrooms and unfortunately we lost more people of color  than we lost total numbers. I served a couple of years ago with Milton Coleman who was the deputy managing editor of the Washington Post on a commission that looked at this issue of diversity, and it was quite sobering and upsetting because we really are going in the wrong direction. So yes, NPR has a challenge, and so does the whole news industry. I think we have to look at this all together, and we have to look at some creative approaches because the old approaches simply aren't working."  

On NPR being more than just radio:

"We're in a world now where whatever platform you start on, whether you start on-air with the spoken word, or whether you start with print with the written word, or whether you start on television with the visual presentation, you end up having to present yourself across all of these platforms. It doesn't mean you give up your core. NPR will always, at heart, be about the spoken word. That's the core talent of NPR, that's the core skill of public radio."

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