NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly will become a co-host of All Things Considered, the organization announced Monday, about six weeks after she confronted NPR’s president for his handling of sexual harassment allegations in a nationally broadcast interview.
Kelly, previously a national security reporter, will succeed Robert Siegel, who co-hosted NPR’s flagship afternoon program for 30 years.
Her Nov. 1 back-and-forth with NPR CEO and President Jarl Mohn came just hours after the organization’s top editor, Michael Oreskes, resigned in the wake of sexual harassment accusations by several women. While The Washington Post broke that initial story, NPR’s subsequent reporting on its leadership’s lethargic response has been pointed to as an example for other outlets seeking to hold themselves accountable.
Without veering from classical NPR understatement, Kelly’s interview with Mohn captured the sense of disappointment, if not betrayal, of many journalists whose bosses have shied away from responsibility for toxic workplace culture. Remember as you read this transcript: the man she was interviewing was not her immediate supervisor, but the head of her entire organization:
MOHN: We felt very strongly that we needed to - and there had been rumors circulating around the building here about his behavior - rumors and gossip. We can’t act on that. We have to act on facts. I put out an email. I put out a memo, a statement asking for anyone that has experienced or witnessed any of this behavior to please come forward. We laid out a whole array of ways that they could contact us. There must have been seven or eight ways in. Over that two-week period of time, we got no complaints. No one stepped forward. Unfortunately, it took the published reports to have something surface.
KELLY: But when you say it took published reports for this to surface, we’re a news organization.
KELLY: There’s a few hundred reporters out there. Why are we getting scooped by The Washington Post on this?
MOHN: Why are we - are you - you’re talking about The New York Times story? When we, you know...
KELLY: I’m talking about The Washington Post story quoting two New York Times woman. And I’ll add to that. I learned that Mike Oreskes had resigned when I checked my phone in the line in the NPR canteen today. And the way I learned about it was via an AP news alert - Associated Press. Why did they know and we didn’t?
MOHN: Well, because that’s not from us. We did not release it. We had a clear timeline of how we were going to release this information. While we were in our meeting planning how we were going to release that information, the AP got the story. I suspect Mike released his statement to the AP. It was not from us.
KELLY: You said you can’t act on rumors and gossip. But were you concerned that these accusations were creating a toxic environment in the newsroom?
MOHN: Absolutely, of course. As bad as...
KELLY: Should that not prompt action then?
All Things Considered is one of the most widely listened-to radio programs in the country. Kelly will join current co-hosts Ari Shapiro and Audie Cornish in the recording booth on Jan. 17.