Priska Neely Chosen To Lead Gulf States Newsroom, A New Model Of Regional News Collaboration

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Priska Neely
Nicole Neely

Award-winning public radio journalist Priska Neely will lead the Gulf States Newsroom, a joint regional news collaboration between NPR and member stations in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Neely will be based in Birmingham, Alabama, at WBHM, and will work closely with Gulf States Newsroom partner stations WWNO in New Orleans, WRKF in Baton Rouge and Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson, along with NPR.

As managing editor, Neely will build a team of regional beat reporters who cover health care, criminal justice, economic justice and more. Through the Gulf States Newsroom, the stations and NPR are sharing resources, planning together and delivering more reporting in areas with widening gaps in local news coverage. Made possible with lead support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Heather and Paul Haaga Jr., the collaboration aims to better serve the existing public media audience while also making a multi-platform push to reach new, diverse groups throughout the Gulf region.

“It is an honor to have the responsibility to build a team and shape coverage in a part of the country with so many important stories to tell,” Neely said. 

Neely comes to the Gulf States Newsroom with a rich mix of local and national experience. Most recently, she reported and produced long-form narrative stories with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Before that, Neely was a senior reporter at member station KPCC in Pasadena, California. Her reporting on Black infant and maternal health won several awards. She also spent time working on NPR’s weekend edition of “All Things Considered” and “Talk of the Nation” shows.

Neely was recently a fellow in the Editorial Integrity and Leadership Initiative, a partnership between the CPB and Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism. 

“Priska’s journalism chops and collaborative style are well-known and respected throughout the public media community,” said Chuck Holmes, executive director at WBHM in Birmingham, the lead station for the regional newsroom. Paul Maassen, general manager at WWNO and WRKF, added that, through Neely’s “dynamic vision and keen news sense, our stations will greatly increase our ability to cover the important issues and tell the unique stories of our region.”

Ronnie Agnew, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, praised Neely’s ability to “search for truth, demand accountability, and develop engaging and compelling content across multiple platforms.” 

“NPR is delighted to be a partner in this groundbreaking initiative and excited that Priska has agreed to lead it,” said Nancy Barnes, NPR’s SVP of News and editorial director. “She is part of a super-talented cohort of emerging editorial leaders who are going to transform public media for a new generation of audiences.”

This regional newsroom is one of four that NPR and member stations have built together, in the Gulf States, Texas, California and the Midwest. 

About Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Mississippi Public Broadcasting provides relevant instructional and public affairs programming to Mississippians through its statewide television and radio network. MPB enhances the work of educators, students, parents and learners of all ages by providing informative programming and educational resources. MPB’s locally produced programming focuses on the people, resources and attractions that reflect Mississippi’s unique culture and diverse heritage. Children’s television programs constitute a major portion of the daytime and weekend morning schedules. MPB provides a valuable resource to Mississippians in disseminating information as part of the state’s emergency preparedness and response system. Since 1970, MPB has won over 350 national, regional and statewide awards, including Emmy®, Edward R. Murrow and Parents’ Choice® Awards.

About WWNO

WWNO, New Orleans Public Radio, is the listener-supported NPR radio station serving New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana on 89.9 FM, with 24-hour classical music on Classical 104.9 FM and WWNO HD2. WWNO has partnered with WRKF Baton Rouge to build a joint news team that will provide stronger independent news reporting for both New Orleans and Baton Rouge audiences.

About WRKF

WRKF 89.3 FM is Baton Rouge’s independent community nonprofit NPR radio station, broadcasting since 1980. The station’s strong coverage of Louisiana politics, coupled with NPR news and cultural entertainment, make WRKF a media leader in metro Baton Rouge.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, and subscribe for other updates.

About NPR

NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it’s easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll be tuned into your local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.