Media Moves

Poggioli retiring from NPR after 41 years

March 17, 2023

Posted by Chris Roush

Sylvia Poggioli

Didrik Schanche, international editor, and Edith Chapin, acting senior vice president of news at NPR, made the following announcement:

Imagining NPR without Sylvia Poggioli veers toward the impossible. But after 41 years, Sylvia says, “It’s time to hang up my headphones.”

She is the longest-serving reporter on the International Desk and an NPR icon. For many, her name is synonymous with NPR.

Sylvia’s wide-ranging, often hard-hitting and always rich storytelling helped NPR distinguish itself in its early years as a news organization with deep interest in the wider world. Her work helped build the foundation for what is today NPR’s award-winning International Desk.

Her lilting, Italian-accented signoff is widely recognized and beloved by listeners. And her star power excites world leaders.

In Belgrade in 2010, reporters were crowded around then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was in the Balkans urging dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. She was holding court at an off-the-record debrief in a hotel bar. Sylvia, who was on assignment in Belgrade, went along to the backgrounder with Michele Kelemen, who was traveling with Clinton. As Michele started to introduce Sylvia, Clinton stood up in excitement saying, “You are Sylvia Poggioli!!” She was thrilled to meet someone she had listened to for years — a key voice in the coverage of the Balkans.

Sylvia’s base has been Rome, but her reporting has taken her around the world – from covering the turbulent civil war in the former Yugoslavia, to Norway to cover the aftermath of the brutal attacks by a right-wing extremist; to Greece, Spain, and Portugal reporting on the Eurozone crisis. She has traveled with Pope Francis to Cuba, the United States, Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. These are but some of the places she’s gone.

Over her career, Sylvia has been honored by many awards, including a George Foster Peabody Award, National Women’s Political Caucus/Radcliffe College Exceptional Merit Media Awards, the Edward Weintal Journalism Prize, and the Silver Angel Excellence in the Media Award. Poggioli was part of the NPR team that won the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for coverage of the war in Kosovo. In 2009, she received the Maria Grazia Cutuli Award for foreign reporting.

Before she leaves NPR at the end of the month, she will be joining Scott Simon on Weekend Edition on March 25 for a farewell interview. Among her post-NPR plans are to work on a biography of her father, Renato Poggioli, an Italian academic and anti-fascist who was forced to flee Italy under Mussolini. Sylvia was born in Providence, Rhode Island, but moved to Italy after college under a Fulbright Scholarship.

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