OLD Media Moves

The NPR reporter, covering the economy, who was laid off

December 28, 2008

Stephanie Clifford of the New York Times writes for Monday’s paper about NPR senior correspondent Ketzel Levine, who was reporting a series of stories about how people were handling the economic turmoil when she was laid off.

Clifford writes, “Ms. Levine, who has worked at NPR since 1977, said she decided the final episode, and her final piece for NPR, should be about her own situation.

“Ellen McDonnell, the director of morning programming, was not immediately sold on the idea. ‘I had some natural hesitation,’ she said. ‘As a reporter, you never want the story to be about you.’ At the same time, she said: ‘I also recognized a very unique opportunity for Ketzel to tell a story that lots of people can relate to. She found out in a very personal way what it’s like to have to start over again and to have that moxie she spoke about.’

“The end result ‘was kind of eerie,’ Ms. McDonnell said. ‘The whole concept that one person in the story would lead to another, and then it would all end with her, was not something any of us anticipated.’

“In the short piece, which first ran last week just after a ‘Moxie’ story about a Chicago landscaper, Ms. Levine took a personal approach. ‘It’s only today that I’m sane enough to tell you’ about her having been laid off, she told listeners.”

Read more here

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