Top News Executive at NPR Steps Down

By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 13, 2006

The top news executive at National Public Radio suddenly resigned from his post last night, leaving the Washington-based organization without an editorial leader for programming that reaches more than 20 million listeners a week.

Bill Marimow will stay at NPR and become its ombudsman, which removes him from daily responsibility for programs such as "All Things Considered." The much-decorated newspaperman joined NPR in mid-2004 and was named vice president for news and information only in February.

A replacement has not been named. NPR, which declined to comment on Marimow's departure yesterday, will announce his resignation today.

Staff members at NPR said Marimow had clashed with his immediate boss, head of programming Jay Kernis, about the scope and nature of his responsibilities, and that Kernis accepted his resignation. The specific nature of their disagreement was unclear. Marimow was in Boston and could not be reached for comment.

Marimow supervised a news organization comprising 350 employees and 36 domestic and international bureaus. NPR's three daily news programs -- "Morning Edition," "Day to Day" and "All Things Considered" -- are carried on hundreds of public radio stations nationwide.

Marimow's departure was the second major personnel change at the nonprofit organization in the past three weeks. In an orderly transition, Kevin Klose, NPR's chief executive since 1998, stepped down from his job, and was replaced by his top lieutenant, Ken Stern. Klose remains NPR's president and a board member.

People at NPR had expected Marimow to oversee the newsroom for several more years. He succeeded NPR veteran Bruce Drake, who resigned as vice president for news just over a year ago.

As ombudsman, Marimow will succeed Jeffrey Dvorkin, who left the job in August. The ombudsman is NPR's in-house critic and a liaison for listeners.

Before joining NPR, Marimow spent a decade at the Baltimore Sun, first as managing editor and then as editor. During a 21-year career at the Philadelphia Inquirer, he won two Pulitzer Prizes for reporting and public service.

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