Former NPR 'Morning Edition' executive producer to lead sustainability news collaboration

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tracy Wahl, a former executive producer of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” will be the executive editor of a new news collaboration to enhance and expand coverage of sustainability issues, Arizona State University announced today.

Wahl, who most recently was executive producer of editorial franchises at NPR, will lead the Regional Journalism Collaboration for Sustainability, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting-supported partnership of public television and radio stations in three western cities, which will produce multimedia reports on important sustainability issues. She will start her new position on Jan. 8.

Arizona PBS, a member-supported community service of ASU based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, serves as the lead station of the RJC for Sustainability. The reporting partnership includes PBS SoCal and KPCC Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles, KJZZ radio in Phoenix and Denver’s Rocky Mountain PBS, which includes five TV stations and KUVO radio.

“I’m really excited to be joining the Regional Journalism Collaboration for Sustainability,” Wahl said. “I’m looking forward to breaking new ground collaborating between local public television and public radio stations around important sustainability issues.”

At NPR, Wahl also served as executive producer of “Morning Edition,” where she led initiatives focusing on sustainability.

Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and raised in Denver, she worked to expand the show’s coverage of the American West. This included a reporting trip with host Steve Inskeep along the U.S.-Mexico border from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego. She also produced and reported with Inskeep from the Arctic on climate change; Karachi, Pakistan; the growth of cities; and Bayou La Batre, Alabama, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Wahl has been at the cutting-edge of broadcast and digital media, playing a key role in the development of the popular NPR podcast, “Hidden Brain.” She also guided the live coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

“Tracy has a deep understanding of sustainability issues and brings a tremendous energy and passion for public media,” said Cronkite School Dean and Arizona PBS CEO Christopher Callahan. “We are excited for her to lead this innovative initiative, which will cover one of the most critical challenges of our time.”

The RJC for Sustainability will produce reports on four important sustainability issues: water, renewable energy, climate change and urbanization. The content will be shareable across the five partner stations and will be available to national public media programs, including NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” “Marketplace” and “PBS NewsHour.”

The initiative also will experiment with new forms of digital video to provide better coverage of sustainability issues.

The RJC for Sustainability includes an oversight committee, charged with setting the strategic vision for the collaborative. Joining Callahan are KPCC President and CEO Bill Davis, KJZZ Vice President Jim Paluzzi, PBS SoCal President and CEO Andrew Russell and Laura Frank, president and general manager of news at Rocky Mountain PBS.

“Southern California is a community acutely aware of the issues surrounding sustainable resources,” Russell said. “As a region at the forefront of sustainability issues and initiatives, we welcome Tracy Wahl and her expertise in this area, and look forward to additional research and news reporting on this important initiative.”

Wahl was part of a Peabody Award-winning team in 2013 for “The Race Card Project,” an NPR series in which people were encouraged to talk about race by sharing a six-word essay. She also was part of the “Morning Edition” team that received a Murrow Award in 2014 for “Crime in Latin America,” a three-part series from a Venezuelan prison. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Boulder.