New hires and promotion on NPR’s national desk

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In a note to newsroom staff, Ammad Omar, chief national editor, and Catherine Laidlaw, deputy national desk editor, made the following announcements:

We’re excited to share news about some key hires on the National Desk, to round out our management team.

This week, Alfredo Carbajal joined us as a Supervising Editor.  He will be the lead editor for immigration coverage, and will work across various topic teams on the National Desk, collaborating with member station journalists and NPR staff.  Alfredo will also help manage news coverage from the Western United States. Before joining NPR, Alfredo worked at the Dallas Morning News for more than two decades in several senior editor roles, including as the Managing Editor of Al Día – a Spanish language outlet that serves the region. At the Morning News, he oversaw coverage of diverse communities, immigration enterprise reporting and Texas/Mexico border coverage. Alfredo previously served as president of the American Society of News Editors, and he created the Emerging Leaders Institute, a national program to train mid-level news managers. He’s a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso.

Alfredo is currently based in Dallas but in a few months will relocate to California and work out of NPR West.   We’re thrilled to bring Alfredo’s deep knowledge and editorial insight on several key issues to the team.

Later this month, Gigi Douban will join us as a Supervising Editor. Before her hiring at NPR, Gigi was news director at KUOW in Seattle, where she led a team of 25 reporters, editors, hosts and producers. She came to Seattle from Birmingham, Ala., where she was news director at WBHM. Before that she was a frequent freelance reporter on NPR and Marketplace.  Gigi’s work at member stations across the country helped her teams win several national awards, including Edward R. Murrow awards and recognition from the Public Media Journalists Association.  Gigi was also selected to participate in the Public Media Editorial Integrity and Leadership fellowship through CPB and Arizona State’s Cronkite School in 2019. She started her journalism career at The Birmingham News as a metro reporter and then covered education. She’s a graduate of State University of New York at Albany.

Gigi will continue to live in Seattle and her first day is Feb. 26.  Gigi is a familiar face to people across the NPR network – we couldn’t be more excited for the next chapter of her public radio story to be with the National Desk.

And lastly, we want to announce that Russell Lewis has been promoted to Deputy National Editor. Russell started at NPR in 2006 as Southern Bureau Chief.  He remained in that role for 15 years, serving as NPR’s main liaison to stations across the region, before being promoted to Supervising Editor in 2021. Russell wears many hats at NPR – he edits transportation, human spaceflight, sports and has an encyclopedic knowledge of weather. Russell has served the network well beyond the National Desk’s borders – leading NPR’s coverage in breaking news events stretching from Indonesia, to the Bahamas, the Middle East and Europe.

Russell began his public radio career in 1992 as reporter and executive producer at NPR member station WUFT in Gainesville, Fla. He also spent time at WSVH in Savannah, Ga., and was Statehouse Bureau Chief at Kansas Public Radio. For six years, he worked at KPBS in San Diego as a senior editor and reporter. He also was a talk show host and assistant news director at WGCU in Fort Myers, Fla.

Russell is a graduate of the University of Florida but calls Alabama his sweet home. He’ll continue to be based out of Birmingham.

Gigi, Alfredo and Russell join Supervising Editor Marcia Davis, Deputy National Editor Catherine Laidlaw and Chief National Editor Ammad Omar to help lead the network’s domestic coverage.   Please join us in congratulating all three on these richly-deserved new roles!



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