Michele Norris, public radio heavyweight and host of NPR's All Things Considered, is stepping down from hosting the network's flagship program as her husband, Broderick Johnson, accepts a senior advisor position with President Obama's re-election campaign, according to a memo Norris sent to NPR employees this morning. Norris says she will end her hosting duties by the end of the week and resume them after the 2012 elections. In the meantime she "will be wearing a different hat for a while, producing signature segments and features and working on new reporting projects." Here's the memo sent out to staff.
I need to share some news and I wanted to make sure my NPR family heard this first. Last week, I told news management that my husband, Broderick Johnson, has just accepted a senior advisor position with the Obama Campaign. After careful consideration, we decided that Broderick's new role could make it difficult for me to continue hosting ATC. Given the nature of Broderick's position with the campaign and the impact that it will most certainly have on our family life, I will temporarily step away from my hosting duties until after the 2012 elections. I will be leaving the host chair at the end of this week, but I'm not going far. I will be wearing a different hat for a while, producing signature segments and features and working on new reporting projects. While I will of course recuse myself from all election coverage, there's still an awful lot of ground that I can till in this interim role.
This has all happened very quickly, but working closely with NPR management, we’ve been able to make a plan that serves the show, honors the integrity of our news organization and is best for me professionally and personally.
I will certainly miss hosting, but I will remain part of the ATC team and I look forward to contributing to our show and NPR in new and exciting ways.
My very best,
NPR spokesperson Anna Christopher tells The Atlantic Wire that the move is temporary:
Michele Norris told our staff and stations today that she will temporarily step down from her role as co-host of All Things Considered. She will instead report for NPR, producing signature pieces and covering topics unrelated to the election.
This change occurred due to the fact that her husband, Broderick Johnson, took on the role of senior advisor to the Obama campaign, effective today.
Update: Below is the release announcing Broderick's hire at Obama for America:
Obama for America Campaign Announces Senior Advisor
CHICAGO – Today, Obama for America announced Broderick Johnson will be joining the team as a Senior Advisor to the campaign. In addition to serving as a member of the senior staff, he will serve as a national surrogate for the campaign and our representative in meetings with key leaders, communities and organizations. Broderick will be an ear to the ground for the campaign's political and constituency operations, helping to ensure that there is constant, open communication between the campaign and our supporters around the country.
Johnson comes to the campaign with over 20 years of political experience. In 2008, Johnson served as an informal advisor to the Obama presidential campaign, offering strategic political advice and traveling across the country as a surrogate speaker and campaign volunteer. Prior to that he was a senior advisor for congressional affairs in the Kerry presidential campaign and from 1998-2000, Johnson served in senior roles in the Clinton White House.
Obama for America Campaign Manager Jim Messina released the following statement:
“Broderick joins the campaign with the insight of many years of experience in public service and on campaigns, including the 2008 campaign. Broderick will be an invaluable advisor to the campaign as well as our representative at key events around the country."
Regarding his appointment Mr. Johnson expressed his eagerness to get started:
“I accept this opportunity to join the senior staff of the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign with great pride and a strong sense of duty. We must reelect the President in order to build an economy that rewards hard work and restores economic security for the middle class and that provides an opportunity to families working hard to rise above poverty. Our success depends upon ensuring that our economy is built to last, where we out educate and out innovate the world.”