Two years after rejoining NPR, Michele Norris is vacating her slot as a host and special correspondent at the public radio network, NPR news chief Michael Oreskes announced Thursday.
Norris, who was formerly a host of “All Things Considered,” has been with the network for 13 years, according to a memo addressed to NPR staffers from Oreskes. During her tenure at NPR, Norris “made an indelible mark” on the broadcaster’s news report, he wrote:
For the past 13 years, Michele Norris has brought inspiring voices, thought-provoking perspectives, and deeper insights into the day’s news to millions of NPR listeners. While hosting All Things Considered, in reports across NPR newsmagazines, and through live events, she has made an indelible mark on NPR.
Although Oreskes’ memo did not specify Norris’ next steps, he noted that she will soon begin “the next chapter in her journalism career” and that she would not be far away from the broadcaster’s D.C. headquarters.
In 2011, Norris left NPR when her husband, Broderick Johnson, took a position with the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama, according to The New York Times. She returned to the network 2013, when she assumed her current role as guest host and special correspondent.
In addition to her “All Things Considered” hosting duties, Norris founded The Race Card Project, an initiative aimed at fostering dialogue about race through six-word descriptions. The project won a Peabody award in 2013 for raising “complicated, vulnerable and insightful discussions” related to race.
Here’s Oreskes’ memo:
For the past 13 years, Michele Norris has brought inspiring voices, thought-provoking perspectives, and deeper insights into the day’s news to millions of NPR listeners. While hosting All Things Considered, in reports across NPR newsmagazines, and through live events, she has made an indelible mark on NPR. All this makes it difficult to share that she has decided it’s time to open the next chapter in her journalism career and will be leaving us at the end of December.
Over her time at NPR, she brought our audiences profoundly moving, award-winning coverage ranging from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and interviews with leaders in politics, art, culture, and beyond. She also helped NPR reach younger listeners through the Backseat Book Club with producer Justine Kenin and she has led visceral, honest national conversations about race through the York Project she conducted with Steve Inskeep around the 2008 elections that earned the duPont Award. In recent years, as the creator and host of The Race Card Project, she has challenged each of us to think in new ways about how we see ourselves and each other.
Walter Ray Watson has worked closely with Michele on the Peabody-Award winning project and said, “I will forever cherish my time partnered with Michele and all the stories we produced together. Collaborating with her regularly for nearly four years is an unforgettable career hallmark and great honor. The Race Card Project led us to insightful, intelligent conversations with people from all walks. The results she delivered as pieces and chats for Morning Edition gave drive-time audiences a frank, unsweetened discussion of race and identity, each one reliably thought provoking. Her website, and her vision behind it, continue to make it possible for tens of thousands of people to engage in observations around race and identity in a way no one else has quite figured out as successfully.”
No matter the subject, Michele is able to bring out remarkable conversations. She has an incredible gift for getting people to feel comfortable and open up about their lives and share themselves with her, and, in turn, with all of us. She has brought grace, humanity, and uncompromising excellence to bear in covering the toughest of topics.
She noted, “Leaving NPR is not an easy decision. I am deeply grateful to each of you, across this entire organization and am particularly thankful for the partnership I’ve had for the past four years with Producer, Walter Ray Watson. I am so proud of the journalistic standards you all represent and the tremendous ways you all serve our audience. This is a special place. Though I will no longer be an official member of the NPR Family, I will remain a part of the NPR universe as a dedicated listener and enthusiastic cheerleader for NPR programs and initiatives. I have learned so much in my time here and I have been touched in ways large and small by the creativity and ingenuity that ricochets throughout this building. It has been an incredible journey.