December 18, 2014

Tasneem Raja, interactive editor at Mother Jones, has been named digital editor of NPR’s identity and culture unit, according to a staff memo from NPR unit executive producer Carline Watson and Lynette Clemetson, director of editorial initiatives at NPR.

Raja, who was previously an interactive producer at The Bay Citizen and a features reporter at The Chicago Reader, will join the unit’s 11-person team in late January, according to the memo.

Here’s the announcement:

Dear All,

We have great news to share from the Identity and Culture Unit: We have hired Tasneem Raja to be our Senior Digital Editor, and she is a catch!

Tasneem comes to us from Mother Jones, where, as a senior editor with a focus on data-driven journalism, she currently leads an award-winning team of digital reporters and producers who push the boundaries of storytelling on the web. Before Mother Jones, Tasneem was part of the impressive, multi-everything launch team of the Bay Citizen, a non-profit reporting startup in San Francisco, which partnered with the New York Times to amplify Bay Area media coverage.

Called “one of the smartest people on Twitter” by Fast Company, Tasneem is a leading voice in the conversation on gender, race, and tech culture. Her viral exposé on “brogrammer” culture in Silicon Valley exploded the conversation on tech’s gender problem and remains a must-read. Tasneem began her journalism career in 2005 as a metro reporter for the Chicago Reader, reporting on subcultures and marginalized communities. She was a pioneering student in the multi-media storytelling program at UC Berkeley School of Journalism, where she earned her master’s degree.

As a multi-skilled journalist, Tasneem is a knock-out. She’s a deft and insightful reporter, writer and editor. She loves storytelling and the dazzling array of forms it can take. She’s skilled at moving ideas to the right platforms in the right ways. She codes. She builds. She shares. She mentors. And she has an intricate knowledge of – and passion for – the media space around race, ethnicity, culture and identity.

We wanted to keep her in the building and never let her go as soon as we met her. But we agreed to wait until Jan 26, when she will join us full time. We know you’ll love her and that the entire newsroom will benefit from her talents. There is a great May 2014 interview she did with Columbia’s Tow Center for Journalism that provides a solid peek into what makes her tick. Here’s a taste:

“We live by a few guiding principles on my team. The big one is that it’s our job to make sure everybody in the newsroom can tell a story by any means necessary. That is, reporters should know how to map, the mapmaking pros on my team should know how to factcheck, the fact checkers should know when to use a column chart versus a bar chart, and so on. We don’t believe in siloed skills….Of course, some folks will always be way better at some skills than others, but you gotta pay it forward, which brings me to our second guiding principle: we are all learners, and we are all teachers.” – Tasneem Raja,

With our 11-person team, NPR’s Identity and Culture Unit has one of the most robust and multi-skilled teams in journalism dedicated to covering issues of race, ethnicity and how they inform the way we live. At the end of a year in which many such stories have dominated the news, we know our work is vital. And we look forward to growing that work with Tasneem as part of our fam.

Please join us in congratulating Tasneem (@tasneemraja) and welcoming her when she arrives in late January.

Make Some Noise!

Carline and Lynette

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
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