By Alexis Taylor
Vice President and Executive Editor Edith Chapin praised the decision in a message to newsroom employees, made public by NPR Extra.
“Nick has had a varied career across many aspects of journalism from foreign correspondent covering Operation Restore Hope in Somalia to beat writer on popular culture and the arts at the Daily News to Staff writer at People,” said Chapin. “He also was Editor-in-Chief at AOL Black Voices and then VP Digital Content at BET.com.”
Charles began managing the Word in Black series for the Local Media Association on a full-time basis in January of this year.
Word in Black is a partnership between the leading top ten Black media organizations, to include The Atlanta Voice, Houston Defender, New York Amsterdam News and the AFRO American. The collaboration acts as a hub for Black news, and aims “to be the most trusted news and information source for, about and by Black people.”
Charles, who steps into his new role of chief culture editor on Oct. 25, said he is looking forward to working and learning from his colleagues.
“I don’t think I have an agenda per se, but I definitely want to go in and learn as much as I can,” said Charles. “NPR is venerable – I’m not going to go there and teach anybody radio – but I think there is a sense that there are areas of coverage that we can do better in.
“My first order is to assess what we do great, what we don’t do so well and try to make sure there’s a better balance.”
Charles said he was more than content in his former position, but a friend’s encouragement led him to take a leap of faith that landed him at NPR.
“For a long time, folks who looked like myself never were considered, and here is an opportunity for someone like myself to sit at the table and not just sit – but be at the head of the table. I think it’s important to remember that you will want to do excellent work, but you also want to make sure the work that you do is as inclusive as possible.”
Charles will work from New York until the D.C.-based organization reopens its offices in the nation’s capitol. Chapin expects Charles “will be a regular presence in Washington and at NPR West going forward.”