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WLRN News looks toward the future, begins phase for leadership changes

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Jessica Bakeman
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WLRN

WLRN News says goodbye to several longtime leaders and editors who are moving on to unique opportunities to continue to serve a journalistic mission in new ways.

In this moment of transition, the news department remains committed to quality journalism as it names transitional leaders.

WLRN News is announcing leadership changes as three team members are moving on to new journalism pursuits.

Leadership Changes

Tom Hudson has been WLRN's Vice President of News since 2013. Listeners know Hudson as the voice of The Sunshine Economy, The Florida Roundup and The South Florida Roundup.

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Tom Hudson

Beginning August 15, Hudson will join WAMU Public Media in Washington, D.C., as its new Chief Content Officer.

Hudson helped create The Sunshine Economy, the statewide edition of The Florida Roundup, WLRN Connects, and other special news programming such as live coverage of the U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, Hurricane Irma and COVID-19 pandemic coverage.

His work has been recognized with National Headliner, Green Eyeshade, Public Media Journalists Association, RTDNA Edward R. Murrow, Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists, SPJ Sunshine State and many other awards.

Terence Shepherd has been the News Director at WLRN since 2013. Shepherd has helped train and mentor countless journalists while having a hand in the production of every newscast the station has aired over the past decade. He has been instrumental in helping guide WLRN’s successful college and high school internship programs.

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Terence Shepherd

Shepherd also serves in leadership roles for several news industry associations. He was the first Black chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association. He is currently a trustee of the RTDNA Foundation and was a two-time president of the South Florida Black Journalists Association. He is a member of NPR's Network Handbook Working Group, which focuses on issues faced by local public media stations.

Shepherd has been named News Director for KPBS, San Diego, California’s NPR and PBS public media station. He will oversee a department of 45 editors and journalists. He will join the station on Aug. 8.

Alicia Zuckerman has held many positions at WLRN, including founding producer of The Florida Roundup. Most recently, she's been the Editorial Director at WLRN News and Executive Editor of On-Demand Audio, developing and editing audio documentaries, series and podcasts, including Tallahassee Takeover.

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Alicia Zuckerman

She has been named a 2022-23 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

In the first cohort to return to the fellowship program on the Stanford University campus since the start of the pandemic, Zuckerman will focus on finding ways to expand access to audio journalism and create a better user experience for people with hearing loss.

In 2020, Zuckerman was named Editor of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists Florida chapter and is the former president of Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA). Her awards include a national Edward R. Murrow, Third Coast International Audio Festival, SPJ Sigma Delta Chi, and an honorable mention for the inaugural Esserman-Knight Journalism Prize. She was in the first group of AIR (Association for Independents in Radio) New Voices and now serves on the New Voices advisory board.

During the tenures of these decorated leaders, WLRN’s journalism has been recognized with scores of peer-reviewed awards, including the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Large Market Radio.

Changes coming to WLRN local programming 

The South Florida Roundup will be hosted by WLRN reporters Wilkine Brutus, who covers Palm Beach County, and Danny Rivero, who covers government and legal affairs and hosts Tallahassee Takeover.

The Florida Roundup will continue to be produced out of WLRN and hosted by Melissa Ross from WJCT Public Media in Jacksonville. A search will be conducted for a South Florida-based journalist to co-host the program.

The Sunshine Economy will return in the fall as the search is underway for a new host to bring stories of the regional economy to life.

Transitional leadership 

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Caitie Muñoz

Caitie Muñoz is now Interim Managing Editor for WLRN News. Most recently, Muñoz was the Lead Producer of Sundial. Prior to that, she was WLRN's Broward County Reporter, where she broke the news on the Parkland shooting, the 2018 election and Fort Lauderdale’s sewer problems. She's also collaborated with news teams including, Reveal: from The Center For Investigative Reporting and KQED. Muñoz is the current chair of the First Amendment Foundation Board of Trustees.

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Jessica Bakeman continues as Senior Editor for News. Bakeman previously reported on education for WLRN News, producing the award-winning 2019 documentary and investigative series, "Chartered: Florida's First Private Takeover Of A Public School System." She was named 2020 journalist of the year by SPJ's Florida chapter. She edited and managed "Class of COVID-19: An Education Crisis for Florida’s Vulnerable Students," a 2021 project that has been recognized with several regional and national honors, including three first-place awards from the Public Media Journalists Association.

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BRENNAN WESLEY
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Christine DiMattei

Christine DiMattei is the Interim Newscast Editor. Chris has anchored WLRN’s Morning Edition for many years, as well as All Things Considered. She created Intermission, WLRN’s exploration of South Florida’s performing arts community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her continuing coverage on the arts in this way is called Second Act. She has won countless journalism awards, including the 2021 SPJ Sunshine State Best Radio Newscast.