Tonya Mosley to Exit NPR, Joining Exodus of Black Hosts

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  • David Folkenflik
    American journalist

Tonya Mosley will be leaving NPR at the end of the month, her employer reported Wednesday. In departing, she becomes the latest of a number of hosts of color to exit in recent weeks.

The announcement came in a story from NPR’s own media correspondent, David Folkenflik. It was headlined “NPR hosts’ departures fuel questions over race. The full story is complex.”

Mosley, who currently hosts the afternoon program “Here & Now,” will have her own podcast called “Truth Be Told,” but will continue as a special correspondent for NPR until her contract is up in August.

She tweeted Wednesday, “Thank you for listening to me on @hereandnow and letting me be a part of your life. It has been my immense pleasure to learn and navigate with you the last few years of this pandemic, racial reckoning, and the fragile state of our democracy … This pandemic has forced us to reckon with so much and part of that reckoning for me is to take a beat to understand my purpose and how to serve the public in ways that don’t contribute to the noise but adds value to our lives. I love public radio, I 100 percent still believe in the mission. This moment offers us a great opportunity if we choose to take it.”

As Folkenflik noted in his own overview of what is happening at his employer, Audie Cornish joined CNN+ this week, just days after announcing she was leaving NPR, where she hosted “All Things Considered.” She was preceded by “Weekend Edition Sunday” host Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, who moved to the New York Times in September; “Morning Edition” host Noel King, who headed to Vox Media in November; and former “1A” host Joshua Johnson, who landed at MSNBC.

Folkenflik was not the only NPR employee to spotlight the departures and the questions they raise about the experience of Black hosts and hosts of color at the outlet.

“If NPR doesn’t see this as a crisis, I don’t know what it’ll take,” tweeted Cornish’s “All Things Considered” co-host Ari Shapiro last week.

Cornish tweeted a few days later, “Every single word of my announcement is true. I am leaving of my own accord with no malice or resentment. I have had a great run with a company full of people I respect and admire. And I am ready to try something new. I also understand that 4 hosts leaving in a year – three of them POC women– is a red flag as my co host @arishapiro underscored earlier this week. I appreciate him taking it upon himself to raise it. I can’t speak for all POC – but I want to be clear. I do not have to. Our experiences at the company vary and there are some common threads. A number of people have been waving their hands in the air trying to draw attention to them. check the threads. they are not hiding! Moreover some of these issues permeate the public media system – yes stations AND yes your favorite podcast companies that have sprung from that system. While the media reporting on this has been to treat each as a problem in isolation that is not the case.”

Per Folkenflik, hosts at NPR have expressed concern over what they see as pay disparity along racial and gender lines, overly contentious negotiations and a lack of managerial support.

A representative for NPR told TheWrap after Cornish’s departure, “Diversity in our staff, sourcing and coverage is not only crucial to the accuracy and fairness of NPR’s content, but to the future of public media and our audience at large. Ensuring that public media reflects the people of the United States is not a responsibility or initiative, but a necessity. Continuing and improving our diversity efforts is NPR’s foremost priority.”

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