Black History 365: Juana Summers
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NPR names Juana Summers co-host of ‘All Things Considered’
NPR has named its veteran reporter Juana Summers as the newest host for its flagship afternoon news program All Things Considered.
Summers is now a correspondent covering race, justice and politics for the network. Starting June 27, she will fill the hosting position left vacant by Audie Cornish, who departed NPR for CNN in January.
In an interview, Summers, who is Black, said she hopes to further expand All Things Considered‘s reach to new and diverse audiences. She aims to reach more people whose experiences are not typically represented in the media and empower them to tell their stories on air. She also said she hopes to do more in digital spaces to reach younger audiences.
“One of the things that I’m the most excited about is that every day I get to sit in that seat and be a stand-in for a smart, curious listener who cares deeply about issues and the world around them,” Summers said.
Summers said she knew she wanted to be a reporter since high school, where she started writing for her school newspaper in Kansas City, Mo. She began working in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo. Since 2010, she has covered politics for outlets including CNN, Politico and The Associated Press. Summers covered Congress for NPR in 2014-15 and rejoined in 2019.
“I was so eager to return to NPR because I believe in the public service mission that is at the heart of everything we do,” she said. “Serving the public is an incredible responsibility.”
“She is a first-rate journalist with an enviable track record,” said Sarah Gilbert, the NPR vice president who oversees its news magazines. “She’s a natural leader and connects with people in a way that makes them feel heard, and she has an instinct for creative storytelling that is second to none.”
Summers will join All Things Considered co-hosts Ailsa Chang, Mary Louise Kelly, Ari Shapiro and Michel Martin at a time when questions about diversity, equity and retention have sparked intense discussion inside NPR’s newsroom and in public.
Female hosts of color, in particular, have raised questions of pay disparities and whether they have institutional support to pursue the stories they seek to tell.
Within several months spanning from last fall to this spring, show hosts Cornish, Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Noel King — all women of color — left the network. They cited fresh opportunities and, with the exception of King, frustrations with the network.
The network has hired a notably diverse cadre of hosts since, including A Martínez, Leila Fadel, Ayesha Rascoe and now Summers.
Summers said she hopes to attract new audiences to NPR by sharing the voices of people whose perspectives may be missing on the air. She pointed to her reporting on Gen Z Republicans grappling with the future of their party, patriotism among Black Americans and the spotlight the Biden-Harris administration put on blended families.
“It’s important for all of us to be thinking really critically about how we create space and opportunity for women and people of color and others from marginalized backgrounds to grow and to feel valued and to be their authentic selves at work,” Summers said. “I think that the fact that ATC selected someone like me is a testament to the fact that NPR and NPR’s leadership takes that incredibly seriously.”
She also sees digital spaces, such as social media, as key to expanding All Things Considered‘s reach to new audiences.
“I really see this as an opportunity for a person who maybe has to bring the voices of people who perhaps have never heard of NPR or think that NPR is not a place for them, to convince them that they’re wrong and that this can be a news home for them,” Summers said.
All Things Considered debuted in 1971. Since then, it has won many journalism awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the Overseas Press Club Award.
Disclosure: This story was reported and written by NPR Intern Jacqueline GaNun and edited by NPR Deputy Business Editor Emily Kopp. NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik contributed to this story. Under NPR’s protocol for reporting on itself, no corporate official or news executive reviewed this story before it was published.