Priska Neely chosen to lead Gulf States Newsroom, a new model of regional news collaboration

Through the pioneering Gulf States Newsroom, NPR and public radio stations in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana share resources, plan together and deliver more reporting in areas with widening gaps in local news coverage.

Campus story3Award-winning public radio journalist Priska Neely will lead the Gulf States Newsroom, a joint regional news collaboration between NPR and member stations in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Neely will be based in Birmingham, Alabama, at WBHM, a listener-supported service of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and will work closely with Gulf States Newsroom partner stations WWNO in New Orleans, WRKF in Baton Rouge and Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson, along with NPR.

As managing editor, Neely will build a team of regional beat reporters who cover health care, criminal justice, economic justice and more. Through the Gulf States Newsroom, the stations and NPR are sharing resources, planning together and delivering more reporting in areas with widening gaps in local news coverage. Made possible with lead support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Heather and Paul Haaga Jr., the collaboration aims to better serve the existing public media audience while also making a multi-platform push to reach new, diverse groups throughout the Gulf region.

“It is an honor to have the responsibility to build a team and shape coverage in a part of the country with so many important stories to tell,” Neely said.  

Neely comes to the Gulf States Newsroom with a rich mix of local and national experience. Most recently, she reported and produced long-form narrative stories with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Before that, Neely was a senior reporter at member station KPCC in Pasadena, California. Her reporting on Black infant and maternal health won several awards. She also spent time working on NPR’s weekend edition of “All Things Considered” and “Talk of the Nation” shows.

Neely was recently a fellow in the Editorial Integrity and Leadership Initiative, a partnership between the CPB and Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism. 

“Priska’s journalism chops and collaborative style are well-known and respected throughout the public media community,” said Chuck Holmes, executive director at WBHM in Birmingham, the lead station for the regional newsroom. Paul Maassen, general manager at WWNO and WRKF, added that, through Neely’s “dynamic vision and keen news sense, our stations will greatly increase our ability to cover the important issues and tell the unique stories of our region.”

Ronnie Agnew, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, praised Neely’s ability to “search for truth, demand accountability, and develop engaging and compelling content across multiple platforms.” 

“NPR is delighted to be a partner in this groundbreaking initiative and excited that Priska has agreed to lead it,” said Nancy Barnes, NPR’s SVP of News and editorial director. “She is part of a super-talented cohort of emerging editorial leaders who are going to transform public media for a new generation of audiences.” 

This regional newsroom is one of four that NPR and member stations have built together, in the Gulf States, Texas, California and the Midwest. 

WBHM is an essential public resource on-air and online that enlightens and enriches its audience and makes strong connections to its communities through journalism that is fair, credible, accurate and honest. Free from commercial and political influence, WBHM is dedicated to the idea that an informed citizenry is vital to democracy and a thriving economy, and it celebrates diversity, innovation and lifelong learning.