NPR promotes Laura Soto-Barra, Chris Nelson and Keith Jenkins


NPR has announced promotions of three longtime leaders in recognition of the expanded scope and seniority of their work. Laura Soto-Barra has been promoted to vice president, research, archives & data strategy; Chris Nelson has been promoted to senior vice president, technology operations; and Keith Jenkins has been promoted to vice president of visuals and music strategy.

Laura Soto-Barra's promotion to vice president, research, archives & data strategy is in recognition of the strong leadership she brings to NPR. For 17 years she has led a team of researchers, software engineers, historians, curators, grant writers, data specialists, taxonomists, archivists, trainers and product managers whose expertise has grown and expanded along NPR's own transformation, from being a broadcast network to a digital media institution. RAD is unique in the media industry and in the archives sector because its strategy achieves and reflects NPR's distinctive research needs and data demands.

She leads with dedication and enterprise; consistently infusing her strategic thinking and presentation of her team's work with a sense of advocacy, a command of priorities and a deep sense of investment in the mission and goals of NPR. Her work in DEI started in 2013 by leading the annual Sourcing Report to identify and verify the experts interviewed or quoted by NPR during broadcast. She has represented NPR on the Radio Hall of Fame's Induction Committee since 2020, advocating and obtaining the induction of Cokie Roberts in 2020, and of Bill Siemering in 2021.

Throughout her career, Soto-Barra's strategic projects have been significant and enduring. She is responsible for the continuous evolution of the systems and products that steward data about all the stories NPR has ever told — and the music used in NPR's editorial work. She has led the development of archival products and services for revenues, and has overseen the development of business plans to help maximize the value of NPR data. Examples of these platforms and tools are the digital archive Artemis, Orpheus, the NPR taxonomies, the highly accurate transcripts that our listeners expect, and NPR's annual Sourcing Report, which analyzes diversity in broadcast sources. Soto-Barra championed NPR's audio digitization and reformatting project, providing NPR with access to more than 120,000 hours of NPR's audio legacy, formerly stored in obsolete physical formats, and preserving this content for future generations. RAD's recent accomplishments include: award-winning fact-checking for NPR content, an expanded integration between Artemis and NPR's story metrics dashboard SANDI, and the ingest and indexing of over 1.3 million NPR newscast records.

Soto-Barra notes: "The RAD team's work is indispensable to our NPR colleagues. By being alert and perceptive about people and processes, we are responsive and accountable. We strive to anticipate, identify and build on the intersections between our work and that of our many partners across the newsroom and the organization — a list that has been growing considerably. My promotion reflects the value that research, archives, and data hold for NPR."

Chris Nelson's promotion to senior vice president, technology operations recognizes the contributions of his technical, operational and organizational leadership over a 21-year career at NPR. Nelson is a highly valued member of NPR's senior leadership team, bringing deep experience, strategic insights, technical excellence and a dedicated servant-leadership approach to his work.

Over his tenure, Nelson and his teams have enabled NPR to serve our mission in new and expanded ways. From covering major news events, to ensuring that our content reaches hundreds of public radio stations, to making sure all staff have the technology they need to do their best work, Nelson has been part of it all. As SVP he leads a team made up of more than 150 staff members focused on technical excellence. While his accomplishments over the past two decades abound, the pandemic has been an excellent example of his leadership in action. During the crisis, Nelson has led a remarkable team of technologists through some of the most profound technical challenges in NPR history, supporting the innovation and systems resiliency that the organization demanded.

Nelson notes: "For technologists, NPR offers a unique media environment that requires both technical excellence and a deep commitment to our public service journalism mission. The professionals in our IT, Audio Engineering, Distribution, and soon-to-be-formed Content Production Technology teams are world class in their fields, and it is an honor to work alongside them and champion their important work. I look forward to our continued growth and collaboration."

Keith Jenkins' promotion to vice president of visuals and music strategy recognizes that music and visuals are core to NPR's News and Programming strategies to serve audiences across platforms, in particular younger and more diverse audience members. As VP, Jenkins will work with the teams in Programming and News to develop, socialize and activate content strategies for visuals and music that center that work in our audience, editorial and business goals.

Jenkins is a gifted content and product leader who inspires and supports a diverse, high-functioning team of journalists, critics, photographers, video producers and podcast makers in creating signature editorial experiences and programming that expand NPR's public service to new audiences.

Jenkins notes: "NPR Visuals and NPR Music are establishing public media on the platforms and in the spaces where the next generation of NPR audiences can already be found. They are on YouTube watching Tiny Desk, they are on Instagram, they are on Alexa and they are on TikTok. Most importantly, they are heavy consumers of visual information and entertainment. They have grown up with screens everywhere, and photos and videos are their primary means of communication. I'm excited for the opportunity to help NPR evolve with our audience and find new ways to navigate this world with them."

Recent examples of Jenkins' accomplishments include spearheading the NPR in a Minute video project, which has laid a foundation for NPR journalists to systematically bring coverage — including dispatches from Ukraine — to audiences across social channels. Jenkins has also led the visuals team in activating our strategy to center POC voices and creators on NPR's growing Instagram channel. The signature editorial project Turning the Tables, which tells untold stories of underrepresented musical figures, is finding life on new platforms. This year NPR Music Black History Month became a signature music and visual storytelling event, which will extend to Black Music Month in June, and the Hispanic Heritage Month takeover introduced millions across the globe to "El Tiny." With colleagues across NPR, he helped secure more than $2 million in funding for our visuals strategy from philanthropic sources as diverse as the CPB and a major anonymous donor, as well as through business agreements with platforms including YouTube.

About NPR:

NPR's rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (, and now it's easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, "Play NPR," and you'll be tuned into your local Member station's live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at and by following NPR Extra on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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