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Sadie Babits Named NPR's New Supervising Climate Editor

Sadie Babits
Isaac Easely/ Cronkite
Sadie Babits

In a note to newsroom staff, Andrea Kissack, NPR's Chief Climate Editor announced this staffing update.

I have exciting news to share with you as we build NPR's new climate team. We're delighted to welcome Sadie Babits as NPR's new Supervising Climate Editor. Sadie will work with NPR reporters on the desk and lead work with member stations to cultivate station reporters' talent and stories on the biggest story of our time.

Sadie is currently the board president for the Society of Environmental Journalists, North America's largest nonprofit dedicated to supporting environmental journalists. She's also writing a book about journalism in the age of climate change to be published by Island Press due out in late 2023/early 2024.

Sadie comes to us from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix where she's been a professor of practice. She's focused the last four years teaching students how to report on climate, sustainability and other environmental issues for broadcast and digital platforms. Sadie also founded a thriving audio program within the school's professional program Cronkite News/ Arizona PBS. The audio news briefing she created with her students just won a National Edward R. Murrow award for the best student newscast.

"It's been an honor to help guide and support so many young journalists as they start their careers. Many of my students have gone on to pursue audio careers or work as environmental journalists," Sadie said. "Now I'm ready to return to my public radio roots, and help member station journalists report stories about climate change for a national audience."

Prior to teaching at Cronkite, Sadie was a Ted Scripps Environmental Reporting fellowat the University of Colorado-Boulder where she spent an academic year (2017/2018) studying climate change, renewable energy technology and environmental law.

Sadie has served in public radio leadership roles for nearly a decade, including as news director for Colorado Public Radio from 2014 to 2017. During that time she helped guide and edit an investigative project with CPR and NPR about the U.S. Army discharging soldiers without honors due to mental health issues. That project was honored with an Alfred duPont Award in 2016.

Newsroom leadership is at the core of Sadie's public media experience, but she's no stranger to reporting. In 2005 she was awarded a National Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into sub-contractors at Grand Canyon National Park who were not being paid.

She recalls her first audio feature for NPR was about a public land rebellion brewing in the remote town of Jarbidge, Nevada in 2000. Since then she's reported on the West's catastrophic wildfires, recorded the sound of bark beetles eating through ponderosa pine trees, traveled to Kenya to cover drought, and occasionally covered pro road cycling including the Tour de France.

Sadie grew up in the remote town of Salmon, Idaho surrounded by the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and the Bitterroot Mountain range, which helps explain why she spends most of her spare time exploring nature either by foot or by mountain bike. Sadie splits her time between Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon with her husband, Frank.

The hiring committee deserves much thanks for helping us to select Sadie from a highly competitive field.

Sadie begins her new role on November 21, and I hope you'll join me in welcoming Sadie to NPR.

Andrea Kissack

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Andrea Kissack
As head of NPR's science desk, Andrea Kissack leads the network's coverage of medical research, public health, consumer health and mental health. She also oversees the desk's coverage of global health, climate and general sciences. She works collaboratively to develop high-impact initiatives that engage diverse audiences across platforms. Kissack has helped to launch several initiatives at NPR including the daily science podcast Short Wave and the public service consumer podcast Life Kit. Through powerful storytelling, teamwork and partnerships, her mission is to bring a deeper understanding of the events and actions that shape the world around us.