Jenkins steps down at NPR
October 14, 2011
Loren Jenkins, senior foreign editor at National Public Radio and former editor/publisher of The Aspen Times, is stepping down after 15 years leading the foreign desk at NPR. His last day at the post is Nov. 4.
NPR affiliate stations were informed of the move on Wednesday by Margaret Low Smith, acting senior vice president for news at NPR.
“He says he will be dividing his time between Washington D.C. and Aspen, while pursuing a number of writing projects,” Smith wrote in an email. “Loren has promised me that when the news demands he will remain ready and willing to contribute on air, as he has done so ably in the past.”
Jenkins has longtime ties to Aspen and a home in Old Snowmass. He joined NPR in 1996, shortly after he was ousted from The Aspen Times following a sometimes stormy reign at the newspaper in the early 1990s. During his tenure at NPR, the foreign desk grew from roughly a half-dozen bureaus to 17 around the world, according to Smith.
“Under Loren’s leadership, NPR won just about every major award and he’s put our foreign coverage on the map, from the wars in Kosovo and Chechnya to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; from the attacks on the World Trade Towers to the death of Osama Bin Laden,” she wrote.
Before joining NPR, Jenkins spent 25 years overseas as a foreign correspondent for UPI, Newsweek and The Washington Post, according to his NPR online biography. He was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his Washington Post coverage of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its aftermath.
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Andy Stone, former editor/co-publisher at the Times, and Jenkins’ successor at the newspaper’s helm, said Jenkins did “incredible things” for the local newspaper.
“Loren picked up The Aspen Times and shook it very hard and turned it into a much better newspaper than it was before,” Stone recalled.
But Jenkins’ standards as a national and international journalist made for some rocky relations at the Times, and he parted ways with the newspaper in late 1995.
His tenure at NPR was not without controversy, either. He was accused of racial and religious discrimination in a lawsuit filed by a correspondent with the Washington-based radio network, who also charged Jenkins with making a racial slur in reference to Arabs – a claim NPR acknowledged by disciplining Jenkins, according to a report in Time.com.
But, in 2005, NPR’s in-depth coverage of Iraq and the aftermath of the U.S. invasion was recognized with the George Foster Peabody Award – a sort of Pulitzer Prize for electronic media. As senior foreign editor, Jenkins shared in the honor.
“It’s always good to have your work recognized. It is a thrill,” he said at the time.
Ted Clark, deputy foreign editor at NPR, will take over the foreign desk while the network conducts a “wide search” for his successor, according to Smith.