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NPR to end 'Tell Me More' and cut 28 positions

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NPR says 'Tell Me More' will end production Aug. 1
Facing a budget shortfall, NPR is cutting 28 positions

The NPR news and talk show "Tell Me More," hosted by Michel Martin, will soon be no more. 

In the face of a budget shortfall, NPR has decided to end production of the show Aug. 1, the nonprofit's senior vice president for news, Margaret Low Smith, said in a message to staff.

Washington, D.C.-based NPR will also eliminate 28 positions, eight of which are currently vacant, including jobs in its news division and library. All the employees who are being laid off have been notified, Smith said. 

"While this is a difficult moment, it is important to remember the millions of people who rely on us for the quality of our reporting and the power of our storytelling," Smith wrote to staff. "That is not changing."

Last year NPR offered buyouts to employees in an effort to reduce its workforce as part of a two-year plan to balance its budget, which has a deficit of about $6 million.

NPR earlier this month picked former E! Entertainment Television boss Jarl Mohn as its next president and chief executive to replace interim CEO Paul G. Haaga Jr. starting in July. Part of his mission will be to dig NPR out of its financial hole.

After the end of "Tell Me More," Martin will remain at NPR along with the program's executive producer, Carline Watson, who will lead a new editorial team thatwill delve into topics including education, families, faith, race and social issues, while Martin will produce segments for NPR shows and appear at live events.

"While the economics of producing 'Tell Me More' as a daily show have been challenging, we recognize the enormous talents on this team," Smith said.

"Tell Me More" represented an effort to reach African American listeners and other minority communities, along with the traditional public radio audience. Other NPR initiatives focused on issues of race and ethnicity include its "Code Switch" team and Michele Norris’ "The Race Card Project."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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