NPR Washington Affiliate WAMU to Lay Off 15 Staffers, Shutter DCist Site

Ten positions will be added back as the station shifts away from digital publishing to double down on audio offerings

the National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

NPR’s Washington, D.C., affiliate WAMU will lay off 15 staffers in a shift away from digital publishing, while adding back another 10 to refocus its effort on audio offerings, including an app, Axios reported Friday.

The move will shutter local news site DCist completely. WAMU also plans to launch new podcasts, a new local radio show and live events, station general manager Erika Pulley-Hayes told Axios. New hires will focus on audio specialists and producers.

“We’re making the choice to invest in what we’re better at than anyone else in this town, and that’s audio,” Pulley-Hayes told the site.

The station told Axios its research suggested that WAMU carries stronger brand recognition than DCist. It plans to “elevate WAMU’s biggest voices,” including “The Politics Hour” host Kojo Nnamdi, and expand its politics unit outward to Maryland and Virginia.

It will also expand its arts and culture programming.

Staffers were bracing for bad news on Thursday as they were informed the offices would be closed on Friday in lieu of an all hands meeting, and the social and digital platforms would not be publishing.

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