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NPR names execs to oversee news, online content

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WASHINGTON (AP) - NPR's new chief executive named two public radio executives Friday to lead news and programming at the network's Washington headquarters, elevating the network's digital chief to oversee all content.

Gary Knell announced he was promoting Kinsey Wilson to the new role of executive vice president and chief content officer. Wilson joined NPR in 2008 from USA Today to lead the digital media division. Wilson will oversee all radio news, programming and digital content in the new role.

Knell also appointed Margaret Low Smith to permanently lead NPR's news division and its staff of nearly 400. Smith was a longtime producer of "All Things Considered," NPR's evening news program and most recently oversaw the network's programming division for talk radio programs.

Smith has been acting in the lead news role since January 2011, when Ellen Weiss left the top news post after the firing of commentator Juan Williams. An internal investigation found that incident was mishandled.

The appointments represent Knell's first major changes at NPR since he arrived in December from Sesame Workshop, the producer of TV's "Sesame Street." Knell replaced Vivian Schiller at NPR after controversies in 2010 and 2011 stemming from the firing of Williams and the release of an undercover video of a fundraising executive criticizing tea party conservatives.

Knell said having these two journalists in top posts will help NPR innovate and evolve with its member stations.

The role of Keith Woods, NPR's vice president for diversity, also will be expanded to work with member stations to push for greater diversity in audience, staffing and content, Knell said.

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