Made possible with lead support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Heather and Paul Haaga, Jr., the collaboration aims to better serve the existing public media audience while also making a multi-platform push to reach new, diverse groups throughout the Gulf region.
"It is an honor to have the responsibility to build a team and shape coverage in a part of the country with so many important stories to tell," Neely said.
Neely will be based at WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama, and will work closely with Gulf States Newsroom partner stations WWNO in New Orleans, WRKF in Baton Rouge and Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson, along with NPR.
Neely comes to the Gulf States Newsroom with a rich mix of local and national experience. Most recently, she reported and produced long-form narrative stories for Reveal. Before that, Neely was a senior reporter at Member station KPCC in Pasadena, California. Her reporting on Black infant and maternal health won several awards. She also spent time working on NPR's weekend All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation shows.
"Priska's journalism chops and collaborative style are well known and respected throughout the public media community," said Chuck Holmes, executive director at WBHM in Birmingham, the lead station for the regional newsroom. Paul Maassen, general manager at WWNO and WRKF, added that through Neely's "dynamic vision and keen news sense, our stations will greatly increase our ability to cover the important issues and tell the unique stories of our region."
Ronnie Agnew, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, praised Neely's ability to "search for truth, demand accountability, and develop engaging and compelling content across multiple platforms."
"NPR is delighted to be a partner in this groundbreaking initiative and excited that Priska has agreed to lead it," added Nancy Barnes, NPR's SVP of News and Editorial Director. "She is part of a super-talented cohort of emerging editorial leaders who are going to transform public media for a new generation of audiences."
This regional newsroom is one of four that NPR and Member stations have built together, in the Gulf States, Texas, California and the Midwest.