NPR's Northeastern Bureau Chief Andrea de Leon Will Receive PRNDI's 2017 Leo C. Lee Award

Feb 3, 2017

PRNDI is celebrating 2017 as “The Year of the Editor,” and there is no better way to bring that message home than to honor one of the finest editors working in public media today.  We are pleased to announce that Andrea de Leon is the 2017 recipient of the Leo C. Lee Award.

De Leon is best known to many as NPR’s Northeast Bureau Chief, a post she has held since 1999.  Andrea started her career as a work-study student at North Country Public Radio while attending St. Lawrence University. She worked at KLCC in Eugene, Oregon before returning to the northeast to take a job as a reporter at Maine Public Radio in 1986.  In 1989, she was promoted to news director and later that year she joined the PRNDI Board. She served as the organization treasurer for several terms.  De Leon was elected to PRNDI board again in 1998 and stepped down in 1999 to take her current position at NPR. She has edited and helped cultivate the work of hundreds of member station reporters as well as editing national correspondents.

“In 17 years as a Bureau Chief at NPR, Andrea de Leon has helped increase the NPR profile of member station reporters and freelancers. She has been a tireless advocate for off-the-radar stories. She has nurtured and trained reporters,” said Howard Berkes, NPR Investigations Correspondent. “She knows that NPR’s journalism is stronger when it reflects all of America and she knows America benefits when NPR’s journalism involves stories and reporters from every corner of the country.”

“Our mission in public radio is to work together to inform the American public,” said Michael Oreskes, Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director at NPR.  “These collaborations could not be possible without talented editors like Andrea, the work she does with our team and newsrooms across the country, showcasing local voices and telling important stories, is a fundamental part of how we serve the public. We are thrilled to see her get this well-deserved honor.”

“Andrea is an enthusiastic, steadfast and careful editor, consistently demanding solid story structure, substantiated facts, and timeliness,” said Naomi Starobin of WHYY. “She has always been a supportive partner to news directors and reporters in her region, helping new ones get on board and trained and communicating important messages consistently. She’s proof that the NPR-member stations system can be robust and effective.  I’ve been grateful for her sense of humor, too!"

“Stories glue cultures together,” said de Leon.  “It sounds foolish to say it, but often the greatest reward is the work itself, helping a reporter find the arc of a story, making meaningful connections between events.  Every day we give our audience a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes, to understand just for a moment what it might be like to be that person.  The Leo C. Lee award validates my very strong feeling that this is all essential work. I’m so grateful to PRNDI for sharing that belief.”

Andrea de Leon will be awarded the Leo C. Lee award on Saturday June 24 at PRNDI’s conference in Miami.