Loretta Williams is an independent producer, editor and reporter based in the Los Angeles area.  Loretta started her radio career at a community station in Cambridge, Massachusetts, went on to work at NPR member station WBUR, and eventually moved to D.C. to work as a producer for NPR’s Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Sunday.  Between 1999-2006, she was an editor for the arts desk assigning and working with staff and freelance reporters on stories about film, books, and television.  She has taught advanced skills in story development, writing, and production to early career journalists, many of whom went on to become regular contributors to national, regional, and local public radio programs. Her other love is science journalism. Between NPR stints she has worked for two award -winning public radio producers: SoundPrint and SoundVision Productions. For SoundPrint she reported on a wide range of topics, from wildlife conflict to cochlear implants. At SoundVision Productions, she produced and managed 14 hours of The DNA Files and the 4 hour series The Really Big Questions.  Her work can be heard as part of the public radio series Burn: An Energy Journal hosted by Alex Chadwick.  Loretta also consulted on a unique climate change reporting project in Colorado ISeeChange with Julia Kumari Drapkin. Her current project is The Great War Project, with former NPR colleagues Mike Shuster, Alex Chadwick, John McChesney,  Katie Davis and John Felton.

Bio

SoundVision Productions (July 1997-December 1998 & July 2006-June 2009)

Senior Producer: The Really Big Questions

The Really Big Questions  is a series of four one-hour programs hosted by NPR’s Lynn Neary. The shows consider the intersection of empirical science and the humanities and what that conversation can tell us about who we are and what we value.  Among the programs I developed are programs on the nature of emotions, how we face our mortality, and the mystery of consciousness.  (February 2008-June 2009)

Managing Editor: The DNA Files III

Managed five one-hour public radio documentaries on genetics, distributed by National Public Radio October 2007. Supervised team of producers, editors and technical director. Duties included, story development, creation and oversight of production schedule and budget and editorial responsibility of all program, promotion and web elements.  (July 2006- October 2007)

Managing Editor: The DNA Files I

Managed nine one-hour public radio documentaries on genetics, distributed by National Public Radio November 1998. Supervised editorial team of five producers and four editors, production manager and technical director. Duties included, story development, creation and oversight of production schedule and budget, and editorial review of all program elements. (July 1997-June 1999)

National Public Radio (August 1984-July 2006)

Editor-Arts Desk, News Division

Part of a ten-person reporter-editor unit that produced stories for Morning Edition, All Things Considered and the weekend news programs. Duties included tracking, assigning and editing news and feature stories related to movies, books, art, and media. Stories included  runaway film production, new trends in Latin American literature, breaking news on Michael Jackson’s arrest, and changes in the animation industry. Occasionally acted as field producer or reporter. (1999-2006).

Producer-Trainer, Diversity Initiative, National Desk News Training Unit

Taught early career journalists story development, writing and production. Responsibilities included program promotion, curriculum development, and on-site work with each reporter to develop and produce stories for local and national air. (1992-1994).

Producer, The Class of 2000; The Prejudice Puzzle

This series was part of a The Specials Project, a documentary unit that produced 13 stories on children and prejudice in 1990. Responsibilities included preparing the series budget, researching and assigning stories, field producing stories in Alaska, New Mexico and Washington, and editing reporters. (1989-1990).

Freelance Feature Reporter, National Public Radio

Supplemented  NPR’s San Francisco and Los Angeles bureau coverage with feature reporting. Stories included reports on a theater troupe that visits migrant worker camps, transracial adoption in San Francisco and a Los Angeles photography project (1988-1992).

Producer, Weekend Edition Sunday

Responsible for the daily organization of the show, assigned and supervised production staff, resolved programming problems, wrote and edited a segment of the show each week, and directed the weekly taping. (1987-1988).

Associate Producer/Director, Morning Edition

Began overnight as a production assistant packaging the show for air. Wrote billboards, rewrote wire copy and host introductions. Trimmed stories to time for segments. Advanced to directing newscasts, then directing daily program and producing host pieces. (1984-1987).

Soundprint Media Center (May 1995-1997)

Managing Editor

Solicited, scheduled and edited Soundprint’s weekly half-hour radio documentary series. Duties included story development, reporter assignment, and editorial oversight of series. (March 1997-Aug. 1997)

Contract Producer/Reporter

Reported, wrote and produced half hour radio documentaries for award winning weekly documentary program. Programs have included Deadly Evolution: the Virulence of Viruses and Speak Easy, Speak Not: the Debate over Cochlear Implants and Bitten By the Bone Bug, a story about dinosaurs and the arguments about their existence. (1995-1997)

Freelance-Consultant (1989-Present Day)

Newsroom Training Consultant/Fill In Editor: Colorado Public Radio

At the direction of Colorado Public Radio’s news director, edited and created training plans for staff. The goal was to strengthen overall reporting skills in the newsroom. (1996-2000).

Training Consultant

Teach one, two and three-day workshops on radio journalism and production for public radio news departments and at journalism workshops and conferences. ( 1989-present)

Experience

George Foster Peabody Award

The DNA Files II” Editor, two hours of a five-hour series.

NPR 100“, Part of the team of reporters and hosts who produced stories about the influential one hundred music works of the century.  Reported on how the song “The Great Pretender” became a hit.

duPont-Columbia Award, Silver Baton

“The DNA Files” Managing Editor nine-hour series

AAAS Kavli Science Journalism

“Particles: Nuclear Power After Fukushima”, producer and reporter for one hour special on the anniversary of the power plant meltdown in Japan

Clarion Award: Women in Communications

“The DNA Files” First Place documentary category, Editor

NPR News “L.A. Riots: First Night” producer/reporter

National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association

NPR News “Homophobia in America” First place feature category, Editor

Gracie Award: American Women in Radio and Television

SoundPrint “The Dandelion Divide: Breast Cancer on Long Island”, Reporter/Producer

American Bar Association, Silver Gavel

NPR News “Affirmative Action: The Great Divide” an 8 part series, producer

Unity Award in Media

NPR News “Plantations to Power; Japanese Americans in Hawaii”:Fiftieth Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Series, producer

Cindy Award: Society of Visual Communicators

National Education Association Award

New York International Radio Festival Award

NPR News “The Prejudice Puzzle” 13 part series, field producer for several stories

Gabriel Award

NPR News “Bill of Sale: A Black Heritage” feature story produced with Bob Edwards

Awards

A ZOO IN YOUR BACKYARD

Written and produced for Soundprint

Cougars, coyotes and canda geese are just a few of the birds and animals venturing from the wild into suburban neighborhoods looking for the easy life of garbage can meals, golf course grass and easy prey. Citizens attitudes range from calls for tolerance to outrage with little agreement about how to respond to increasing human and wildlife conflict. In this half hour program, I trek the suburban wilderness to study how humans have welcomed their animal neighbors.

REWRITING HEREDITY

Managing Editor: The DNA Files, SoundVision Productions

As part of an hour long program on genes and environment, I sent producer Jon Kalish to Long Beach, California, a place known for its high levels of ozone and smog due to the nearby port and shipping facilities. The asthma rate in Long Beach is twice as high as in the rest of California. Long Beach is part of a long-term study to determine how variations in genetic makeup may cause some people to be more susceptible or resistant to pollutants that cause respiratory illness. But as asthma researcher Donata Vercelli notes, there’s no simple correlation between genes and environment. “What we see is that a certain gene can be associated with less asthma in a certain environment, with more asthma in another environment, and with no effect in yet another environment.”  The complexity of diseases such as asthma and obesity is beginning to reveal that the most effective remedy to combat these illness may not be found in genes but rather the environment.

THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS

Managing Editor/Senior Producer for SoundVision Productions

The series considers some of the great questions of humanity. What is the nature of consciousness? How do we face death? How do emotions shape our worldview? What is the significance of religious experience?  Hosted by NPR’s Lynn Neary, in four one-hour programs, The Really Big Questions considers the intersection of empirical science and the humanities and what that conversation can or cannot tell us about who we are and what we value. I managed the series produced the hour on Emotion. To illustrate the philosophical and scientific questions about emotion,  I assigned and edited this story, reported by Alex Cohen:

Excerpts