Meet Katie Colaneri, NHPR's new senior editor of podcasts
Katie Colaneri is NHPR’s senior editor of podcasts, leading the newsroom’s narrative podcast unit, the Document Team. NHPR’s Document is a narrative podcast that has been gaining critical recognition not only in NH, but nationally. Katie supervises members of the Document team including Jason Moon and Lauren Chooljian who produced several of NHPR's most popular podcasts: Bear Brook which has been downloaded more than 13 million times and called one of the best podcasts of the year by The New Yorker magazine; and Stranglehold, a podcast examining why the small state of New Hampshire is still fighting for its position as the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
Katie joined NHPR in February after almost nine years at WHYY in Philadelphia, where she helped lead the newsroom as the assistant news director. During that time, she grew the station’s podcast portfolio, most recently the 2021 Peabody-nominated series Half Vaxxed. Before discovering her true passion as an editor, Katie was a reporter covering a variety of beats including energy, climate change, income inequality, and politics.
Here, we ask Katie to tell us a little about herself, and her approach to leading the team.
What brought you to NHPR?
Simply put, they were offering my dream job: leading a team of smart, creative journalists to do ambitious, longform audio storytelling with impact. Who could turn that down?
I was drawn by NHPR’s commitment to fearless, in-depth local journalism, especially its significant investment in podcasts. The fact a public radio station of NHPR’s size has its own narrative podcast unit within the newsroom – to say nothing of the stellar creative teams behind Outside/In and Civics 101 – is extraordinary within the system.
Since coming to the station at the end of February and getting a look under the hood, so to speak, I’ve only become more impressed by the incredible talent here, bolstered by leaders who are quick to get to “yes” and try new things. Listeners can be proud of how the station is using its resources to serve listeners across the region and the country.
What is your vision coming up for the Document Team?
I’m looking forward to expanding the subjects Document tackles. So far, the first three seasons of the podcast happened to focus on serious issues in the criminal justice system. And while we’re not done with the criminal justice system just yet (and that’s all I’ll say on that topic!), we’re already thinking deeply about other topics to explore in future seasons – hopefully some that allow us to have a little fun, maybe even laugh sometimes! Part of that is inviting more members of the NHPR newsroom into the Document Team’s process and paving a way for them to pitch their ideas to us.
We have the opportunity to tell deep stories, how does that affect the way you choose your subjects?
The heart of the Document Team beats when we’re telling a story with details that totally stop us in our tracks. A story that totally surprises us, that gives listeners a more nuanced picture of something they thought they understood – or perhaps never thought much about. The stories we choose are also rooted in important issues facing New Hampshire and the region that we know people across the country are curious about, too.
What has been some of the content that you're excited or most proud of?
Without a doubt, Document reporter Lauren Chooljian’sinvestigation into sexual assault and harrassment allegations against the founder of New Hampshire’s largest addiction treament network. The team received so many responses to the story, which shed much-needed light on a serious problem that has not been covered the same way elsewhere.