New leadership is coming to GBH News. Dan Lothian, executive producer of GBH’s The World, will be stepping into the new role of Editor in Chief of both The World and GBH News this June.

Since 2021, Lothian has grown The World to reach a record 377 public radio stations nationwide, and guided its team of reporters as they’ve brought audiences unique coverage from Ukraine, Israel and beyond. Dan Lothian discussed his new role with GBH All Things Considered host Arun Rath. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: Welcome and congratulations. Very excited to have you here. Give us a bit more about your background.

Dan Lothian: Do you have three hours? You know, a lot of people did not realize before I started at The World a little more than three years ago that I had a background in radio. Most of my career had been spent on television, working in local news and then at the network level at both NBC and CNN, and at the end there covering the White House.

 Rath: I saw you here on GBH TV as well.

Lothian: That’s right. We had a show that we did, The State of Race, which was a digital show that also ended up on GBH TV. I’ve been involved in a lot of TV projects, and that was where my career mostly was - except that it started in radio. I was a 16 year old, my dad was in radio, I hung out at a radio station. And it was the owner of that radio station down in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. who saw me hanging out and thought, ‘hey, let’s tap this kid to fill in in the summer since he loves this stuff.’ And the owner of that radio station was a mentor of mine until he passed away, well into his nineties, a few years ago. So I feel as if my life, my career, is being bookended by radio. I started as a teen and now here I am in radio again, obviously expanding my role now across the newsroom. I’m excited about this wonderful opportunity.

Rath: Brilliant. Talk a bit about what you’ve done with The World in the last couple of years, because I think it’s been amazing. The World was great, and I just think it sounds even better now. And you’ve also reached a wider audience.

Lothian: Thanks for saying that. The World was a great show before I came along. Marco Werman has been leading that show as the host, and all of the great work all around the world has been incredible. But one of the things that I started thinking about not long after I got to The World is, how do I change the sound just a bit? As we think about the future, as we think about what we’re hearing from some program directors - ‘hey, how can the pacing be picked up a little bit?’- we never wanted to get away from the heart and soul of our show.

I felt that one way to change things was to turn it back into a co-hosted program. First of all, Marco was doing a lot of interviews on his own each day in a short period of time, so he wasn’t really able to sink his teeth into a lot of the different briefs and so forth. I also wanted to think about opportunities to take the show on the road more, to do projects. When you have a solo host it makes it a little more difficult, so in January we brought on Carolyn Bieler, and I’ve been excited about that transition.

There are little things here and there that we’ve also done to work on the pacing, to give it a fresh sound, but we still remain committed to covering big stories around the world. More recently we did a trip to Israel. We’ve been in Ukraine. You name the place and the conflict, we have had teams on the ground. We also have our foreign correspondents who are bringing us those daily stories. But these bigger projects, these bigger efforts we can do now because of the co-host situation that we currently have.

Rath: It’s interesting and a little bit exciting thinking about your day right now. You’re going to start off with an editorial meeting in a newsroom that focuses on the world and then a newsroom that is intensely locally focused. For me, I’m kind of excited about hopefully having some more integration between GBH News and The World’s newsroom. Do you have any sense of how one might kind of integrate more with the other in terms of you doing your job?

Lothian: As you noted earlier, national and international stories all become one because so many people from around the world are right here down the street. There are immigrant communities that are part of the news cycle in terms of what’s going on either in Ukraine or what’s going on in the Middle East. So back to those news managers and program directors who have been saying ‘we really want to focus on local.’ And I’m thinking, yeah, you’re in Texas and right on the border there, and there’s an issue at the border. That’s a local story for you. It’s also an international story. And so there are so many different ways for us to work within whatever the story is in our communities and amplify that through a broader international lens. ‘This isn’t just something that’s happening here, but it’s a problem that’s happening in this country, in that country.’ We can always tie it together. So I do think that there are a lot of opportunities for us to collaborate more.

Rath: As somebody who’s been lucky enough to work in both newsrooms, I’m pretty excited. But in addition to happy stuff, there are also some challenges here, as you know. We’re excited about this good news, getting you this week. But just last week, we had a bunch of pretty painful layoffs in the newsroom and across GBH. It’s also been kind of a turbulent time at GBH News with the exit of former GM Pam Johnston. I know I’m talking to you before day one, you start June 1, but do you have a sense of how you want to tackle the challenges of the newsroom?

Lothian: I’ll answer that question by talking broadly, initially at least, about just the general climate across public media and really all media. Everyone from the CNN’s of the world to the broadcast networks, they’re all struggling to get audiences. It’s a fractured marketplace where people are consuming more and more information, young people especially, on their phones. There’s a lot on the web, and so there was this once loyal, dedicated audience that got in their car and only listened to one thing, and that’s shifting. We see that happening across the entire landscape. Public media obviously has been hit because in tough times, sponsorships evaporate, or at least are less than we’ve seen in past years. That’s the reality of it.

 When I accepted this role, it’s not like I didn’t know what’s happening right here in the newsroom and what’s happening at GBH. I’m not going to come in and hit a switch and have this magic wand and things are going to change overnight. There are some really tough realities of the economics of the industry. That leads to a lot of unhappiness and dissatisfaction sometimes within newsrooms.

But what I know I can hang my hat on is that we have great journalists who are in our newsroom. So it’s about providing everyone with the right tools, the right resources, the motivation in order to continue to do great work, but even to try some new things - and how to do all of it in a more efficient way. I can’t ignore that there are problems. I hope that if we focus on the work in front of us - figure out ways to motivate everyone to even take their work to another level, for us to be excited about the work we do - that some of these issues that you raised, we can put them in the rear-view mirror.