KCUR 89.3 has hired Traci Bauer to lead its news operations as the director of journalism. Bauer, who grew up in southwest Missouri, is a veteran journalist and newsroom leader with vast experience in digital transformation and strategy.
Starting with the News-Leader in Springfield, Missouri, Bauer worked her way up the management chain at several Gannett, Inc., properties. She was most recently executive editor at a news organization in Westchester County, just outside of New York City, and spent more than a dozen years in editing and digital strategy roles at The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York.
Bauer will fill the shoes of Donna Vestal, who led the KCUR news team through tremendous growth over the last six years. Vestal stepped away to oversee a national public media collaboration centered on the 2020 elections.
Nico Leone, general manager at KCUR, said Bauer brings proven leadership skills and a strong background in audience-centered journalism.
“This is a crucial time for local journalism in Kansas City and around the country,” Leone said. “We are excited to have Traci join the team as we continue to grow our service to the community.”
In her new role, Bauer will lead KCUR's team of reporters, editors and newscasters, as well as the teams that produce the station’s two talk shows, Central Standard and Up To Date.
Bauer said she is excited to join a growing newsroom.
“The KCUR news team has applied a smart, civic-minded approach, and they’re poised to tell the region’s best and most important stories without distraction,” she said. “I’m eager to roll up my sleeves with them.”
A graduate of Missouri State University, Bauer said Kansas City has always felt like home.
“Kansas City has a special place in my heart,” she said. “It was my go-to city as I was growing up, and I still frequently visit my family in Olathe.”
Bauer starts at KCUR on Dec. 10.