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Brian Heffernan to serve as interim News Director for St. Louis Public Radio

Brian Heffernan
David Kovaluk
Brian Heffernan

Transitional news leadership plan takes effect July 31

As of Monday, July 31, Brian Heffernan will resume the top news leadership role at St. Louis Public Radio (STLPR), serving as news director in an interim capacity. The position was previously held by Ashley Lisenby, who is stepping down from the director role for personal reasons. The interim period is expected to continue through the calendar year while the search for the station’s next news director is underway.

Heffernan previously served as the interim newsroom leader prior to Lisenby’s appointment. He has been the digital and special projects editor at STLPR since 2018, guiding the newsroom’s award-winning digital news coverage at stlpr.org and leading the team responsible for data visuals and analysis, social media, engagement, photojournalism and copy editing.

As interim news director he will lead a team of editors guiding local news coverage for broadcast, podcasts, on stlpr.org and social media platforms.

"We are confident in this interim leadership plan,” said CEO Tina Pamintuan, “and appreciate the many ways in which STLPR staff have stepped up to help ensure a smooth transition and the continuation of our excellent local news coverage."

Transitional news team leadership and hires

Interim Managing Editor

Newscast editor and Rolla correspondent Jonathan Ahl will take on new duties overseeing STLPR’s day-to-day news operation as interim managing editor. Before coming to St. Louis Public Radio in November of 2018, Ahl served as General Manager for Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, Illinois. He previously was news director at Iowa Public Radio and before that at WCBU in Peoria, Illinois. Ahl has also held reporting positions in central Illinois for public radio stations.

Digital Editor

Photojournalist and multimedia reporter Brian Munoz will assume the digital editor role vacated by Heffernan during this period. Prior to joining the newsroom, Munoz worked at USA TODAY as a visual storyteller and at The Southern Illinoisan as a multimedia correspondent, where he covered a variety of beats including social justice, immigration and rural issues. Munoz’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Arizona Republic and The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. In addition, his work — both visual and written — has been recognized by several state and national organizations. He was named a ProPublica Emerging Reporter in 2019.

Staff Photojournalist

STLPR news visuals intern Tristen Rouse will stay on as a staff photojournalist. Rouse previously interned at the Washington Post as a photo editor on the newspaper’s national desk. He’s earned two degrees from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he graduated with a Masters of Arts in Journalism in May 2023.

As the Communications Specialist for St. Louis Public Radio, Fontella gets to showcase the award-winning local reporting, original programming and community engagement that make STLPR a beloved regional institution.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.