Vermont Public Radio has hired journalists Connor Cyrus and Mikaela Lefrak as the new co-hosts and senior producers of Vermont Edition, the station has announced.
Connor Cyrus is a morning reporter at WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island. A graduate of Lyndon State College (now Northern Vermont University), he started his reporting career as an intern at WPTZ, later working for WAGM in Presque Isle, Maine and WCAX Channel 3, where he covered a broad range of stories from Vermont’s dairy industry to the nurses’ strikes at UVM Medical Center. He’s passionate about journalism’s ability to shed light on complex or difficult topics, as well as giving voice to underrepresented communities.
“One of the reasons I became a journalist was for opportunities like this one: the chance to make a difference and guide the conversations on the important topics in Vermont," Cyrus said. "I’m thrilled to be returning to Vermont for everything the state has to offer.”
When he isn’t working, Cyrus is exploring the region, checking out restaurants, vineyards, and staying active. He loves finding hidden gems, especially the ones that involve food (and maple syrup).
Mikaela Lefrak is a reporter and host at WAMU, the NPR member station for the greater Washington, D.C. region. She hosts What's With Washington, a podcast exploring the quirks and mysteries of the D.C. region, and 51st, a podcast miniseries about D.C.'s fight for representation. Her reporting has aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. She has won two regional Murrow Awards and a Public Media Journalists Association Award for her work.
Prior to WAMU, Lefrak was an editor at The New Republic, where she produced politics and culture podcasts. She has also produced at PRI’s The World and GBH Boston, and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Oakland, California.
Lefrak is a graduate of Middlebury College, and received a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University. Outside of work, she loves watching baseball, playing softball, reading, biking and scouting out the closest place to buy french fries.
“It's hard to put into words how thrilled I am to be joining the talented team at VPR,” Lefrak said. “As someone who loves local news, public radio and Vermont in equal measure, co-hosting Vermont Edition is a truly dream gig. I’ve long admired VPR as a leader in local journalism and audio storytelling and I look forward to laying down roots and amplifying the voices of Vermonters.”
Cyrus and Lefrak will take over for Jane Lindholm, who is stepping down from the program after 14 years to focus full time on VPR’s children’s program But Why and special news projects. Her final show is March 25, although listeners will continue to hear her voice on the air as a contributor to VPR special news coverage.
Vermont Edition Managing Producer Lydia Brown said the change marks an opportunity to reimagine the program and improve its public service to Vermonters, while strengthening the core elements that have made it essential listening.
"Not often is a team presented with an opportunity such as this: to bring on not one, but two incredible journalists and push the boundaries of what it means to be a public affairs program,” said Brown. “Connor and Mikaela each bring a unique voice and set of experiences, and a commitment to reporting on Vermont—from the ordinary to the extraordinary—in an even more comprehensive, representative manner."
Cyrus and Lefrak will begin their hosting duties this summer. The program is developing an interim plan for the spring and early summer.