Podcast producer Josh Crane and musician Myra Flynn will join VPR’s newsroom as engagement producers later this month, the station has announced.
They will support the creation and community of Brave Little State, VPR’s award-winning, people-powered journalism project, as well as help incubate new engagement reporting efforts across the VPR newsroom.
Josh Crane is a podcast producer at WBUR in Boston, where he produces Endless Thread, a podcast exploring stories found on Reddit. Prior to WBUR, Josh produced LBJ’s War, a documentary podcast series and national broadcast hour about how the former president lost his way in Vietnam. He also worked at PRX. His reporting and producing have won numerous awards, including a national Edward R. Murrow award.
“Even while living in Boston, Brave Little State has always been at the top of my podcast playlist so I can feel more connected to my favorite state,” Crane said. “It’s a true honor to join VPR and grow the show, as well as find new ways for Vermonters (and Vermonters-in-waiting!) to connect with VPR’s incredible journalism.”
Josh is a graduate of Middlebury College and the Transom Story Workshop for audio storytelling. When he’s not making radio, he’s probably out in the woods with his dog or cheering for the Celtics.
Myra Flynn is an accomplished musician who has toured and performed throughout Vermont. She also has experience as a teaching artist and wore many hats at the Burlington Free Press, including features reporter and correspondent, before her pursuits took her deep into the arts world. Myra recently moved back to Vermont after spending the last eight years in the Los Angeles music industry. Her husband, Phil Wills, and her one-year-old baby, Avalon, are happily in tow.
"I believe songwriters and journalists have much in common. Both are documentarians of the people and our times. Both are eager to wrap words around massive emotional or newsworthy subject-matter but are tasked with condensing them into small, digestible, palatable pieces for the public,” Flynn said. “Engaging journalistically with a state and community I have known my whole life is an awesome responsibility that I am honored to take on. I am especially interested in listening. To you. All of you, and especially those of you who may be underrepresented."
The new positions will allow VPR to expand its commitment to engagement journalism, bringing the audience further to the center of its daily news operations. Since its founding in 2016, Brave Little State has received far more listener questions than the show can answer — and in the past year, the station has received a deluge of urgent questions about the pandemic, the mechanics of voting and Vermont’s racial reckoning.
"We see a greater need for responsiveness to our audience beyond the framework of Brave Little State, and an opportunity to improve the fundamentals of our engagement process across platforms,” said Angela Evancie, director of engagement journalism and executive producer of Brave Little State. “I can't wait to see how Brave Little State grows and changes with Myra and Josh in the mix — and I'm likewise looking forward to working with them to innovate outside the BLS format.
“As VPR prepares to merge with Vermont PBS, we plan to do even more outreach and listening, and create new spaces and connections in our coverage. I know our current and future listeners will benefit from Josh and Myra’s creativity, passion and deep commitment to the audience.”