Keith Woods

Keith Woods is Vice President of Newsroom Training and Diversity at NPR. He leads NPR's training team, which works with journalists in the NPR newsroom and those at more than 260 member stations across the country. The team helps strengthen and support the work of journalists by training them in leadership, storytelling, reporting, editing, diversity, audio production, and digital strategy.

The team works with all journalists, from interns and new newsroom hires to veterans looking for ways to broaden their experience and career paths. Woods is part of NPR's newsroom leadership team and works with NPR and member stations to build a system-wide "culture of journalism," part of a larger collaborative journalism effort underway throughout public radio.

He came to NPR in 2010 to lead the organization's corporate diversity strategy and has worked with the newsroom on a multi-year effort to increase the diversity of sources. He has trained the staffs of more than 30 public media stations from Canton, New York, to Anchorage, Alaska.

Before joining NPR, Woods was Dean of Faculty of The Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida. There, he led a dynamic faculty and taught for 15 years in seminars on race relations, diversity, ethics, reporting, and personal essay writing. He is co-author of The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity.

Woods has worked to help professionals, faculty, and students better understand and handle matters of diversity through workshops at dozens of journalism schools, radio stations, newspapers, and television stations across the country. While at Poynter, he chaired two Pulitzer Prize juries.

He is a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Dillard University and the Tulane University School of Social Work. He is a former sports writer, news reporter, city editor, editorial writer and columnist, working his way through those jobs in 16 years at the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Editor's note: NPR this week has described the language in President Trump's tweets about a group of Democratic congresswomen as "racist."

Keith Woods, NPR's vice president for newsroom training and diversity, argues that journalists should not be using the term "racist" to describe the president's tweets. He explains why below.

Update: On May 23, 2018, the NFL unveiled a new policy stating that all of its athletes and staff "shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem" if they're on the field. The following essay was published in August 2016, shortly after quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel in protest during the national anthem.

This piece originally ran in September, 2016, when Colin Kaepernick was still with the San Francisco 49ers.

Daddy would not have liked Colin Kaepernick. Had the San Francisco quarterback refused to stand for the national anthem in my father's presence, Daddy would have fixed him in a stare that could freeze the blood in your veins. Then, to no one in particular — but to everyone within earshot — he'd give the young man a two-sentence lesson in patriotic etiquette.

My sons remember the bitter cold. And they remember the warmth.

They felt it on the toasty subway car jammed to the doorsills with people at 5 a.m., smiling a knowing smile at strangers riding with us from Columbia Heights to the National Mall and Barack Obama's second presidential inauguration.

Daddy would not have liked Colin Kaepernick. Had the San Francisco quarterback refused to stand for the national anthem in my father's presence, Daddy would have fixed him in a stare that could freeze the blood in your veins. Then, to no one in particular — but to everyone within earshot — he'd give the young man a two-sentence lesson in patriotic etiquette.

"You stand during the national anthem," he'd say, punctuating his words with fire. "People died for that flag."