WNYC Names Nsikan Akpan Health and Science Editor
Read more in this note from WNYC’s Editor In Chief Audrey Cooper:
Let’s start 2021 with some terrific news: We have found an extraordinary journalist to join the WNYC Newsroom as our new health & science editor. Nsikan Akpan will start on Jan. 11.
Nsikan will be a remarkable addition to our team when the New York area is in desperate need of smart health reporting. He has produced news for four different types of media. He has a passion for mentoring and a knack for seeing stories before they hit the mainstream. Most critically, he’s also funny and kind — the sort of person you want as a colleague.
Nsikan joins us from National Geographic where he worked as the science editor, overseeing COVID-19 coverage in addition to other types of science, health and technology news. His team’s work helped to shatter digital records last year, making up nearly 20% of total traffic.
Before National Geographic, he worked for more than four years at PBS NewsHour. He co-created an award-winning video series named ScienceScope and wrote a weekly newsletter that nearly quadrupled in size over two years. He and his team won a 2020 Emmy for the PBS NewsHour series “Stopping a Killer Pandemic” and in 2019 received a George Foster Peabody Award for the PBS NewsHour series “The Plastic Problem.”
Nsikan has also worked for NPR, Science News Magazine, Science Magazine, KUSP Central Coast Public Radio, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and as a writer at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University.
Nsikan has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bard College and earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University’s Department of Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine. He also holds a certificate from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Science Communication Graduate Program, which trains science experts in the journalism field.
His scientific research has included the examination of the parasite that causes Chagas disease through Tufts University’s Department of Immunology. He also studied how neurons die during strokes and identified new cell death inhibitors with therapeutic effects in stroke victims while at Columbia University. He has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience and has jointly authored three scholarly articles on neurodegeneration.
His team will include at least three reporters, including a new hire. Details on the team will be announced next week. And Nsikan (pronounced SEE-Khan) will join us later this week after a morning news meeting to say hello to everyone.
Here’s to a great start to 2021!