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'Morning Edition' Says Goodbye To Ellen McDonnell

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Many people gathered here at NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C., last night to say goodbye to one of our own. Ellen McDonnell is leaving. If you don't know that name, you should. She's been involved with this program and other parts of NPR News for 35 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: That's an old version of the theme of this program.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Ellen McDonnell was an original staff member when MORNING EDITION debuted in 1979. She rose to become executive producer of the program and then executive editor of all radio programs.

INSKEEP: Here's one way you can think about Ellen's role at NPR News. If you hear something you hate on the radio this morning, you are welcome to blame us.

MONTAGNE: If you hear something you love on this program, give a good part of the credit to her.

INSKEEP: She's an energetic, straight-talking force of nature. We had many honest conversations that will never be repeated on the air here.

MONTAGNE: Absolutely not. Our own Cokie Roberts described Ellen McDonnell as a manager who had a rare talent for putting round pegs in round holes. Now she's moved to another chapter in her life and losing no time. Yesterday, Ellen's last, she attended meetings like any other day and today, she boards a flight for vacation in Europe.

INSKEEP: In 35 years, Ellen McDonnell never lost the ability to remember what matters most. There's a show today. It's a chance for us to share information with you, to connect you to a little piece of the world. And whatever happens, we'll be back trying to do it a little better tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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