Ellin O’Leary has worked as a journalist since starting out in college radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She grew up a New Yorker. As a cub reporter, she covered the White House and Capitol Hill and she was NPR’s first west coast correspondent. She was a leader of the organizing effort that unionized all NPR reporters working outside of Washington DC.
As a News Director, she worked for KPFK in Los Angeles, Inner City Broadcasting in the Bay Area and at KQED she was the radio news director who led the format change from classical music to all-news and an Emmy-winning TV documentary producer. Ellin’s work has focused on the intersection of media, community-building, equity and entrepreneurship. She was a co-founder of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, Pacifica National News Service and the founder of Youth Radio, and a co-founder of its new iteration, YR Media.
For the past 26 years at YR, she has had the joy of working on behalf of the dreams of diverse young people — believers in equity, diversity, the creative life and truth in media. YR has won dozens of awards including: two Peabodys, a Columbia du Pont, four Edward R. Murrow Awards and a White House Arts and Humanities Award given by Michelle Obama. Working with the YR Media board and staff, youth and community, in 2005 Ellin spearheaded the purchase and development of 1701 Broadway, YR’s 20,000 sq ft. production center in Downtown Oakland which is now the HQ for our national, non-profit, youth-driven media enterprise.