Boise & Garden City

NPR plans to open Boise Bureau in the fall, with Kirk Siegler relocating from L.A.

Kirk Siegler
Kirk Siegler NPR

National Public Radio has national correspondents based in Seattle and Portland — and starting this fall, they’ll have one in Boise, too.

Kirk Siegler, who has covered the “rural-urban divide” out of the NPR West Bureau in Culver City, California, will be opening the Boise Bureau.

This has been in the works for several months, said Vickie Walton-James, senior supervising national editor for NPR.

“Kirk spends a lot of time traveling around the West covering rural issues,” Walton-James said in a phone interview from her home in Northern Virginia. “We thought it was smart for Kirk to live closer to the communities he’s covering.”

It also better positions him for covering the 2020 campaign season.

“As we cover the country during the campaign season, leading up to the election, we’re going to want all of our correspondents to talk to people across the country about their lives and what they’re interested in from candidates, and their hopes and dreams for this country,” Walton-James said.

Siegler was involved in ongoing coverage of the recovery of Paradise, California, which was destroyed by the Camp Fire. He shared his experiences in covering that story at Storyfort during the Treefort Music Festival last March.

National Public Radio has 17 bureaus across the country. Many are single-correspondent offices, including Portland, Seattle, Austin, Dallas and Philadelphia. Boise will be the same.

Siegler, who grew up in Missoula, Montana, and graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Colorado Boulder, enthusiastically announced the new Boise Bureau on Twitter Wednesday.

“Boise is at the center of one of America’s fastest growing — and shifting — regions, home to a lot of broader national trends from housing to politics,” he tweeted. “Much more to come.”

National Public Radio has 260 member stations, including Boise State Public Radio.

Walton-James said Siegler will be based at Boise State Public Radio, which has offices in the Yanke Family Research Park, 220 E. ParkCenter Blvd.

Boise State Public Radio General Manager Tom Michael told the Statesman Thursday he’s excited that Siegler chose Boise over other larger intermountain cities, such as Phoenix, Denver and Salt Lake. Those hub cities have many more non-stop destinations.

“It seems that Kirk has been watching our positive growth — not just across the Treasure Valley, but specifically at Boise State Public Radio and at Boise State University. He knows that Boise is great jumping-off place to tell the untold stories of our region,” Michael said via e-mail.

Last year, Michael launched the Mountain West News Bureau, which is a collaboration of six public media organizations in five states.

“We have not yet talked about how we will be working together,” Walton-James said. “When you combine NPR national correspondents with member stations, it’s pretty formidable national reporting for us. We’re always looking to collaborate with member stations.”

Will this mean more national stories about Boise?

“He will continue his beat of covering rural communities,” Walton-James said of Siegler. “While I would imagine he’d do some stories about Boise specifically, his job is to cover rural communities across the West and even beyond.”