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GM compensation fund approves 24th death claim

Another death has been added to the toll from accidents involving General Motors cars with a defective ignition switch.

Twenty-four of the death claims filed to the company’s victim compensation program have been deemed eligible for payment, according to a weekly update posted on the program’s website.

The program is being run by Kenneth R. Feinberg, the lawyer who has overseen compensation funds for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings, the Virginia Tech shootings and other disasters.

GM has given Feinberg sole discretion to determine the number of eligible claims for deaths and injuries associated with the faulty switch, which can cause power to cut out in a moving car, disabling air bags, power steering and power brakes.

GM recalled 2.6 million cars that could have the faulty switch this year, more than a decade after engineers inside the company first spotted a problem.

As of last Friday, the compensation fund had received 1,130 claims, 165 of them for wrongful deaths. Most of the claims are still under review, many of them with requests for more evidence. The latest update showed no change from the previous week in the number of injury claims declared eligible — 16 overall.

—Hilary Stout, The New York Times

Major reorganization at NPR as chief content officer leaves

NPR is losing a chief content officer and gaining a chief operating officer as part of a major reorganization of the media organization three months into the tenure of its chief executive, Jarl Mohn.

Kinsey Wilson, NPR’s chief content officer and the architect of its digital strategy over the last six years, will leave at the end of the week and will not be replaced, NPR said Monday.

In addition to overseeing new programs like the midday show “Here and Now,” Wilson led the development of the NPR One mobile app, which was introduced in July. He also put together a deal making NPR the first news service on Apple’s iTunes Radio.

Those who felt NPR in the past had been caught flat-footed as its audience migrated to mobile and digital platforms widely admired Wilson’s initiatives.

However, some managers at NPR’s local member radio stations have been unhappy, concerned that donations will fall if listeners bypass them to get their favorite shows.

In a telephone interview, Mohn praised Wilson’s digital strategy and said, “We are going to continue to move in that direction.” But the platform listeners use “doesn’t mean anything if the content is not the best it can be,” he said, adding that “we are going to focus on making it that way.”

Digital operations will now report to Loren Mayor, who had been senior vice president of strategy and was promoted to the new chief operating officer position. Mayor will be charged with running NPR’s daily operations.

Mohn praised her recent work developing NPR’s first strategic plan in a decade and helping put in place a balanced budget, the company’s first after several years of multimillion-dollar losses.

As a result of Mohn’s intention to focus his own activities on content, fundraising, local station relations and audience development, NPR’s news operations will now report directly to Mohn, although he will not be involved in daily editorial decisions.

NPR is searching for a new head of news, after Margaret Low Smith left in July to run live events at The Atlantic.

—Elizabeth Jensen, The New York Times