NEW ORLEANS — WWNO-FM has hired its first news director after a months-long search as the station moves to expand its scope of coverage on air and online through a project called the New Orleans News Initiative.

Public-radio veteran Eve Troeh will begin in the role in April, WWNO general manager Paul Maassen said.

Troeh comes to the station, New Orleans’ NPR affiliate, from Los Angeles, where she reports for American Public Media’s “Marketplace” business news program, but she is not new to the city.

She began her radio career here in 2000 while working as an associate producer and editor for “American Routes,” a nationally syndicated music and culture radio show. She also worked in the city as a radio-news reporter covering Hurricane Katrina. She moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to work for “Marketplace.”

In her new position, Maassen said, Troeh will oversee coverage of the day’s biggest local stories and find unique features that the station’s listeners expect. The station will file some news for use on national NPR broadcasts, Maassen said.

Troeh will initially have freelance reporters and will work with the station’s existing on-air staff, but Maassen said he hopes to be able to build the newsroom’s ranks as more money is found through grants and other avenues.

WWNO, which is operated by the University of New Orleans, will continue several partnerships with other local media, including The Lens and NolaVie, in an effort to broaden its offerings while the newsroom develops, Maassen said.

For years, WWNO played mainly classical music for the majority of its broadcast day.

That changed recently when it was reformatted to carry more local and national public-radio news and information shows. Maassen said research found that listeners used the station more for that purpose.

“This is kind of a way for us to develop it (the new format) more,” Maassen said of the addition of a news director.

While he said funding will dictate the size of the newsroom, he hopes to grow it as large as possible.

“We’d like to get as many (reporters) as we can,” he said.