National Public Radio (NPR) is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization based in Washington, D.C. It is a national distributor of news and cultural programming for over 1000 public radio station across the US.
It’s most popular shows are two drive-time news broadcasts, Morning Edition and All Things Considered; both are carried by most NPR member stations, and are among the most popular radio programs in the country. As of March 2018, the drive time programs attract an audience of 14.9 million and 14.7 million respectively.
NPR manages the Public Radio Satellite System, which distributes NPR programs and other programming from independent producers and networks such as American Public Media and Public Radio International. Its content is also available on-demand online, on mobile networks, and, in many cases, as podcasts.
NPR incorporated in 1970 after the passage of the Public Broadcasting act in 1967. According to their 2017 Audited Financial statement, NPR “works in partnership with member stations to create a more informed public, one that is challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures.” In order to accomplish it’s mission, NPR “produces, acquires, and distributes noncommercial programming that meets the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression; represents its member stations in matters of their mutual interest; and provides satellite interconnection for the entire public radio system.”
NPR has a 23 member Board of Directors which is made up of 12 station managers (elected by their fellow member stations) and 11 other directors which include their President, Chairperson and 9 members of the public that are selected by the board and confirmed by their member stations.
NPR’s 2018 FY operating budget is $221 million. Individuals make up roughly a third of funding from individual donors, broken down further into station dues and membership fees. Their corporate funding is managed by NPM (National Public Media). According to their funding guidelines, corporate sponsors are not allowed to influence NPR’s coverage. NPR’s journalists have no role in selecting NPR’s corporate sponsors. Messages that acknowledge sponsors are presented on air in short announcements, and are also presented in visual and audio form on NPR.org and through their other digital services. NPR makes decisions about national corporate sponsors based on principles established by NPR's Board of Directors.
There is no list of sources that are banned from funding NPR, but there are guidelines and rules in place in regards to conflicts of interest. You can read about them here. You can read their FY 2017 Financial Statement here. You can read more about their expenditures here.
Roughly 42% of funding for NPR comes from non-individual sources such as corporate sponsors, private and public foundations, and from colleges and universities. NPR has strict guidelines on the kind of corporate sponsors they can accept. Messages that acknowledge sponsors are presented on air in short announcements, and are also presented in visual and audio form on NPR.org and through their other digital services. However, according to an article on NPR, CEO, Jarl Mohn, “has sketched out his ambition for NPR to boost revenues greatly in the next three to five years, in large part by asking more — a lot more — of wealthy donors.” Mohn has also said he wants to double NPR's revenues from corporate underwriters.
NPR has a small lobbying group, and is part of a larger lobbying group that lobbies on behalf of public media. They have been represented by the Lobbyist group, Navigators Global, specifically Philmore Anderson, Josh Finestone, and Jose Fuentes. Most of NPR’s contributions have been to Democrats, and the total they spent on lobbying for 2017 is $616,000, $299,000 of which went to Navigators Global. You can look at their OpenSecrets profiles here and here.
NPR is listed as a slightly liberal leaning organization on Media Bias. According to Pew Research Center, roughly 20% of people get their news from NPR, of which two-thirds are left leaning. People leaning to the left make up most of NPR’s audience.
Pew Research Center, Where News Audiences Fit on the Political Spectrum, 2014
Diversity of Guest Correspondents
In 2015, NPR released a 3 year analysis on the diversity of their sources. The images below are from that analysis. According to the analysis, 71% of NPR's sources were male and only 29% female. By race and ethnicity, 77% were non-latino white, 8% black, 8% Asian, 5% Latino, and 2% all other races. Looking just at "subject matter experts,"(80% of all sources) the breakdown was 81% non-latino white, 6% black, 6% Asian, 5% Latino, and 2% all other races.
NPR has released their 2017 internal diversity survey. Christopher Turpin, currently leader of the NPR newsroom, has said (in regards to the report) that he is "very proud we've made some good high-level diverse hires," which includes the deputy managing editor level. He also said "I think that we obviously have a huge amount of work to do, but I do think that within those numbers, even though those numbers have stayed fundamentally unchanged since 2013, there are some very positive signs. Obviously we're all committed to doing better." An are he really wants to improve upon is the hiring of more Latinos, saying "I think we have done a very bad job around Latinos and diversity, I think it's an area where our coverage really suffers from the lack of people who have insight into a community."
NPR took some heat from FAIR.org back in 2015 after they conducted a survey on the diversity of their board members. According to them, “Male NPR board members outnumber women 10 to 6 (63 percent male). Fifteen of the board members are white (94 percent, more ethnically homogeneous than any of the station boards studied), while only one—Caryn Mathes—is African-American. Out of the 259 total board members, 194—or 75 percent—have corporate backgrounds. Many of these board members are executives in banks, investment firms, consulting companies and corporate law firms. Some of the elite corporations include Verizon, Bank of America and Citigroup. Of the board members with corporate occupations, 66 are executives in the financial industry. Another 22 are corporate lawyers. Eleven other members appear to be board members by virtue of their family’s corporate-derived wealth, usually with a primary affiliation as an officer of a family-run charitable foundation.”
You can read about NPR’s list of scandals and controversies here. They have been accused of having both leftist and right-aligned bias. Most recently, NPR is reeling from the ouster of newsroom leader, Michael Oreskes, over sexual harassment charges in November of 2017. Christopher Turpin, NPR’s now acting Head of News, has talked about efforts to recover from the changes, which include a reevaluation of newsroom culture.
To make this scandal worse for NPR, news of the sexual harassment charges were broken first, not by NPR, but by the Washington Post and the New York Times. To address this, NPR ombudsman wrote a long article discussing why this occurred, and how to go forward. You can read about it here.
NPR does not have a dedicated CSR Rating, but Charity Navigator has given it the ratings below.
Check out the full Board of Directors.
Jarl Mohn- President and CEO
Howard Wollner- Chair of the NPR Foundation, Senior Vice President, Retired, Starbucks Coffee Company
Wollner was a Senior Vice President of Starbucks Coffee Company. During his time there, he also held the position of Senior Vice President of Administration where he oversaw the joint venture with Pepsi and Dreyers. He additionally served as Senior Vice President Strategic Business Systems for Starbucks Coffee International, and as Senior Vice President of Store Concepts. Before that, he was the President of C&B Consulting. He served on the board of IslandWood, the Seattle Foundation, and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. He is currently on the board of the Contemporary Jewish Museum located in San Francisco.
Fabiola Arredondo- Managing Partner, Siempre Holdings
Arredondo is a Managing Partner of Siempre Holdings (a private investment firm). She has been elected by the NPR Board of Directors to his second three year term as Public Director of the NPR Board. Fabiola is also a non-executive Board Director of Burberry PLC, Rodale Inc., a Board Trustee of Sesame Workshop, and a member/ former Co-Chair of the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund. She has also been a non-executive Board Director of Experian Group, Saks Incorporated, the Intelsat Corporation, Bankinter S.A., and the BOC Group PLC. She has held senior operating roles at Yahoo! Inc., the BBC, and Bertelsmann AG. Fabiola has also been a term member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the World Economic Forum.
Chris Boskin- Media Company Consultant
According to NPR’s bio, Boskin's board and advisory affiliations include: Board of Directors and Co-Founder, CalMatters.org; Board of Directors, Gladstone Institutes; Board of Directors, Internews; Board of Directors, Tech4 Global Security; Advisory Board, Higher Ground; and Advisory Board, Care2.com. Boskin was a member of the CPB Board from 2006-2012, serving as Chair from 2007-2009. She also served as Vice Chair of the CPB Board and as Chair of the CPB Digital Media Committee. She helped found Higher Ground, a recreational rehabilitation program for disabled soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fred Dust- Senior Partner, IDEO
Dust serves on IDEO.org's Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Trustees for the Sundance Institute, and the Board of Directors at The New School.
Gary J. Fernandes- Chairman and President, FLF Investments
Fernandes been Chairman and President of FLF Investments since 1999. In 1998, Mr. Fernandes retired as Vice Chairman of Electronic Data Systems Corporation (EDS) after serving as Senior Vice President of EDS from 1984-1996, and as Chairman of A.T. Kearney from 1995-1998. He served on the board of directors of EDS from 1981 to 1998. He also serves as a director of North Texas Public Broadcasting, Inc. (KERA) as of 2014. Fernandes is an advisory director of MHT Partners. Mr. Fernandes was a director of BancTec, Inc., and he has also been on the board of 7-11 Inc., in addition to being non-executive Chairman of eTelecare. Fernandes has also served on the Board of Governors of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and as a trustee of the O'Hara Trust, the Hall-Voyer Foundation.
Paul G. Haaga, Jr.- Chairman of the Board, Retired, Capital Research and Management Company, Chair of the NPR Board of Directors
Haaga is the retired chairman of the board of Capital Research and Management Company. He was a Vice Chairman for the American Funds Group and Chairman of Capital International Fund. In 2014, he became a Charter Trustee of Princeton University. Haaga was a partner in the law firm of Dechert Price & Rhoads, and was a senior attorney for the Division of Investment Management of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He is a member of the Executive Committee (Chairman 2002-2004, Vice Chairman 2004-2006) of the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute. Haaga serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. He is a trustee of The Huntington Library, a member and Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School (Chairman 2007-2013); and a trustee of Georgetown Preparatory School. He was also the chairman of the Investment Companies Committee of NASD Regulation.
Jacqueline Reses- Head of Square Capital and Chief People Officer of Square
Reses is the head of Square Capital and Chief People Officer for Square. Prior to Square, Reses was the Chief Development Officer at Yahoo. Reses was also on the Board of Directors of Alibaba Group. Reses led the U.S. media group at Apax Partners from 2001 to 2011 before joining Yahoo!. She also spent seven years at Goldman Sachs (1992-1999) in mergers and acquisitions and the principal investment area. She is on the advisory board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Board of Directors of the Wharton School.
Jeff Sine- Co-Founder and Partner, The Raine Group
Sine is co-founder and partner of The Raine Group. Prior to founding Raine, Sine was Vice Chairman and Global Head of Technology, Media & Telecom Investment Banking at UBS Investment Bank. Before that (1991), Sine was Global Head of Media Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Sine was an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell. Sine is a member and past Chair of the Board of Trustees of American University, licensee of NPR Member station WAMU. He also is a current board member of The Manhattan Theatre Club, The International Radio and Television Society, The Museum of Television and Radio Media Center, ITHAKA, and Educational Testing Service.
Carlos Watson- CEO and Co-Founder of OZY Media, Inc.
From Bloomberg: “He is the Founder of gbt Capital, LLC. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. He Co-founded Achieva College Prep Services in December 1996 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, from 1995 to 1997, he worked as a Consultant at McKinsey & Company He was an Editor of the Stanford Law Review and President of the Stanford Law School Student Government. He co-anchors MSNBC's 2 p.m. news program from NBC headquarters at 30 Rock. His television career is built on a broad and impressive background. In 2003, he (who had written for The Miami Herald and The Detroit Free Press, he was recruited into television, first as host of CNBC's The Edge with Carlos Watson. From there, he went on to one of CNN's main political analysts during the 2004 election, co-anchoring the cycle's major events including election night alongside Wolf Blitzer, Jeff Greenfield and Larry King. He has been a Director of Nord Anglia Education, Inc. since March 2014. Before joining MSNBC in late 2008, he hosted his own award-winning interview series Conversations with Carlos Watson, earning an Emmy, a Gracie and two Telly Awards.”
John S. Wotowicz- Managing Partner of Concentric Capita
From NPR: “Wotowicz was Vice President, Head of Global Business Development and a member of the Global Management Committee of Dimensional Fund Advisors focusing on firm management as well as the development of new strategies, relationships, and products. Prior to joining Dimensional, John was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley where he founded Europe's leveraged finance industry and was ultimately responsible for oversight of the firm's European investment banking business as a member of the European Investment Banking Operating Committee. Wotowicz was also one of the architects of Morgan Stanley's global lending business and was a member of Morgan Stanley's Global Credit Commitment Committee. He graduated from Duke University with a major in Public Policy Studies and was first a lobbyist, then an award-winning marketing representative for IBM in Washington, D.C. He graduated Columbia University School of Law as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. In addition to serving on the NPR Board, Wotowicz currently sits on the boards of numerous not-for‐profit institutions including New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art, where he is the Board Treasurer, and Marfa, Texas-based contemporary arts foundation Ballroom Marfa. John was also a founding board member of the Austin, Texas-based Texas Tribune.”
Here is a sample Meeting Agenda.
Regular meetings of the NPR Board and its committees are open to the public.
The rules of the meetings are as follows:
“1. Members of the public are welcome to attend open meetings of the NPR Board of Directors. (The Board of Directors addresses confidential and proprietary matters in executive session. Executive sessions are not open to the public).
2. The NPR Board of Directors typically has a very packed agenda for its meetings. We ask members of the public who attend open session meetings to respect the Board’s need to move through its agenda without interruption.
3. NPR will entertain requests to address the Board of Directors during open sessions of the Board. Requests to address the Board must be received by NPR’s Board Liaison at least an hour prior to the start of the open session.
You may request an opportunity to address the Board either by delivering an email to the NPR Board Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org or by submitting a written request to the NPR Board Liaison at the mailing address listed above. Please include a brief description of the subject you wish address and your contact information (so we know how to reach you).
4. In considering requests to address the Board of Directors, NPR may take into account, among other things: the amount of time available in the meeting, the number of individuals seeking to address the Board, and other business before the Board.” NPR
Check out the leadership list in full here.
Jarl Mohn- President and CEO
Michael F. Beach- Vice President, Distribution
Beach oversees the Public Radio Satellite System® (PRSS). The PRSS distributes more than 450,000 hours annually of news, music, and specialized programming to over 1,600 public radio stations throughout the US.
Deborah A. Cowan- Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Cowan is currently a director on the nonprofit boards of Consumer Reports and the National Education Association Foundation, where she chairs the audit committee and is a member of the investment committee. She previously worked at IBM as a Finance Manager.
Stacy Foxwell- Vice President, Operations
Foxwell “oversees an administrative team of executive assistants and operations managers that support NPR's senior leadership team, its shows, its hosts, and its offices in DC, NY, Chicago, and Culver City, CA. In addition, she oversees the Facilities and Security operations that manage NPR's owned and leased properties across 10 locations and over 500,000-square feet.”(NPR) In 2016, she created the Public Media Village for which she won NPR's Success Award for Diversity.
Marty Garrison- Vice President, Technology Operations, Distribution, and Broadcast Engineering
Garrison oversees the Information Services, broadcast engineering, Distribution divisions as well as the Public Radio Satellite System. Garrison served as the senior vice president of global technical operations at Turner Broadcasting System for over 10 years, where he was responsible for all aspects of the technological infrastructure for TBS, Time Warner Corporate, and CNN. Garrison is the recipient of the 2013 Radioworld Excellence in Engineering award and is also a current Board Member of the North American Broadcasters Association.
Sarah Gilbert- Acting Vice President, News Programming
Gilbert is the Acting Vice President for News Programming at NPR. Sarah Gilbert was a journalist for ITN, then shifted into production at BBC. She went on to serve as Executive Producer for Americana before shifting over to NPR.
Meg Goldthwaite- Chief Marketing Officer
Goldthwaite served as Chief Marketing Officer for Conservation International. She is responsible for it’s award-winning Nature Is Speaking campaign. She has done work for Women for Women International and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. During her time at the World Wildlife Fund, she brought Earth Hour, a WWF's climate change initiative, to the US.
Anya Grundmann- Vice President, Programming and Audience Development
Grundmann was a 2013 Fellow in the Sulzberger Leadership program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In 2002-2003, she was a Fellow in the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University. She co-directed the NEA Institute for Classical Music and Opera writers.
Jonathan Hart- Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel
Hart represents NPR in all legal matters and serves as legal advisor to the President and CEO, Board of Directors and Foundation Trustees, and NPR management. He also serves as NPR's Chief Ethics Officer and as Secretary to the NPR Board of Directors.” (NPR) Hart was a founder of the Online News Association. He was on the faculty of the Stanford Professional Publishing Courses and has been on the faculty of the Yale Publishing Course since 2010.
Thomas Hjelm- Chief Digital Officer
Hjelm spent three years at NBC Local Integrated Media as Senior Director of Content Strategy and Business Operations. Hjelm served as as Creative Director and Director of Broadband Services at AOL. He joined NBC Entertainment in Burbank as Senior Producer of its then fledgling interactive media group in 1995. In 1998, he became Executive Producer of NBC.com. After leaving NBC in 2000, he was Executive Producer of two venture-backed entertainment startups, LivePlanet and Flixer. Hjelm is a Director of Podcast Media, LLC, (a collaboration of NPR, New York Public Radio, WBEZ Chicago and This American Life) which acquired the audio platform Pocket Casts as of 2018. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Greater Public.
Gemma Hooley- Vice President, Member Partnership
Hooley worked in South Africa for the U.S. State Department in the office of the United States Information Agency as a cultural affairs and press specialist from 1990-1996.
Kerry Lenahan- Vice President, Product
Lenahan served as a digital expert with the U.S. Digital Service in the White House. Lenahan was the Vice President of Product Management for LivingSocial.
Michael Lutzky- Vice President, Business Development
Lutzky is an accomplished photojournalist. His work was recognized by the National Press Photographers Association, the White House News Photographers Association, and has received several Pulitzer nominations. Lutzky joined the international strategy and management consulting firm McKinsey and Company in 2006. In 2008, he became the director of product development and then global director for sports at the Associated Press. At the Associated Press, Lutzky received the Chairman's Prize, for innovation to AP and the news industry. Most recently, he was the principal and founder of Oveo Solutions.
Loren Mayor- Chief Operating Officer
Mayor previously she held the role of Vice President of Strategy and Ventures at PBS, where she had served since 2008. Prior to joining PBS, Mayor was employed by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting for five years, rising to the position of Vice President of Media Strategies and Technologies. She consulted for three years for McKinsey & Company.
Matt Myers- Vice President, Brand and Marketing
Myers worked at Chevrolet then moved to United Airlines. After, he worked for the Educate Inc/Laureate Education collection of companies.
Mike Riksen- Vice President, Policy and Representation
“Riksen's first positions were in Congress, serving as press secretary, legislative assistant, and legislative director for two Michigan Republicans. He next worked for more than two decades as a business lobbyist for Fortune 500 companies developing successful legislative and regulatory approaches to international trade, export control, and technology policy issues in addition to building internal corporate political action and fundraising resources. Riksen has been the creative force behind boosting public radio's advocacy efforts. He led the establishment of public broadcasting's first online advocacy site, Tell Them Public Matters, which has since been re-launched and rebranded as Protect My Public Media. Riksen has since led efforts to build out Community Voices, public radio's station engagement platform to enable support for stations to move more deeply into the communities they serve and to find expression in the voices of community leaders and enthusiasts. Riksen also led a successful effort to win congressional approval of $78 million for public radio's programming interconnection system, which included $5 million to move the interconnection operations center to NPR's new headquarters. Riksen was recently appointed by NPR CEO Jarl Mohn to be NPR's representative on the Board of Managers for National Public Media, a public media sponsorship entity for national and regional offerings on NPR and PBS stations and digital assets.”
Joel Sucherman- Vice President, New Platform Partnerships
“During his tenure he has developed a growing number of strategic partnerships with Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft, and other technology partners, and has shaped and implemented public radio's growing presence on voice-activated platforms such as Alexa, Assistant, Siri, Bixby, and Cortana. As Vice President, New Platform Partnerships, Sucherman is responsible for driving NPR's and public radio's leadership in audience reach, engagement, and revenue across these and other emerging technologies. Prior to working in public radio, Sucherman helped transform the national newspaper USA TODAY into a multiplatform newsgathering media company. He was an early "backpack journalist" who founded the first streaming video group at USA TODAY. Sucherman has his roots in radio as a former Capitol Hill correspondent in Washington, D.C.”
Christopher Turpin- Acting Senior Vice President, News, and Editorial Director
“Turpin became a senior manager and member of the executive committee at Internews in 1998. As a producer, Turpin has contributed to many reports and series that were awarded with the industry's top honors including a 2003 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for NPR News coverage of September 11, 2001, attacks; a 2005 duPont Award for Radio Diaries' "Mandela: An Audio History" and a 2009 duPont Award for coverage on All Things Considered of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province in China. Coverage of the earthquake in China also earned a 2008 George Foster Peabody Award for Turpin and the rest of the NPR staff following this story.”
Stephanie Witte- Chief Development Officer
Witte served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Development for Health Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also the former Executive Director of Development at Columbia University Medical Center.
Keith Woods- Vice President, Newsroom Training and Diversity
Woods joined NPR in 2010 after 15 years at the Poynter Institute, of which five of those years he spent as its dean of faculty.
Elizabeth Jensen- Ombudsman/Public Editor
Jensen is a former contributor to The New York Times. She also wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review and was a recurring contributor to Current. She reported on the media for The Los Angeles Times, and was honored with an internal award for a story of the last official American Vietnam War casualty. She was a senior writer for Brill's Content, spent 6 years at The Wall Street Journal, and spent several years at the New York Daily News. In 2005, Jensen was the recipient of a Kiplinger Fellowship in Public Affairs Journalism at The Ohio State University.
Gina Garrubbo- President and CEO of NPM
Garrubbo was CEO of Garrubbo & Company. She was Senior Vice President of Hearst Magazines' Totally Global Media. Garrubbo served as Executive Vice President of Revenue for Oxygen Media, Executive President of Women.com, and Divisional Vice President of Sales for Discovery Communication. She is a Co-Chair of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Audio Committee, which creates standards and best practices to improve transparency within the audio marketplace. She is also board member of the Social Media Advertising Consortium (SMAC). Check out her Bloomberg profile here.
Bryan Moffett- Chief Operating Officer of NPM
Moffett is a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Podcast Working Group.
NPR is one of the few media and news organizations that still employs an Ombudsman. An Ombudsman is an official appointed to investigate individuals' complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities. NPR’s Ombudsman is Elizabeth Jensen. She runs an entire section on NPR and discusses ethics, NPR focused news, and retractions.
NPR has created an employee handbook/ethics guidelines section of their website. It splits it’s ethical topics into Accuracy, Transparency, Fairness, Completeness, Honesty, Independence, Impartiality, Accountability, Respect and contains special sections like how to handle Anonymous Sourcing, Diversity, Social Media, Speaking Appearances, and Visual Journalism.
Back in 2015, NPR stated that “Currently, 8 percent of NPR listeners are Latino, 7 percent are black and the vast majority of the rest are white.”
Type of company
Private and publicly funded 501c(3) non-profit.
N/A. However, NPR and Politifact did do a fact check team-up back in 2011/2012 together.
NPR has won many awards including 36 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, 62 George Foster Peabody Awards and 23 awards from the Overseas Press Club of America.