Lessons from NPR

NPR is the US public broadcaster. Uri Berliner has worked for them for 25 years and has written a thoughtful piece on how they lost their way. There are lessons here for other broadcasters.

  • In 2011 their listeners were 37% liberal and 26% conservative, in 2023 it is 67% liberal and 11% conservative
  • Was unbalanced on Russiagate interviewing Adam Schiff 25 times, and not covering well the conclusion there was no collusion
  • Ignored the Hunter Biden laptop story as it could help Trump
  • Dismissed the possibility that Covid-19 was a lab leak, now deemed likely
  • Decided that America is systemically racist their mission was to change it
  • Diversity became the “North Star” for NPR
  • Union contract requires journalists to follow language and style guide of journalism affinity groups such as MGIPOC (Marginalized Genders and Intersex People of Color mentorship program) and Gender-Expansive, and Transgender People in Technology Throughout Public Media
  • Have been instructed to avoid the term “biological sex”
  • With the Israel-Hamas war, highlighting the suffering of Palestinians at almost every turn while downplaying the atrocities of October 7 and overlooking how Hamas intentionally puts Palestinian civilians in peril
  • At NPR HQ they have 87 registered democrats on staff and 0 registered republicans
  • Despite the diversity push, no increase in black or hispanic listeners. Has become media for urban white progressives

He ends with some good advice for the new CEO:

Her first rule could be simple enough: don’t tell people how to think. It could even be the new North Star.

As I said, many things in his article have relevance for NZ media.

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