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NPR logo NPR
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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

, formerly National Public Radio, is an American radio producer and distributor that specializes in news, public affairs, and cultural programming.

NPR was launched in 1970 as a collaboration among the nation’s public-broadcasting stations. It is , but instead a central news organization that produces, licenses, and distributes a variety of programs to its member stations.

NPR has about , including . In 2013, before its most recent round of staff cuts, it had .

NPR’s flagship news programs are and , which air each weekday morning and afternoon, respectively. NPR also such as and and distributes other in-depth news talk shows such as , , and , as well as cultural programs including , which . It also produced the public affairs call-in show  through 2013, when it after 21 years.

Despite the “public” in its name, very little of NPR’s funding comes directly from the U.S. government — came from all levels of government as of the late 2000s. Nearly half of comes from dues and fees from member stations, and about the same amount comes from corporate underwriting, foundations, and grants. In 2003, it was given by , the wife of former McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc. It was the largest gift any news organization has ever received. The gift funded a newsroom expansion, and most of the money went into an endowment.

NPR began as a relatively small news organization but in scope and ambition during the 1980s and 1990s, moving from music programming into more newsgathering. It has seen over the past decade, with its listenership .

NPR has been for its , but it has also been as , and . Its audience is largely .

It has also faced criticism over a perceived , highlighted by two controversies in 2010 and 2011. In October 2010, NPR over remarks he made about Muslims while a guest on the Fox News Channel, and in March 2011, an NPR fundraising executive was making disparaging remarks about the Tea Party, in an undercover operation orchestrated by the conservative filmmaker . In both cases, NPR’s handling of the incidents drew rounds of from (including its ) as well as for the organization to . In the wake of the latter incident, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller under pressure from the organization’s board. Her successor, Gary Knell, to take a position at the National Geographic Society. He was by former MTV and E! executive Jarl Mohn.

In 2008, NPR — 7 percent of its staff — and eliminated two programs, Day to Day and News and Notes. NPR then made in 2009. The cuts were blamed largely on a drop-off in corporate underwriting. It faced an in 2013 and intended to cut 10% of its staff in order to balance its budget by 2015. Three months later, it announced it was receiving from four foundations and three individuals to improve its reporting on education and global health and develop a new listening platform.

Digital media initiatives

In 2005, NPR , the first mainstream news organization to do so. Its podcasts are among the most popular on the web, with . Its audience for podcasts is than its radio audience.

NPR has also into crowdsourced and open-source media online. Over the past several years, it has created its own , created a , to allow users to create their own NPR-based applications and , and asking its readers to on Twitter. It has worked with Codecademy to in using its API. NPR has also been very active on Twitter and , earning praise particulary for senior strategist Andy Carvin’s in early 2011. In 2014, it issued social media guidelines stating that retweets on Twitter should be viewed as endorsements. NPR has also worked with some of its member stations to produce locally personalized web headlines for users.

In 2008, NPR began in multimedia journalism through a $1.5 million grant from the Knight Foundation.

In early 2010, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting it would create five regional journalism centers focusing on local reporting through partnerships with PBS and NPR stations. The centers would feed content to national shows on both broadcasters through a $7.5 million grant with an additional $3 million contributed by the stations.

In fall 2010, NPR launched a $3 million initiative called the Argo Network, which initially featured 12 local news sites that focus on single issues. NPR worked with stations to share blogging best practices and streamline the web design and development. CPB and the Knight Foundation provided funding. As that funding expired at the end of 2011, NPR planned to continue the initiative and expand it beyond the 12 pilot sites. In January 2012, the Argo platform was through open-source technology, and its has also been made public.

NPR is also working with American Public Media, Public Radio Exchange, Public Radio International, and PBS to that will allow public media organizations to share content with each other and with other outlets.

NPR’s launched in 2007 and . NPR released an in 2010, along with an iPad-friendly version of its website. It has also created an . As of April 2011, NPR’s iPad, iPhone, and Android apps had been downloaded more than five million times. The organization created a news app team in 2012. In November 2011, NPR launched Infinite Player, a web app that played a stream of stories based on the user’s preferences, similar to the Pandora music service. It also  to develop a new app-based listening platform, which was initially launched as NPR One, a personalized app that superseded Infinite Player.

NPR of a new nonprofit news organization called NewOrleansReporter.org in 2012. The organization is run in conjunction with the University of New Orleans.

Former NPR CEO Vivian Schiller said she for NPR content online.

Planet Money

In May 2008, This American Life (a show distributed by Public Radio International) and NPR’s All Things Considered aired “,” a explaining the global financial crisis. The program quickly became by far the .

The story received and was named by NYU as one of the decade’s .

It was soon spun off into a regular NPR podcast and blog, both called , dedicated to explaining economic issues in comprehensible and engaging ways.

Peers, allies, & competitors:
BBC News, PBS, , , ,
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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: July 31, 2014.
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