Reasons for Stern’s exit have more to do with dimensons of leadership than his stance on digital media

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In a New York Times story on Ken Stern’s departure from NPR, board Chairman and interim CEO Dennis Haarsager downplays the notion that Stern’s undoing was his push to put NPR content on multiple digital media platforms. Haarsager agrees that Stern’s digital agenda didn’t have wide backing within pubradio, but says the digital issue was “not a source of tension” that led to his exit. “[T]here are about 20 different dimensions you evaluate leadership on,” Haarsager tells the Times. NPR has not conducted a national search for a top executive in 10 years and decided to do so “sooner rather than later.” NPR’s latest story adds some context. “Interviews with eight current and former public radio officials suggest Stern failed to convince local stations — and especially their representatives on the board — that he saw a clear and healthy role for them in the digital future.” Robert Paterson offers some advice to the system on his blog: “Acknowledge that we are stuck and begin a conversation about why we are stuck and ask what would unstick us.”

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