Let us celebrate the fact that we are debating how much NPR ratings have gone up, instead of how much they’ve gone down. Yay!
That said, NPR put out a crowing press release this week, headlined “NPR Sees Large Ratings Increase,” that I think made a complicated and perhaps unknowable situation seem a lot simpler — and perhaps a little rosier — than it really is.
(Hey, press releases gonna press release; it’s not like it was masquerading as a news article.)
On this week’s episode of The Pub, I invite NPR audience development chief Israel Smith and researcher Susan Leland to really flesh out the numbers and speculate about what’s driving them.
There are many factors to consider: network-station collaborations to improve the content and promote it better; methodological changes to how Nielsen collects ratings data; and, of course, the most bonkers election in living memory.
Also, in the Opening Shot, I talk about the abortive prosecution of Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman and whether the First Amendment really does grant special rights to journalists (short answer: no).
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.