Public media orgs begin effort to ‘raise journalistic ambition’ through newsroom surveys

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NPR, PRX and Public Radio News Directors Inc. are surveying public media stations about how their newsrooms handle internal ethical issues.

Sent to newsroom leaders this week, the survey is part of an effort to develop common standards and practices for public media. It asks leaders how they make corrections and enforce social media policies, among other questions.

Respondents will also be asked to complete surveys focusing on talent, leadership, workflow and public perception. Donna Vestal, director of content at KCUR in Kansas City, Mo., and Shula Neuman, executive editor at St. Louis Public Radio, helped write the surveys.

The surveys, sent by a “Culture of Journalism team,” are part of an effort “to raise journalistic ambition and expertise across the public media system,” Terry Gildea, executive director of PRNDI, said Wednesday on the organization’s website. The team met with more than 40 news leaders in St. Louis and Phoenix earlier this year, he said.

Responses will help clarify where public media is strong “and where we need improvement,” Neuman said. “We hope to use this information to create ways to learn from each other and improve the strength of our journalism system-wide.”

As NPR works to build a news network with member stations, the surveys “will help us all better understand what are the strengths of the Member Station/NPR system and what areas need work,” said Mark Memmott, NPR’s standards and practices editor.

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