NPR creates investigative team for breaking news

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NPR’s top news executive Nancy Barnes is moving forward with her plans to bolster investigative journalism at the network. 

NPR is recruiting for five positions on a breaking news investigation team that will work to uncover “significant and ground-breaking stories connected to the major news events of the day,” according to the job postings. The team will comprise three reporters, a producer and a supervising editor. 

“The goal here is to break more stories exclusive to NPR while delivering journalism that affects change by holding politicians, businesses, and the powerful to account,” Barnes said in an email to staff obtained by Current.

An anonymous donor gave NPR $1 million to support its investigative work, Barnes said in the email. 

At the Public Radio Program Directors conference in August, Barnes told PDs that she wants NPR to “break more original stories, have more distinct coverage lines that you might not find at the New York Times and the Washington Post.”

“Some days, we’re covering all the news that’s breaking and not uncovering a lot of news,” she said.

In her email to staff, Barnes said the network is pursuing a grant that would allow NPR to support data journalism at local stations. NPR would hire two data reporters/editors along with an editor with investigative experience. 

“Data is the backbone of many of our most important stories and we hope to build on NPR’s current efforts, while supporting our Member stations in their most important local stories — stories that often develop into national ones,” Barnes wrote.

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