NPR has canceled its summer 2023 internship program as it faces an economic shortfall caused by declining corporate sponsorship revenue, the network confirmed to Current Tuesday.
“We are committed to providing a positive intern experience and hope to be able to reinstate it soon,” NPR said in a statement provided by spokesperson Isabel Lara. “Interns and fellows remain a vital asset to our content and culture—many of NPR’s best-known journalists, hosts and executives started as interns. We fully understand the value of this program for NPR and the public radio system.”
NPR CEO John Lansing announced last month a hiring freeze and cuts to discretionary spending in response to the anticipated sponsorship decline. The drop presents “a severe financial challenge,” NPR said in its statement.
“We are acting quickly to address it, while preserving and protecting our critical public service and prioritizing the preservation of existing jobs,” NPR said. “Unfortunately this means we have to make hard choices and, in addition to a near hiring freeze, we made the difficult decision to cancel this summer’s internship program.”
NPR pays interns $16.10 per hour, according to its website.
NPR has also delayed its Reflect America Fellowship because of the budget shortfall. The network had planned for the 2023–24 fellow to embed with its newly formed Climate Desk to “report on vulnerable communities, particularly Indigenous communities.”
“We may yet fill it in the calendar year 2023; it all really depends on how the budget looks,” Lara said in an email.