NPR will add 11 staff to ‘strengthen’ editorial team

Print More

NPR will add 11 staff to “strengthen our editorial operations,” according to a note to staff Wednesday from Edith Chapin, SVP, editor in chief and acting CCO. 

The additions will include staff for the network’s Standards & Practices team and a new editorial team that will provide final review of all content before it airs or publishes. 

The changes follow the merging of NPR’s programming and news divisions into one content team in September.

“We need new structures that enable us to see across the entirety of our journalism and think about our overall coverage strategically,” Chapin said in the note, which was also posted on NPR’s website

NPR is hiring two standards editors who Chapin said will “ensure more oversight and guidance is issued, and create more bandwidth and availability for training sessions and discussion both for NPR and Member stations.”

The expanded standards team will work to ensure the standards of NPR’s Ethics Handbook “are baked into our processes,” Chapin said, which will include creating “more space to cover and discuss scenarios that directly relate to different teams and areas of work.” The team will also create an annual review process of the handbook for all employees in NPR’s content division.

Six new senior editorial positions — a managing editor, two deputy managing editors and three senior editors — will make up what Chapin called the “Backstop” team. The team will provide a final review of all journalism before it airs or is published. This team will work 24/7 and will not be involved in creating or developing pieces prior to review, Chapin said. 

Additionally, NPR will hire two content strategy analysts “to provide data and analysis of our content mix in a timely manner for editors, showrunners, and Content leadership to review and make more informed decisions.”

“We’re going to regularly look at our content in the aggregate instead of the anecdotal,” she said. 

NPR will create “new processes and technical solutions,” particularly in Nexus, a divisionwide planning tool. “Our aim is to get the entire division fully aligned in one central planning tool to increase transparency, help avoid duplicative efforts, and ensure a well-curated coverage mix across shows, desks, and platforms,” Chapin said.

The network is also hiring for a training role, she said. 

“All of these measures will enhance the content that Member stations pay us for and support their ability to answer audience questions about how we evaluate and curate our overall coverage mix,” she said. 

NPR has faced criticism in recent weeks sparked by an essay by now-former editor Uri Berliner published in The Free Press. In the essay, Berliner complained of bias within NPR’s newsroom. The essay prompted calls for defunding NPR and a congressional hearing

“Some will ask if this is a reaction to recent media discourse about NPR,” Chapin said. “Clearly we have a lot of eyes on our house right now. I am proud of our journalism and I will continue to defend our work with full force. Defending our work includes being ever-willing to take a hard look at our structures and content mix with an eye toward what we might do to further strengthen them. I swung for the fences and asked for resources I’ve long wished we had, and I’m pleased with the support we’ve received.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Chapin as CCO. She is acting CCO.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *