The following letter to the editor was submitted to Politico for consideration for publication (update: the letter was posted at Politico on July 26):
In a recent Politico piece, "Juan Williams on NPR" (July 21, 2011), the former NPR contract journalist mischaracterized our news organization and called into question our journalistic standards.
NPR is a newsgathering organization devoted to in-depth reporting and exceptional storytelling. NPR is fair and open-minded about the issues, stories and people we cover. We have no agenda. Editorial decisions are made independently in the newsroom, and are never influenced by funders or donors. Dialogue is at the core of our programming and our mission to promote a deeper understanding of our world. According to a 2010 Pew survey, NPR was the only news organization in the country whose credibility ratings have increased consistently since 1998. Our programming and our journalists have earned every major journalism award. Our correspondents operate from 17 foreign news bureaus and 16 domestic, while many other media organizations are slashing their newsrooms. All of our content is free and accessible everywhere in the U.S. For all these reasons and more, our digital audience doubled in the past two years, and 27 million people and counting tune into our broadcast programming on NPR member stations every week.
We stay on the story when others have moved on. We cover what commercial media tends to ignore. Our member stations are over 900 strong – they are rural and urban, East Coast, West Coast and everywhere in between. They bring listeners important news from their own community, the nation and the world – as well as music not available on commercial radio. They are there to keep people informed during emergencies.
We believe that NPR and our member stations are an antidote to many of the problems our nation is having with public discourse. We provide fact-based perspectives and civil debate, not just in Washington but all over the country. We represent ideological diversity and encourage discussion. Our reporting reflects these values every single day – in the civility of our programming, the range of opinions we reflect, the professionalism of the people who produce this work, and the breadth and depth of stories we tell.
What we broadcast and publish at NPR is the work of journalists who go out and learn the facts, and challenge them and each other. Their work is systematically and repeatedly vetted by a team of skilled editors and producers.
We are proud of our programming, our reporters and our ideals. We stand by our work and will continue to work with our stations to produce and present world-class journalism that serves the public.
Dana Davis Rehm
SVP, Marketing, Communications and External Relations