NPR must change to survive.
The challenges we've seen in our industry and our country as a result of the pandemic, the economic crisis, racial injustice, and increased polarization driven by misinformation make the need for our public service journalism and cultural programming more acute. The changing face of America makes our need to reach a broader and more diverse audience more essential. And the shifting ways in which audiences engage with us make the need to adapt and innovate more urgent. Yet our impact on the public is also more apparent than ever: we see it in the record-breaking audiences to our platforms, the relevance and quality of our work, and the loyalty of audiences across the many communities of public radio.
Over the next three years, we'll come upon opportunities we cannot yet imagine and face challenges greater than any we've seen. The ensuing changes will be lasting and the consequences of not innovating will be dire. We must be bold and ambitious, doing an untold number of things for the first time. To be successful, we must also recognize that we cannot do everything. We must make difficult and strategic decisions that advance our goals, and stop working on initiatives that don't support our key priorities. With this plan, we'll be ready.
NPR's key strategic priority over the next three years is to "Diversify Our Audience to Reflect, Serve, and Inspire America."
We must expand NPR's audience to reflect what America will look and sound like in 2021 and beyond, attracting a more diverse audience to our journalism and cultural content, with an emphasis on Black and Hispanic audiences on all platforms. This expansion helps fulfill our higher mission to reach and inspire all citizens with our trustworthy work reporting, producing, acquiring and distributing news, information and other content that meets the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression.
The four supporting pillars to help NPR realize this priority include:
- Optimize Content And Products To Meet Audiences Where They Are
- Realize The Power Of Local/National Network For An On-Demand Future
- Transform Workplace Culture
- Diversify And Grow Revenue Models
NPR's key strategic priority and its four supporting pillars
The Four Pillars
Optimize Content And Products To Meet Audiences Where They Are
We must continue to develop and execute a preeminent journalism and cultural programming strategy and the products that support it. We must experiment and innovate in the face of change, rise to the occasion of a global crisis, continue to solve critical needs for our current and future audiences. It is no longer a matter of bringing them only to our world of broadcast. We must meet our new audiences on multiple platforms and in the myriad ways they consume audio. And we have to mount an aggressive marketing strategy to let them know where and who we are.
Realize The Power Of Local/National Network For An On-Demand Future
We must strengthen the work of the Station Compact and build NPR and the network of Member stations into one impactful, powerful and united media enterprise. We have the unique power of local, regional and national news reporting and storytelling and must align around a shared strategy for its distribution. Now is the time to fully realize and use that strength to beat our competitors.
Transform Workplace Culture
We must create a culture that supports our strategy and the aspirations of NPR and all who work here and break down systemic barriers to equity and inclusion. We must define the future of work and our workplace, leaning into the inevitable change as an opportunity to reset the conversation. We must commit to transparency from NPR management, accountability and communications to build more trust between NPR staff and management, and create opportunities for staff to have a voice at every level of the organization.
Diversify And Grow Revenue Models
We must evolve to live up to our mission and that means growing our existing revenue opportunities while discovering new sources and models. We must optimize existing revenue streams, seizing new business opportunities and partnerships while reducing dependence on station fees by realizing the Station Compact.
For more information, check out the full Strategic Plan.