Our Ongoing Work At NPR, diversity is not a special project — it is our core work.

Our Ongoing Work

Luke Medina/NPR
Luke Medina/NPR

At NPR, diversity is not a special project — it is our core work.

More than two years ago, NPR President and CEO John Lansing made audience diversity NPR's number one priority and began the work to make NPR the kind of organization, internally, that can deliver on that commitment. With the contributions and insights of NPR staff, we established a strategic plan that focuses on and supports that work.

Today, through the work of Chief Diversity Officer Keith Woods, Chief People Officer Selyn Hong and hundreds of staff members across NPR, we are taking concrete action to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our work and thinking.

Our work includes:

  • Diversifying our workplace, content, and audiences. That's at the center of NPR's three-year strategic plan, which is driving our work, including all the networked collaborative initiatives we conduct with our Member stations.
  • Since the spring of 2021, DEI Director Whitney Maddox has led anti-racism conversations. Called STAR – Start Talking About Race – these twice-monthly discussions provide staff opportunities to discuss the ways race and racism affect how people view, engage and invisibilize those around them. Whitney also leads NPR's ongoing effort to address inequities — historic and current — affecting women of color on staff. In May 2022, NPR's top leaders revised and re-affirmed a list of 10 commitments they made in 2021 to address the issues raised by women of color.
  • Since May 2021, Diversity & Training Coordinator Jasmine Richmond has coordinated and supported work across the DEI portfolio, making it possible for us to expand that portfolio.
  • Last year, we re-designed and re-launched NPR's Diverse Sources Database, a vetted list of hundreds of experts of color, established in 2013 and now located on the NPR Training site.
  • Since 2020, we have welcomed interns as part of a collaboration with the Military Veterans in Journalism organization. We added an internship in collaboration with the American Association of People with Disabilities in summer 2022.
  • A year ago, we launched Dex, a new platform that allows journalists across NPR to keep track of the demographics of their sources. NPR has been engaged in source tracking since 2013, but the new platform creates a seamless way for journalists to keep track of their own efforts to bring a greater diversity of voices to our audience. NPR's Research, Archives, and Data Strategy (RAD) team and our Audience Insights team continue to provide comprehensive analyses of the racial/ethnic, gender and geographic diversity of our news sources.
  • For the first time, we published our most recent sourcing data as part of our ongoing effort to be transparent and accountable.
  • We have built a strong Race and Identity reporting team, led by editor Marcia Davis, to cover stories that touch every part of the country and every part of our culture. Veteran journalist Sandhya Dirks joined the team in December 2o21. The team's work complements the analysis, reporting and commentary of the industry-leading Code Switch podcast.
  • This spring, more than 40 NPR leaders from across the company began a five-part series of leadership workshops conducted by the Maynard Institute, a leading voice in the country on diversity in media organizations.
  • We are continuing to invest in marketing and promotion of programming, including the podcasts Code Switch, It's Been a Minute, Throughline, and Louder Than a Riot, that offer diverse perspectives on important issues. Throughline, It's Been A Minute, and Code Switch have expanded their audiences across platforms, adding broadcast programs that can be heard on Member stations.
  • We continue to conduct Unconscious Bias training across the organization (mandatory for all those in management roles). We have updated our equal employment, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to use more inclusive definitions of protected characteristics and to provide clear guidance to employees on expectations and the process to raise concerns.
  • We conduct annual Workplace Culture surveys and share those company-wide results with all staff internally. Our People Team performs deeper analyses based on divisions. Improvements year over year in employee engagement and satisfaction serve as metrics for our progress. The results directly inform the work around transforming our workplace culture. NPR's focus on women of color is a direct result of feedback from the 2020 culture survey.
  • We've partnered with the Freedom Forum Institute and trained over 15  facilitators to be the leading voices at NPR for Workplace Integrity Workshops. The curriculum is designed to support and strengthen all of our DEI initiatives and improve our culture. The workshops tackle four key modules: Critical Thinking, Courageous Conversations, Allyship, and Creating a Culture of Respect and Trust.  These workshops are being taught across the organization. 
  • In 2021, we partnered with The DC Center for The LGBT Community and created company-wide training events for divisions and small groups centered around transgender and gender non-conforming identities.  In addition to these learning opportunities, the People Team created a Pronoun Guide for the organization that is also being used as a resource at several Member stations across the country. 
  • We conducted our second pay equity study in late 2020. As we did previously, those company-wide results and conclusions have been communicated to staff, and the studies have underscored the importance of our ongoing work to hire, retain, and promote women and people of color.
  • We are tracking our progress in diversifying our workforce and leadership teams, and sharing data with our employees that includes statistics on hiring, representation, and voluntary turnover to reinforce accountability and transparency in this work. This data is available to all staff members via our Intranet site. NPR has published statistics about the representation of staff on two dimensions — race and ethnicity, and gender identity.
  • We have expanded our training and development programs to provide staff and supervisors with additional tools and resources to support diversity, equity and inclusion. This includes a Fundamentals of DEI course for all employees, as well as an offering tailored specifically for managers, and we've provided LinkedIn Learning licenses for all employees, temps and interns, which provide a variety of on-demand learning resources for personal development, skills development and DEI courses. We have also created specific, topical Learning Paths within LinkedIn Learning that are required for all supervisors.
  • We are focusing our job recruitment efforts on building a more diverse workforce.
    • Since January of 2020, we have required that every finalist pool and every hiring committee have racial/ethnic and gender diversity.
    • We are using the NPR internship program to attract people of color to consider working in public media, and are using this time of virtual work to expand our reach to interns across the country. In 2021, in response to interest in an experience that offers further learning and deeper developmental opportunities for our interns, we combined the Fall + Winter internship terms into one longer program.
    • We continue our leadership of the Public Media Village, a collaborative recruiting effort at the NABJ, NAHJ, NAJA, AAJA and NLGJA conventions.
    • Consultant Doug Mitchell is continuing the NPR NextGen Radio program, which connects college journalists with professionals from NPR and Member stations across the country, with a strong focus on bringing young people of color into the system.
    • The Reflect America Fellowship, a year-long program aimed at helping newsroom and programming teams expand the diversity of their sources while introducing NPR to new, talented journalists, continues into its fourth year. Pien Huang, the inaugural fellow, now reports fulltime on health for NPR and has been a significant voice in coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ashish Valentine, the 2021 fellow, was hired as an assistant producer on All Things Considered. Miranda Mazariegos completes her fellowship year in July. The 2022-23 Fellow is Seyma Bayram.
    • Code Switch has launched two fellowships, one for early-career and one for more experienced journalists. 

(Last Updated: July 20, 2022)