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.

In January of 2020, 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 have established a new strategic plan that focuses on and supports that work.

Today, through the work of Chief Diversity Officer Keith Woods, Chief HR Officer Carrie Storer 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 strategic plan, which will drive our work for the next three years, including in all the networked collaborative initiatives we conduct with our Member stations.
  • We continue to strengthen the team focused exclusively on matters of diversity. DE&I  Manager Whitney Maddox joined the network in February 2021 to lead anti-racism workshops for NPR and Member stations and serve as an internal consultant to staff. In spring 2021, she launched STAR — Start Talking About Race — conversations. These twice-monthly discussions provide staff opportunities to discuss the ways race and racism affect the ways people view, engage and invisibilize those around them. Whitney also leads NPR's current effort to address inequities — historic and current — affecting women of color on staff. NPR's top leaders announced in July a list of 10 commitments they are making to address the issues raised by women of color.
  • In May 2021, we also hired Diversity & Training Coordinator Jasmine Richmond to the team to support our new and long-standing diversity work.
  • This summer, we re-designed and re-launched NPR's Diverse Sources Database, a vetted list of hundreds of experts of color now located on the NPR Training site.
  • In 2020, we welcomed our first intern as part of a new collaboration with the Military Veterans in Journalism organization. We will soon add an internship in collaboration with the American Association of People with Disabilities.
  • In July 2021, 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.
  • We have built a strong Race and Identity reporting team, led by veteran editor Marcia Davis, to cover a story that touches every part of the country and every part of our culture. That work complements the analysis, reporting and commentary of the industry-leading Code Switch podcast.
  • We are continuing to increase our investment in marketing and promotion of programming, including Code Switch, It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, Throughline, and Louder Than a Riot, that offer diverse perspectives on important issues. Expanding their audiences across platforms, Throughline, It's Been A Minute, and Code Switch are all now also broadcast programs 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 HR 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 conducted a pay equity study in 2018, and conducted another 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 new DEI website that was created in Fall 2020.
  • We have expanded our training and development programs to provide staff and supervisors with additional tools and resources to support diversity and inclusion. This includes a Fundamentals of DEI course for all employees, as well as a new 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 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 response to interest in an experience that offers further learning and deeper developmental opportunities for our interns, we are combining the Fall + Winter internship terms into one longer pilot program this fall.
    • We continue our leadership of the Public Media Village, a collaborative recruiting effort at the NABJ, NAHJ, NAJA and AAJA 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.
    • In 2019, we created 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. Pien Huang, the inaugural fellow, helped the NPR Science desk craft a sourcing strategy. She now reports fulltime on health for NPR and has been a significant voice in coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year's fellow Ashish Valentine now works as an assistant producer on All Things Considered. Current fellow Miranda Mazariegos began her fellowship year on July 6th.
    • Code Switch launched two new fellowships, one for early-career and one for more experienced journalists. In June, the show announced that there will be three fellows — Sam Yellowhorse Kesler, Kamna Shastri, and Isabeth Mendoza.

(Last Updated: Aug 11, 2021)