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

Luke Medina/NPR
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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 set diversity as NPR's number one priority: to grow the diversity of our audiences — and to be 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 on advancing 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 new 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. Diversity Manager Whitney Maddox joined the network in January to lead anti-racism workshops for NPR and Member stations and serve as an internal consultant to staff. We will be adding a Diversity & Training Coordinator by summertime. This, in addition to the Diverse Sources internship — home of the Source of the Week blog — and the new Military Veteran Journalist internship.
  • NPR-produced shows and podcasts are engaged in source tracking, an effort launched in 2013 to bring greater transparency to the diversity of voices in our coverage.
  • We have significantly expanded the diversity of the senior leadership team and the hosts of our digital and broadcast programs, bringing new voices and perspectives to our content.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We conducted a pay equity survey in 2018, and are conducting another study in 2021. As we did previously, those company-wide results and conclusions will be communicated to staff and acted upon.
  • 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.
    • 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. Current fellow Ashish Valentine has worked with reporters and producers on Weekend Edition, All Things Considered and the Business desk to include more diverse voices in their storytelling. His final three-month reporting stint is with the Race and Identity team on the National desk.

(Last Updated: Feb 25, 2021)