David Folkenflik Folkenflik is NPR's media correspondent.
David Folkenflik 2018 square
Stories By

David Folkenflik

Liz Linder/NPR
David Folkenflik 2018
Liz Linder/NPR

David Folkenflik

Media Correspondent, NPR News

David Folkenflik was described by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, once gave him a "laurel" for reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.

Based in New York City, Folkenflik serves as NPR's media correspondent.

His stories and analyses are broadcast on the network's newsmagazines, such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Here & Now, and are featured on NPR's website and mobile platforms. Folkenflik's reports cast light on the stories of our age, the figures who shape journalism, and the tectonic shifts affecting the news industry. Folkenflik has reported intently on the relationship between the press, politicians, and the general public, as well as the fight over the flow of information in the age of Trump. Folkenflik brought listeners the profile of a Las Vegas columnist who went bankrupt fending off a libel lawsuit from his newspaper's new owner; conducted the first interview with New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet after his appointment; and repeatedly broke news involving the troubled Tronc company, which owns some of the most important regional newspapers in the country. In early 2018, Folkenflik's exposé about the past workplace behavior of the CEO of the Los Angeles Times forced the executive's immediate ouster from that job and helped inspire the sale of the newspaper.

Folkenflik is the author of Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. The Los Angeles Times called Murdoch's World "meaty reading... laced with delicious anecdotes" and the Huffington Post described it as "the gift that keeps on giving." Folkenflik is also editor of Page One: Inside the New York Times and the Future of Journalism. His work has appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, Politico Magazine, Newsweek International, the National Post of Canada, and the Australian Financial Review. Business Insider has called Folkenflik one of the 50 most influential people in American media.

Folkenflik joined NPR in 2004 after more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun, where he covered higher education, national politics, and the media. He started his professional career at the Durham Herald-Sun in North Carolina. Folkenflik served as editor-in-chief at the Cornell Daily Sun and graduated from Cornell with a bachelor's degree in history.

A five-time winner of the Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism from the National Press Club, Folkenflik has received numerous other recognitions, including the inaugural 2002 Mongerson Award for Investigative Reporting on the News and top honors from the National Headliners. In 2018, the Society of Professional Journalists recognized Folkenflik with its 2018 Ethics in Journalism Award. In 2017, Penn State University named Folkenflik as the nation's leading media critic with the Bart Richards Award. He also served as the inaugural Irik Sevin Fellow at Cornell. Folkenflik frequently lectures at college campuses and civic organizations across the country and often appears as a media analyst for television and radio programs in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Ireland.

Story Archive

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, shown here addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2017, has been placed at the center of a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems over false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential elections. MIKE THEILER/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
MIKE THEILER/AFP via Getty Images

NPR news chief Nancy Barnes will leave the network in November. She announced her departure on the same day that NPR said it would hire a chief content officer to oversee both news and programming. Wanyu Zhang/Wanyu Zhang hide caption

toggle caption
Wanyu Zhang/Wanyu Zhang

CNN's Don Lemon is trading his 10 p.m. slot for the morning show, part of an overhaul announced by CNN's new leader Chris Licht. Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins will co-anchor the new show. STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

A look at Chris Licht's first few months as CNN's chairman and CEO

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1122123594/1122123595" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Among the stars being questioned under oath for Dominion Voting Systems' defamation suit against Fox News are Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo. Banners bearing their images hang from Fox Corp. headquarters in New York City, first, second and fourth from left, respectively. Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Fox producer's warning against Jeanine Pirro surfaces in Dominion defamation suit

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1121187542/1121201373" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Australian site challenged Fox's Lachlan Murdoch to sue after he accused it of libel

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1118843680/1118843681" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch, shown above in 2019 in Sun Valley, Idaho, is threatening to sue an Australian news site for defamation over a June 29th column about rhetoric on Fox. In the U.S., Fox News is defending itself against two defamation suits, saying "Freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected." Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

An inspector general said the the investigation of officials at U.S. Agency for Global Media conducted by a private law firm for former CEO Michael Pack was a "waste or gross waste" of taxpayer money. The law firm charged the agency more than $1.6 million. The officials under review by Pack, shown above at a party earlier this year with Steve Forbes, were later exonerated. Patrick McMullan/PMC via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Patrick McMullan/PMC via Getty Images

CNN host Brian Stelter, shown in this photograph from 2018, tells NPR he is departing the network after it canceled his media analysis show "Reliable Sources." He had hosted the show for nine years. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Republicans loyal to Trump express outrage over the FBI's search of his home

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1116688929/1116688930" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Fox News Channel and other conservative media largely leapt to former President Donald Trump's defense after the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago resort. Here, Fox star and ally Sean Hannity (left) interviews Trump before a campaign rally in 2018 in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Analysis: Fox and right-wing media snap to Trump's defense after FBI search

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1116579204/1116668147" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Right-wing media is coming to Trump's defense over the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1116591052/1116591053" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

U.S. President Joe Biden stands next to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) outside of the White House on June 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Win McNamee/Getty Images