The Curious Listener: An Executive Debut : NPR Extra This is NPR is kicking off a new series, "The Curious Listener," with one of our most common listener questions: Why Mr. Obama?
NPR logo The Curious Listener: An Executive Debut

The Curious Listener: An Executive Debut

The Curious Listener 220x220
Katie Burk/NPR

UPDATE: See the latest on NPR broadcast style for talking about the President of the United States, here.

Subject: Presidential Reference complaint


I am a staunch supporter of NPR, but I take exception to your news readers referring to PRESIDENT OBAMA as Mr. Obama. Please, it is only one syllable more to say President Obama, and it does give him the respect and the title he deserves. Please post this on your "things to correct" memo board. Thank you!

From Harold in Wooster, OH

Dear Harold,

Thank you for contacting NPR.

We appreciate your thoughts regarding NPR protocol in referencing the President of the United States.

For decades, it has been the broadcast practice of NPR to refer to the President by title on first reference and simply by "Mr. (last name)" or as "the President" for subsequent references within the same report.

We encourage you to view this column by the NPR Ombudsman for additional information about our policy:

Thank you for listening, and for your continued support of public broadcasting. For the latest news and information, visit

NPR Audience Partnership

Are You Curious?
Katie Burk/NPR

Send your questions about the inner workings of NPR, something you heard during a program, or anything else NPR-related to NPR Listener Services. Your question and the answer might even end up on the This is NPR blog.

Did you know that every week, 26.4 million people tune in to NPR programs and newscasts? That's a lot of listeners, and they tend to ask some pretty insightful questions about NPR staff and programming, as well as general questions about NPR life. So interesting, in fact, that we are going to start sharing these questions and their answers provided by NPR Listener Services, right here. We're kicking off this new series, "The Curious Listener" with one of our most common questions: