The Curious Listener: Down On The News? We've Got You Covered. : NPR Extra We all know news can sometimes be a downer. Luckily, whether it's news or puzzles, or news-puzzles, NPR's got something to pique everyone's interest. Check out this exchange between NPR Listener Services and Danielle, a young Curious Listener who was pretty bummed out on her initial listens to NPR.
NPR logo The Curious Listener: Down On The News? We've Got You Covered.

The Curious Listener: Down On The News? We've Got You Covered.

The Curious Listener logo.
Katie Burk/NPR

We all know news can sometimes be a downer. Which is why this week we're featuring a listener letter that doesn't quite fall in the 'fan mail' category. It's from Danielle, a young Curious Listener who was pretty bummed out by some news reports that introduced her to NPR.

We appreciate hearing all perspectives on our work – even if they make us wince a little. Luckily, with over two dozen programs, NPR's got something to pique everyone's interest in one way or another. And that goes for listeners of all ages – and moods!

So whether you're new to NPR programming like Danielle, or a lifelong fan, we want you to know all of what we offer - shows, live specials, podcasts, apps and more. Read on to see what might be up your alley:

I was assigned with other students to listen to NPR for a week - I am 17 years old, soon to graduate. We were told we would have a "new" learning experience and widen our appreciation of the world.

Now, after the week is up, I must tell you that I have never listened to a more depressing program - all you do is broadcast downers: I turned on the radio this morning and the reporter was going to give a report on Haiti and went back into the files to give all the original grim reports. "That's the way the world is", I'm sure you're thinking. Sure, but we hear this from every direction. If I want to be depressed, I don't need NPR.


Skyforest, CA

Dear Danielle,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and share your views.

While we're pretty big fans of the news, we agree with you: Hearing about some current events can be pretty grim, and while focusing your listening only on our news programming will definitely be informative, it could also be a downer. In our newsmagazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, we try to start each two-hour program with a focus on the more serious news, and then end with lighter pieces. Sometimes, as your note makes clear, our balance is a little to the serious side for some peoples' taste.

That's why I'm delighted to tell you that we also have a lot of other radio programs and digital content that focus not only on the lighter side of news, but also on stuff we think is pretty interesting. For instance, we maintain a food blog called The Salt, which not only shares recipes but also recently gave an overview of several giant (yet somehow kind of funny) food spills worldwide; Ask Me Another, a quiz show that features puzzles, trivia, and more nerdy music than you can shake a stick at, all in front of a live audience; The Picture Show, a blog that features photography we find amazing, like these photos of birds caught mid-flight; TED Radio Hour, which presents a new way to look at innovative ideas (if you have a chance, listen to the episode "Where Ideas Come From" - it's a personal favorite); Snap Judgment, a radio show that bills itself (fairly, I think) as "cinematic, dramatic, and kick-ass radio" - the episode "The Stranger" is really good; and last but by no means least, we have NPR Music, an entire department dedicated to finding and sharing really great music in every genre out there.

We completely understand that your first teacher-assigned experience of NPR might not have been a great one. But we hope if you give us another chance, you'll see that we're more than "depressing".

We are always delighted to hear from listeners. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance, and we'd love to know if you give any of our programming a listen.

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


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