$1 Million grant to support NPR’s ongoing DEI work

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$1 Million grant to support NPR’s ongoing DEI work


Washington, D.C. – WEBWIRE



NPR Foundation vice-chair Mollie Hale Carter announced today a $1 million grant to support NPR’s ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work.


“At NPR, diversity is not a program or initiative. It is an inextricable part of our mission to serve the American public,” said Keith Woods, NPR’s Chief Diversity Officer. “This generous gift will help support the four main categories of our DEI work: audience, content, staffing, and workplace diversity.”


“NPR is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workplace, just as in its journalism. From hiring and recruitment to workplace culture, NPR is focused on building a safe, inclusive, and equitable organization,” said Selyn Hong, NPR’s Chief People Officer.


“I’m extremely proud to support NPR in bringing even greater intention to ensuring a culture that both represents and serves all. As a mission-driven organization, inclusion provides the foundation for a strong and healthy future,” said Mollie Hale Carter.


The million-dollar grant will make it possible for NPR to continue its ongoing work, including the Reflect America and Code Switch Fellowships. Information about NPR’s DEI work can be found below and regular updates here:


Audience diversity


Diversification of NPR’s audience sits at the center of NPR’s strategic plan, driving priorities now and in the coming years, including collaborative initiatives conducted with Member Stations. Central to the strategy is creating content that allows audiences to see themselves and their communities represented in NPR’s reporting and storytelling. NPR’s coverage must be inclusive of the different perspectives and lived experiences of people to arrive at a more accurate representation of truth. Dozens of editorial initiatives are driving us toward this goal. Recent examples include:

  • In the newsroom: In 2019, NPR added a Race and Identity reporting team, led by veteran editor Marcia Davis. She edits coverage of race and identity from the National Desk, leading a team of reporters and coordinating with desks and shows. She also serves as a liaison with the Code Switch team, working to facilitate seamless coverage of race, inclusion and diversity throughout our newsroom and the broader network of Member Stations. The Race and Identity team works in collaboration with journalists across NPR to explore how these topics touch all areas of society, from health care to education. 
  • Podcasting: With shows such as Code Switch, It’s Been a Minute, Throughline, and The Limits with Jay Williams, NPR podcasts amplify diverse voices and present a wider range of perspectives and experiences. NPR recently launched Oye: The Lab for Latinx Creators, to open up new pathways to stories from the country’s burgeoning Latino/a/x communities.
  • Digital programming: As more people prefer to seek news and entertainment on digital platforms, NPR is investing in multi-platform content reflective of America. The 2021 series “Where We Come From,” for example, was told through podcast episodes, videos, radio segments and web pieces, creating a wide platform to elevate voices of immigrant communities of color who have been historically underrepresented in the media.

Content diversity


NPR amplifies diverse voices from the journalists and hosts who report the stories, to the people interviewed and sources consulted.


NPR has been engaged in source tracking since 2013 to help ensure a multiplicity of voices are included in the newsroom’s reporting. In 2019, NPR launched 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. The first two fellows now work full-time at NPR.


Building on these efforts, in July 2021, NPR launched Dex, a new platform that allows journalists across the content divisions to keep track of the demographics of their sources, creating a seamless way for journalists to keep track of their own efforts to bring a greater diversity of voices to our audience. Also in 2021, NPR revamped its Diverse Sources Database, a free resource open to all journalists. With a cleaner design, new features and vastly improved search functionality, it’s easier than ever for reporters to find experts from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in the media.


Source tracking has also carried over into NPR’s work with Member stations. For example, several years ago, NPR’s research team helped KUT in Austin develop a source-tracking design, and they in turn helped WHYY in Philadelphia and KTOO in Juneau, AK to do the same. Since then, stations from Portland, OR to Charlotte, NC to Kansas City, MO and many more have gotten involved in this effort.


Staffing diversity


Thoughtful recruitment is imperative to bringing a diversity of voices, perspectives and experiences to our work. Strategies and initiatives to support this include:

  • Equitable hiring practices that require diverse applicant pools, hiring panels, and standardized interview questions and rubrics.
  • The Public Media Village, a collaborative recruiting effort to attract journalists of color to work in public media.
  • 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.
  • Fellowship and internship opportunities designed to nurture early career journalists and journalists, including Veterans and people with disabilities. Two of our fellowships – Code Switch and Reflect America – are specifically designed to support journalists of color.

NPR publishes statistics about the representation of staff on npr.org, and regularly updates staff on NPR’s hiring, representation, and voluntary turnover to reinforce accountability and transparency in this work.


Workplace diversity


NPR has an array of programs designed to create an environment where a diverse staff can grow and thrive. Among those programs:

  • Led by teams from its Human Resources division in 2021,  NPR launched its Workplace Integrity initiative to help staff create a “work environment free from harassment, discrimination, and incivility, and filled with equitable opportunity, especially for those who have traditionally been denied it.”
  • For more than a year, NPR’s Diversity Manager, Whitney Maddox, has led twice-monthly conversations tackling one of the most difficult diversity topics. Called STAR – Start Talking About Race – the workshops explore a range of challenges that come up routinely in the workplace. Hundreds of NPR staff have participated in STAR since its launch.
  • More than half of NPR’s staff have participated in one or both of its mentorship programs – launched in 2018 to help staff navigate the organization, develop professionally, and gain a greater sense of belonging at NPR.
  • Since the start of 2020, NPR has sponsored Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that provide staff with space  to come together as affinity groups across race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, faith and other life experiences. NPR provides a stipend for the volunteer leaders of the groups and supports authors and speakers the ERGs bring in for the benefit of the full staff.
  • In 2021, NPR offered HR-led workshops on empowering transgender and gender non-conforming employees, part of broader efforts to ensure that all employees can feel welcome to be themselves at NPR.

About NPR


NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it’s easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll be tuned into your local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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