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Fast Company: Will NPR Save the News?

Fast Company ran a story last week with this subhead, introduction:

The most successful hybrid of old and new media comes from the last place you’d expect. How NPR’s digital smarts, nonprofit structure, and good old-fashioned shoe leather just might save the news.

Here is a key passage about the state of NPR:

In one of the great under-told media success stories of the past decade, NPR has emerged not as the bespectacled schoolmarm of our imagination but as a massive news machine poised for what Dick Meyer, editorial director for digital media, half-jokingly calls “world domination.” NPR’s listenership has nearly doubled since 1999, even as newspaper circulation dropped off a cliff. Its programming now reaches 26.4 million listeners weekly — far more than USA Today’s 2.3 million daily circ or Fox News’ 2.8 million prime-time audience. When newspapers were closing bureaus, NPR was opening them, and now runs 38 around the world, better than CNN. It has 860 member stations — “boots on the ground in every town” that no newspaper or TV network can claim. It has moved boldly into new media as well: 14 million monthly podcast downloads, 8 million Web visitors, NPR Mobile, an open platform, a social network, even crowdsourcing. And although the nonprofit has been hit by the downturn like everyone else, its multiple revenue streams look far healthier long term than the ad-driven model of commercial media.

The whole article is worth a read.

2 Responses to “Fast Company: Will NPR Save the News?”

  1. Mike Finley Says:

    But why is it the “last place we would expect?” I know what he’s saying, but NPR’s news operations have been shining in this area for a good long while.

  2. Faith Gary Says:

    Here is a good follow-up story about NPR’s budget shortfall and the possibility of a pledge drive on the national level. Of course, the affiliate stations are concerned that a national drive might siphon off pledges that would have gone to the local level.

    It begs the question: Are NPR listeners willing to pay just a little more for continued access to high-quality journalism?