There are approximately 1,800 journalists working throughout the NPR network. That's "strength in numbers," says NPR's new Senior VP of News Mike Oreskes. Speaking to the PRNDI conference over lunch on Friday, June 26, along with NPR President and CEO Jarl Mohn, Oreskes emphasized the need for local stations and NPR to work together to strengthen their connections and, in turn, build a more powerful network.
Make it a Priority to Understand Each Other
Oreskes said what's standing in the way of a more collaborative network is "us." He explained himself by first pointing the finger at NPR. "A good part of the problem has been on NPR's side," he said. He then went on to apologize for the times NPR has dropped a national reporter into a local story without notifying local stations; for any tortuous edits that weren't explained by the editor; and the times when an NPR editor rejected a pitch from a local reporter only to have that story show up on the network after it was published in The New York Times. But Oreskes also asked that the local stations be understanding and open to strengthening their communications with NPR.
"In order to build a powerful network we need to promise a culture of collaboration at NPR. But we want you (member stations) to promise the same thing at the local level," he said.
Sharing the podium for the keynote lunch was NPR President and CEO Jarl Mohn who also spoke about strength in numbers. He called on everyone in the audience to work together in order to best serve the public radio audience.
Mohn said he listens to a different NPR station every single day and encouraged everyone in the room to do great journalism but not without being great storytellers. He closed by reminding the audience of NPR's strategy: "The most important stories in the world, well told."