How we handle coverage of NPR.
NPR journalists cover NPR the same way they would cover any other company. Editorial decisions are made with an eye toward the news value of events at NPR just as editorial decisions are made regarding the news value of events at Sony or Apple or General Motors. This, of course, is much more easily said than done. Every journalist at NPR, from producers to editors to correspondents, has a stake in NPR’s well-being, and it is impossible for any individual to completely isolate himself or herself from events at NPR. Still, when such events occur, the journalists involved in reporting on NPR separate themselves as best as possible from internal events, and any individuals in NPR’s corporate leadership avoid imposing any influence on the journalists reporting on the company.
Any coverage of NPR itself is handled by NPR journalists with no involvement in the issue at hand. If necessary, a separate team is created by drawing members from desks or bureaus with no connections to the subject. They approach the story just as they would any other.
All editors and others who were “part of the story” are recused. This means that when an NPR journalist’s actions or work are “news” — for good or bad — those who were involved in the assigning, reporting, editing and producing do not then play any part in the coverage.
This wall between those involved in the subject of the story and those who then cover it extends beyond NPR’s journalists. No NPR employees from departments outside News — especially those who have had a hand in any official response to the subject from NPR — play any role in the organization’s coverage of the situation.
Our goal is simple: to cover any such story just as we would if it involved another organization, and to take all such actions necessary to ensure that is possible.
October 17, 2011