Jan 18, 2012

Vanity Fair examines NPR's "annus horribilis of 2011"

"NPR has always been a curiously insular institution," according to a long look at the network in the latest Vanity Fair, "a place where people with common backgrounds congregate, stay around forever, live near and sometimes marry one another (at one point Susan Stamberg actually kept track of how many such matches there had been)."

“It’s a self-involved and self-defining culture,” an NPR insider told writer David Margolick. “I suppose it’s only a matter of time before an NPR couple produces the first NPR baby who becomes an NPR reporter.”

As an outsider, new NPR President Gary Knell, former head of Sesame Workshop, "seems well suited to pop NPR out of its Beltway bubble," Margolick writes. "In the process, he could help it to develop the maturity and competence, confidence and toughness, to match its steadily growing influence and reach."

The story explores at length the Juan Williams firing scandal. There's also a related piece focusing on Williams himself,  including allegations of harassment of women staffers during his tenure at the Washington Post — accusations Williams has previously described as "totally false."

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