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After high-profile hosts exit NPR, we explore what's going on at the mothership

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The headquarters for National Public Radio, or NPR, are seen in Washington, DC, September 17, 2013. The USD 201 million building, which opened in 2013, serves as the headquarters of the media organization that creates and distributes news, information and music programming to 975 independent radio stations throughout the US, reaching 26 million listeners each week.

Several high-profile NPR hosts recently left the station to work in other media organizations. Why?

Some think NPR has become less innovative and unaware of the competitive opportunities that are now available for talented journalists and producers. Others dislike NPR’s recent hyperfocus on race and gender. And there are those who believe NPR's “woke ideology” is too inhospitable to its employees of color.

NPR may or may not have a race problem, but it’s just the tip of an iceberg that’s hiding a wider danger beneath the surface.

Today, we take a deep dive into what’s going on at NPR.


  • Matt Taibbi investigative reporter, the co-host of the podcast “Useful Idiots” and the publisher of the TK newsletter on Substack.  He’s the author of several books, most recently, Hate Inc.
  • Nikki Usher is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her third book is News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism.
  • Jenna Weiss-Berman is the co-founder of Pineapple Street Studios, which has produced podcasts like “Missing Richard Simmons” and "Still Processing." Before starting Pineapple Street, Jenna worked in public radio for a decade and started the podcast department at BuzzFeed. 

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Colin McEnroe, Cat Pastor, and Lily Tyson contributed to this show

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Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.
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