NPR CEO Vivian Schiller on collaboration, innovation, and more

Vivian SchillerAt last week’s IRE conference, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller gave a stirring keynote speech to the more than 800 journalists in attendance about how their jobs and the industry had shifted. In her remarks, she commended investigative journalists and new non-profit models, and touted the need for innovation. Highlights from the speech are below and you can read the full speech here.


“Partnership does not come easily to most news operations. When I got to NPR I heard ‘we don’t partner well.’ It was said with a little bit of apology…and a healthy dose of pride. And that has certainly been the case at most news organizations. But to increase our impact we at NPR have had to learn to get over ourselves, and to approach collaborations in a new way.”


“While I’m as despondent as you are at this newsroom carnage, I’m feeling very hopeful and even excited about what the diaspora of immensely talented journalists has given rise to… dozens (soon to be hundreds!) of new news orgs. Many of them are turning to a new way, the nonprofit way and in doing so are inventing something completely different — a hybrid of past and future, of old media and new.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that journalism pundit Alan Mutter jokingly lamented the short-sightedness of the newspapers who fired so many reporters ‘turned them loose to start so many blogs. They should have executed them. They wouldn’t have had competition. But they foolishly let them out alive.’

Well here we are… alive and very well, thank you.”


“We need to harness the power digital technology to create open platforms for our work. We need to create a true NETWORK. Not in the TV network way — there is no single entity that pulls the strings, but rather we need to come together as a network of reporters, data miners, and analysts via open platform technology where all types of media can be searched, combined, sorted. And made accessible to publishers, educators and especially motivated software developers who will invent ways to elevate our work beyond our wildest imagination.”


“We must employ digital media in both gathering and distributing the news. And we must adhere to a seriousness of purpose — we’re aiming high and not just for high ratings.”

Read the full speech here

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