NPR’s Reputation Taking a Beating Over Williams Firing

Richard Drew, AP

NPR has probably gotten the most attention it’s seen in a while after it fired Juan Williams for comments he made on The O’Reilly Factor. Unfortunately for NPR  (and for PBS?), a lot of the attention has been negative, with enough anger out there to possibly prompt the bomb threat that was reported on Monday.

While standing by the decision, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has apologized for the way the situation was handled, specifically, the NPR blog notes, “she regrets that NPR executives did not meet with Williams in person to discuss their decision.” Besides the employee communications issue she points out, the termination has brought about other PR problems for the media outlet.

Frank Williams, founder and president of Pioneer Strategies, writes about the lessons to take away from the issue. Among them, “understand the power of perception, “know when to stop talking,” and “beware unintended consequences.”

The Week also offers a wrap up of the damage that has been done, including reference to an editorial from the Albany Democrat-Herald (Oregon) titled “NPR must fix its reputation” with the suggestion that the organization offer Williams his job back.

What are your suggestions for fixing NPR’s reputation problem? The comments are open.

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