Culture of Journalism Team Sends Out First of Five Surveys

Sep 5, 2018

In an effort to raise journalistic ambition and expertise across the public media system, representatives from NPR, PRX, PRNDI and member stations want more information about how newsrooms are serving their audiences.

This week, the Culture of Journalism team sent out the first of five surveys to newsroom leaders at member stations.  Donna Vestal, Director of Content at KCUR in Kansas City and Shula Neuman, Executive Editor at St. Louis Public Radio, helped craft the surveys that are designed to yield information concerning five challenges facing public media newsrooms: ethics, talent, leadership, workflow and public perception. The first survey tackles ethics and asks news managers how they handle corrections and enforce social media policy, among other questions.

“This is an effort to understand where we, as a network, are strong and where we need improvement,” says Shula Neuman. “We hope to use this information to create ways to learn from each other and improve the strength of our journalism system-wide. No matter how large or small your newsrom is, we will all benefit from your participation.”

NPR, PRX and PRNDI are  leading the effort. The goal is to come together on a common set of standards and practices that are shared across the system.

“When I talk to news directors or other station leaders about issues they’re dealing with, I almost always end up learning more from them than they likely do from me,” says Mark Memmott, NPR’s Standards & Practices editor. “These surveys will help us all better understand what are the strengths of the Member Station/NPR system and what areas need work as, together, we continue to build a powerful news network.”

The group is asking news managers to consult with station leaders on the surveys in the coming weeks. The Culture of Journalism team met with more than 40 news leaders in St. Louis and Phoenix earlier this year and has held panel discussions over the summer at various public media conferences including PRNDI, PMDMC and PRPD. The next discussion scheduled at the Super Regional meeting in Atlanta will give station general managers the chance to ask questions and weigh in on news efforts at their own stations. That discussion is scheduled for Thursday, October 25.

If you are a news director or leading your station's newsroom and you have not received a survey invitation, contact Terry Gildea: