- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I have been working at NPR full-time (More than a year)RecommendsNeutral OutlookApproves of CEORecommendsNeutral OutlookApproves of CEO
Smart, kind -- if often awkward -- people make this a fantastic place to work. Some of the sharpest, most creative people I've had the pleasure of knowing work here. I found people to be very willing to work collaboratively, and focused primarily on producing great radio. It's fast-paced but great. I worked in shows, on the digital desk and for the national desk. Work-life balance is surprisingly good for a 24/7 media company. I learned so much from working with the people here. Add to that the company has a strong union, so pay is pretty good, benefits are fantastic, lots of time off, and the company has built in a lot of amenities into the new building incl. gym, bike storage, showers, nurse, cafeteria, etc.
Lots of reviews on here have focused on top management turnover -- obviously NPR could benefit from a leader at the top who creates stability and can grow the company. Layoffs and buyouts are a buzz kill, and the churn means that projects aren't always consistently followed through. But the bigger problem, from my perspective, is at the bottom of the pile -- and that's where I hope Jarl Mohn, the new CEO, will focus some of his attention. 1) When I was there some 20 percent of news staffers were temps. Temps have a pretty sweet deal -- union-level pay and qualify for benefits after a few months. Sweet, except for the instability. 2) Because of the over-reliance on temps, there are no actual entry-level jobs at NPR. If you want to be a producer (which is the biggest category of newsroom staffers, both digital and radio) or an editor, the best way to do that is to start as an intern, temp for months or (more often) years, and then apply for a bottom-level Production Assistant job. PAs used to be entry-level, but they definitely aren't. 3) Because the intern pool is where eventual employees seem to always come from, robust diversity is important. While there is some focus on diversity at the company, it is largely skin deep. That's important, but it means they often miss a chance to focus on diversity of background, experience, geography, schooling, etc. So having entire intern classes that are largely from elite, northeast private liberal arts colleges (though often diverse in race/ethnicity/gender) means that your de facto recruitment strategy gets a lot of people who often share very similar perspectives. 4) It is nearly impossible to come in from the outside if you're a producer or editor. Most of those jobs are open only internally. 5) It is nearly impossible to become a reporter from the inside. If you want to report, but you're a producer or editor, you have to leave the company. 6) There are very few clear career ladders at NPR. Mentoring is totally ad-hoc. If you're particularly good at schmoozing management and can push your way into doing what you want, that's great. More than just being a self-starter, it's a particular style of networking that gets you to the place you want. I think the company would retain more highly talented young people who are less interested in playing office politics than they are in doing excellent work if they created clear career ladders and better mentoring. Also, they'd end up with fewer people in management who are more interested in playing office politics in management positions than in doing creative, exciting work. 7) There is a serious amount of disrespect between digital and radio -- it needs to be mended to create more dynamic content. 8) There is very little respect for or understanding of member stations on NPR's editorial side. (To be fair, there's a lot of angst for the network on the member station side.) Bridging the two should be a top priority for the network so that it can rely on member stations as a farm team that can produce highly qualified candidates.
Advice to Management
1) Make interactions and hiring between member stations and the network more seamless. 2) Cultivate member-station talent better so that you can rely on them as a 'farm team'. 3) Stop requiring interns to have been in college within the past year -- that means you have one window to start working as journalism. Create a centralized intern hiring process, instead of letting each manager choose their interns. That creates a barrier to cultivating a cadre of interns who are diverse in terms of race, gender, geography, education, experience and outlook. 4) Create clearer career ladders that allow people to move between producing, editing, reporting and working between digital and radio sides. 5) Break down silos between digital and radio -- it's a serious problem. 6) Hire from the outside. 7) Make temps permanent employees. If your shows require them, they should be actual employees, not just interchangeable temps.
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
- Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied online. The process took 2 days – interviewed at NPR (Washington, DC).
Most awkward intvu process. Cocktails and dinner with the 10 finalists. The next day, an interview with a panel of 6 or so people. Super lovely dinner, great smart candidates, awkward to be enjoying a nice dinner with people you're competing against. Next day interview is like you've never had a conversation before, kinda cold, super serious, lots of furrowed brows and intent listening. Overall, really enjoyed the process, to be quite honest. Even if it was the MOST awkward interview I've ever had. I think it lets them get really quality candidates without relying on traditional crutches.
- Biggest whopper: What makes you additive rather than repetitive to NPR. Good question. Doozy. Answer Question
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