NPR Reviews

Updated August 3, 2015
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4.1
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NPR President and CEO Jarl Mohn
Jarl Mohn
9 Ratings

Pros
  • Fair work-life balance, good time-off policies (in 7 reviews)

  • great brand recognition, overall fun organization, tiny desk concerts for employees (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • NPR has had 7 full-time and interim CEO's over the past 8 years which has led to consistent turmoil at the top (in 5 reviews)

  • Some in senior managers are so concerned about losing jobs, that they spend more time saying 'yes sir' than defending what is right (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

46 Employee Reviews

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  1. awesome place to intern.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NPR as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great building, great people, they work hard to give interns meaningful work, cafeteria is great, fun place to work, access to tiny desk concerts!

    Cons

    Not very great pay, hard to convert from intern to full time but it is possible


  2. National Public Radio

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - IT Business Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - IT Business Analyst in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at NPR as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Location friendly. Very close to the Metro. Very friendly environment. Managers were very respectful of everyone. Really comfortable place to work.

    Cons

    Worked supporting IT applications specifically financial system. Professional interaction with other departments/staff was limited.

    Advice to Management

    My advice keep up the good business culture. I was given clear tasks and when deliverables were due. The Management was very respectful.


  3. Helpful (7)

    Loved working here -- but there are some deep structural issues that need attention

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Fellow and Temp Producer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Fellow and Temp Producer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NPR full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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.


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  5. Fantastic!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Tiny Desk concerts, intelligent people, great food, and enjoyable conversations!

    Cons

    As an intern, there are not many cons. Of course, the pay is a bit low but that is not surprising.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what your doing!


  6. Helpful (2)

    Quality of Life for a Journalism Company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Reporter in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Reporter in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NPR full-time

    Pros

    Beautiful building, gym and clinic downstairs and an affordable quality cafeteria. Clean work space. Kind people and live music usually once a week. Predictable hours mostly.

    Cons

    Tough to stick here. Heard stories of people temping for years before getting hired on. Can be a sticking point for people who need consistency but not a huge deal to me.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Great place to start, not the best for growth

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - For the most part, it's easy to become like family with your coworkers. People are very close. - Lots of great new projects coming out of some of the divisions - Some managers are very supportive of employees pursuing new experiences - Great vacation packages with benefits - Really nice new building with awesome amenities - Pay is pretty decent for a non-profit

    Cons

    - Much of middle management are just there because they've needed to be promoted up and the next step is to supervise people...but they are HORRIBLE supervisors. Just because you're older and experienced in your industry DOES NOT mean you should be supervising people. - When people leave, works just gets absorbed and people get over-worked like crazy. - While I've seen some lateral movement, opportunities for growth are enormously limited unless you stay there forever - As for the people that DO stay there forever...they get stuck in old behaviors and with old processes and as a result are incredibly closed-minded about change - Over-priced cafe and limited food options in the area, especially compared to the old Chinatown neighborhood - Gym isn't free (but that's because it's staffed with somebody who teaches classes)

    Advice to Management

    - Get some serious evaluations and training done for all of your supervisors - Create a real professional development team that offers young people the opportunity to develop new skills on the job and have more growth trajectory


  8. Intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    -Endless Resources -Free Coffee -Opportunities if you're willing to take them

    Cons

    -Pay is meh, but it's journalism so what do you expect.

    Advice to Management

    More tiny-desk + happy hours


  9. Helpful (3)

    The absolute best (and not so great) time of my career. My colleagues were some of the smartest, devoted people I know.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at NPR full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Leaders in their field who consistently pump out a quality product (public radio programming including podcasts and digital content). The norm is for folks to work there a good 10-15 years, easily. Lots of prestige within the field to be employed here. Great benefits and on-site services (cafeteria, bike storage, gym, showers and a nurse station). Staff, for the most part, appreciate being part of the NPR family and take pride in their work. Lower pay is off-set with generous vacation leave & holidays. Many people are able to telecommute.

    Cons

    The lack of solid leadership in the past few years has created an ambiguous work environment. Top management are so concerned about their job security that they're ignoring staff and not providing the necessary leadership within their respective divisions. Lots of starts & stops on projects. Lack of communication between departments has people working in silos and not sharing expertise and relevant data. Some departments appear to have little funds while others are lavishly spending - constantly traveling - entertaining (internally & externally) - hiring. No transparency. This also lends to the feeling of the haves & have nots. People staying on for decades also limits career growth. And a much tighter budget has eliminated funding for any personal development.

    Advice to Management

    Mandatory senior level training. People are being promoted who have no idea what they're doing and it's hurting the quality of work and staff retention. HR says that they can't make people do anything (sr training or annual evaluations). I find that disappointing and not in keeping with NPR's values & mission.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Amazing environment, talented coworkers, great organization.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Transparent culture - Rewarding work - Ability to balance depends on department

    Cons

    - Leadership changes often without warning


  11. Helpful (2)

    Great Organization, Not so Great Leadership

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at NPR full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Inspiring mission, smart people who care about what they're doing, fast paced environment, one of the leaders on the digital media front.

    Cons

    Massively stressful. The executives are cloistered and tthrive on sending e-mails way outside of normal work hours on a regular basis making a work-life balance non-existent. Questionable expenditures for a company operating in the red. The place has lost (and is losing) a lot of great talent. Things feel reckless.



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