Martha note: I was about half-way through my daily blog post this morning, when Tom DuVal sent out an e-mail -- which is always a big event in my professional life.
This particular e-mail contained the text of NPR CEO Vivian Schiller's speech last Monday before the National Press Club, during which, in my opinion, she makes a pretty good case for keeping NPR (and NPR stations) as part of our national conversation.
So, on this day when we're asking you to put your money where your ears are by calling 1-800-677-9672 and helping us chip away at WMRA's recent fundraiser shortfall, Ms. Schiller's words seemed somehow more compelling than mine. It's long, but informative; well-worth reading if you're invested in NPR (and WMRA!) surviving these fiscally and politically challenging times.
Particularly interesting to me is the part Ms. Schiller didn't write: the e-mail from Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
|Lourdes Garcia-Navarro at work|
|Vivan Schiller addresses the audience at the NPC|
- 17 bureaus overseas - far more than any of those “big three” has today. We are opening new bureaus – while still retaining a full-time presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jerusalem, Cairo, East Africa, West Africa, China (two bureaus there actually) and other spots around the world. As we speak NPR journalists are in: Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar and, as you heard a moment ago Libya – covering the world-altering events unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Closer to home: we have reporters on just about every beat imaginable - race and demographics, food safety, education, religion, rural affairs.
- We have entire units dedicated to science. To the arts – to books and music.
- Last year we launched NPR’s first investigative unit. It now has nine full-time staff.
- NPR’s Howard Berkes is still reporting on the Upper Big Branch mine of West Virginia --- where 29 workers died nearly a year ago.
- NPR’s Debbie Elliot lives near the Gulf of Mexico and continues to follow developments since the BP disaster.
- Danny Zwerdling has stayed with the story of returning soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury.
- In Nashville, WPLN's Blake Farmer covers Fort Campbell – and the role it has played in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
- In Stillwater, OK, KOSU's Gail Banzet has reported on the resurgence of meth labs in the Midwest; cut-backs in rural police departments, and cattle rustling, which has made a comeback in this tough economy.
- Frank Morris of KCUR in Kansas City is NPR’s go-to guy for agriculture – reporting on land prices, ethanol, and the rivalry between 'family-owned' and 'corporate' farms.
- Listeners, whose contributions make up the largest share of station revenue.
- Corporate underwriters, whose support is not simply a transaction; they want to be associated with the credibility and value of the NPR name.
- We are supported by philanthropic individuals and institutions – who share our vision of an informed society.
- And finally, we rely on continued government funding. Grants to stations from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting represent 10% of the public radio station economy. It is not the largest share of the revenue – but it is a critical cornerstone of public media. [Note: it is about 17% of WMRA's budget.]
- Paula Kerger, the President & CEO of PBS which presents programming unique in the television landscape. Programming that expands the minds of children, documentaries that open up new worlds, and cultural content that exposes America to the worlds of music, theater, dance, and art.
- Patrick Butler, the President & CEO of APTS whose job it is to advocate for public television and why it is more vital now than even 44 years ago. More recently Pat has also taken on the mantle of president of the Public Media Association - which represents both television AND radio stations.
- Pat Harrison - the President & CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The private corporation created by Congress to serve as a steward of the federal government’s investment in public media.
Martha note #2: And thank-you for your support of WMRA. It does take a village to keep the station on the air! That number again 1-800-677-9672 or click here to support on-line.