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Q&A: NPR President-CEO Jarl Mohn on News and Diversity

Jarl Mohn, NPR’s new president-CEO as of July 1, talked with Variety about the 44-year-old institution’s expansion in both content and delivery.

Will news remain NPR’s foundation?

So much commercial news and journalism has become ideological or exploitative. It creates a great opportunity for us as a fact-based organization. So, yes, we are doubling down.

What’s your first priority?

I want to shore up the business part. That primarily means bringing in revenue, whether corporate underwriting or development fundraising, because I want to make sure the team has tools, resources and the money it needs to continue doing great work.

How are you expanding platforms?

We must be on every platform our listeners use. The terrestrial reach is 28 million people every week; you’d have to add up the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today and 48 other top newspapers to get the reach NPR has. On top of that, you have the digital platform, reaching almost 40 million every week.

What’s your diversity plan?

The organization has been committed to this for years. But we are aiming for more diversity in staffing, hiring and content — not just race, but gender, age, politics and geography. If we have right team, we will end up with multiple points of view. If we sound like America, we’ve done our job.

Any message for fans?

NPR is a national treasure. So I would say: ‘Step up and support this organization, we need your help!’

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