By Melvin Felix
It’s been a month since Arianna Huffington announced she was selling The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million. But, even as Congress is considering cutting all funds for National Public Radio, NPR President Vivian Schiller said Monday she has no plans to follow in Huffington’s footsteps.
“That’s not who we are,” Schiller said.
She said NPR would love to receive more funding from its current contributors – listeners, philanthropists and corporate sponsors, as well as the federal government – but becoming a commercial enterprise is not an option. It would break the tacit pact NPR has with its audience of being a not-for-profit, trusted news broadcaster, she said.
“At a time when our industry is cutting back, when punditry is drowning real news and thoughtful analysis,” she said, “NPR is moving continuously forward with quality reporting and storytelling delivered with respect for the audience.”
She said a recent Pew Research Center study found that listeners increasingly trust NPR.
Schiller also discussed the firing of Juan Williams last year over comments he made on Fox News about Muslims. “We handled the situation badly,” she said. “We acted too hastily.”
She said NPR is not likely to have journalists with long-term contracts with different networks in the future.
In honor of Schiller’s speech, dessert was cupcakes decorated with the NPR logo.