Vivian Schiller Resigns from NPR

Yesterday, CJR’s Joel Meares wrote about the latest in a long string of NPR dust-ups: a “sting” by conservative activist James O’Keefe that cast one of the organization’s fundraisers in a very unflattering light. The episode was especially embarrassing for NPR because O’Keefe’s video hit the web just one day after a speech by CEO Vivian Schiller, and the fundraiser’s views seemed to starkly contradict those of his boss.

This morning, NPR released a statement about Vivian Schiller’s resignation, effective immediately. From the Board’s chairman, Dave Edwards:

The Board accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.

Vivian brought vision and energy to this organization. She led NPR back from the enormous economic challenges of the previous two years. She was passionately committed to NPR’s mission, and to stations and NPR working collaboratively as a local-national news network.

We’ll have a longer piece later today about the implications of this move, but in the mean time, we’ve also re-posted a profile of Vivian Schiller from our March/April 2010 issue, by Jill Drew. Entitled “NPR Amps Up: Can Vivian Schiller build a journalism juggernaut?”, the piece explored Schiller’s strategy to revitalize public radio with new experiments and investments, even while the organization’s finances were looking grim. Drew wrote:

Indeed, Schiller has animated the place with the energy of renewed ambition, a rededication to producing serious journalism. Her strategy rests on three pillars: expand original reporting at the national and local levels; provide free access to public media content regardless of platform; and serve audiences of all backgrounds and interests.

Read Drew’s profile in full here.

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner