NPR cancels internships, citing economic woes

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
This April 15, 2013 file photo shows the headquarters for National Public Radio on North Capitol Street in Washington.

National Public Radio on Monday said it would do away with its annual summer internship program as a cost-cutting measure.

“We are seeing a worldwide set of economic challenges that have weakened the advertising industry and negatively affected media and technology companies. A major portion of NPR’s revenue comes through corporate sponsorships which are sensitive to changes like this in the economy,” a spokesperson for the outlet told The Hill on Tuesday. “This is a severe financial  challenge. We are acting quickly to address it, while preserving and protecting our critical public service and prioritizing the preservation of existing jobs.”

The company acknowledged it had undergone a previously reported near-hiring freeze and had “made the difficult decision to cancel this summer’s internship program.”

“We are committed to providing  a positive intern experience and hope to be able to reinstate it soon,” the spokesperson said. “Interns and fellows remain a vital asset to our content and culture—many of NPR’s best-known journalists, hosts and executives started as interns.”

The scrapping of NPR’s internship program comes amid a time of financial uncertainty and anxiety for news organizations, broadcasters and digital publishers. Several major media companies, including CNN, Vox and BuzzFeed, have either laid off employees or made other cost-cutting moves.

A number of former NPR interns and public radio employees took to Twitter on Tuesday to express dismay at the cuts.

“This is sad. Two of our producers started as interns,” the popular host of the news quiz show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me,” Peter Sagal, said. “I hope we can bring the program back as soon as practical.”


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