NPR to End ‘Tell Me More,’ Eliminate 28 Positions

David Folkenflik, NPR, May 20, 2014

NPR announced Tuesday that it would cease broadcast of the weekday program Tell Me More on Aug. 1 and eliminate 28 positions as part of a larger effort to end the company’s persistent budget deficits.

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Ultimately, NPR’s total head count will be 7 percent lower than where it stood last year–there will be 9 percent fewer newsgathering positions. NPR has run deficits in all but one of the past six fiscal years, including the one ending Sept. 30.

Michel Martin, the host of Tell Me More, will remain at the network, as will the program’s executive producer, Carline Watson. They will be part of an initiative to incorporate the kind of coverage of issues of race, identity, faith, gender and family that appear on the show. {snip}

Tell Me More’s demise is the third for programs expressly designed to have a primary appeal for African-American listeners and other people of color. Tavis Smiley took his show to a rival public broadcaster after clashes with NPR brass over how much money the network spent to market his program, and News and Notes went off the air in 2009.

That year, at the depths of the global financial crisis, also marked the end of the midday program Day to Day; last year, NPR shut down the long-running afternoon program Talk of the Nation.

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Additionally, NPR maintains two related but separate efforts: the Race Card Project, a multiplatform effort created by host and special correspondent Michele Norris, and Code Switch, a team that looks at how an increasingly multiethnic America understands itself. Code Switch’s work appears both on the air and on NPR.org. Lynette Clemetson, who has been Morning Edition’s senior supervising editor, will oversee all three groups and will hire a handful of other reporters; those who have lost their jobs will be able to reapply for those jobs.

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