28 March 2014

Review: “This Is NPR” by Noah Adams, John Ydstie, Renée Montagne, and Ari Shapiro

Hardcover, 271 pages
Published 2010

Acquired September 2012
Read February 2014
“This Is NPR”
by Noah Adams, John Ydstie, Renée Montagne, and Ari Shapiro

When I was in high school, the only music genre I liked was classical-- hence, I put in a lot of time listening to WGUC, Cincinnati's NPR affiliate. I quickly grew to enjoy the non-music programming as well; they didn't air Morning Edition, but All Things Considered grew to be vital, especially in the time after 9/11. I didn't hear much NPR during my college years, but since acquiring a job (and hence, a commute), I find myself listening to it almost every time I drive. I even podcast it now, listening to both Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! and On the Media on a regular basis.

All this is to say that maybe I'm biased, but there's not really a better source of good journalism than NPR. "This Is NPR" celebrates the first forty years of the broadcaster, from when it began as protesters swarmed D.C., up to the coverage of the Chinese earthquakes. Criticisms definitely turn up, but it's clearly written by a group of people who believe in NPR and what it does. There are a lot of great stories, large and small, from how they used to edit the tape manually-- still working on the end of All Things Considered after the beginning had started-- to battles for funding to tales of the foreign bureau in the middle of revolutions and riots. It's chock-full of fascinating details that you'll be repeating to those around you as you read (much to their chagrin).

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