NPR and AIR Collaborate to Support Independent Talent

CPB-Supported Story and Talent Desk to Help Place Stories on Public Radio

Washington/Boston: NPR and AIR, an international network of independent media makers, are launching a Story and Talent Desk to connect public media editors with outside contributors. The desk will interact directly with NPR’s regional and D.C.-based program editors, NPR’s Story Lab and digital audio team, and other national and local station outlets to place stories from both emerging and seasoned independent journalists and producers.

“There is a high bar set for NPR journalists who produce top-quality stories each and every day,” said Christopher Turpin, acting Senior Vice President for News and Editorial Director. “New talent – their voices and the perspectives they bring – is key to our future.”

This desk, established at AIR headquarters in Dorchester, Mass., with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, takes a new approach to finding original reporting and enriching public radio’s talent pool. The desk will develop a channel that supports both organizations’ efforts to foster journalistic innovation, create new opportunity for mission-focused talent, and find stories and new approaches that strengthen public media’s reflection of the rich diversity of the United States.

“In today’s world, we are quite focused on new ways for our talent to enhance established story platforms,” said AIR CEO Sue Schardt. “It’s also clear that the proliferation of digital and streaming audio opens so many new ways for emerging journalists to expand public media’s service to more people.”

AIR will hire a Story and Talent Curator to manage the initiative, which marks the latest collaboration between the two organizations. They’ve worked in the past to establish a national rate structure for freelance audio producers, nurtured new production models as part of AIR’s earliest Localore initiatives, and most recently, offered a series of producer “tune up” sessions at the Third Coast International Audio Festival. AIR has also advised and continues to support NPR in the creation of Story Lab Workshop, identifying new, diverse talent to invent approaches to multimedia storytelling.

“CPB is pleased to see this important collaboration between AIR and NPR come to fruition,” said CPB’s SVP of Journalism and Radio, Kathy Merritt. “Our support for the Story and Talent Desk is part of a larger grant to AIR that will increase its capacity to serve independent producers in public media, who play a vital role in telling America’s stories.”

NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day—on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners consider public radio an enriching and enlightening companion; they trust NPR as a daily source of unbiased independent news, and inspiring insights on life and the arts. Learn more at or by following NPR Extra on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

AIR celebrates its 30th anniversary year with a growing network of mission-focused talent integral to public broadcasting and America’s growing podcasting and streaming audio industry. The nearly 1,300 journalists, podcasters, documentarians, technicians, and media entrepreneurs forming AIR’s creative community span 46 states and 30 countries worldwide. AIR’s recruitment and mentoring programs and its national productions enrich and expand the ecosystem where story makers create work that brings hope and enlightenment, with the power to embolden and unify. Follow AIR on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and join AIR by going here.

Apply to be AIR’s Story and Talent Curator:
Learn more about NPR’s Story Lab Workshop: