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1A Reflects On The Last And Next 50 Years Of NPR

In the past, NPR paved the way as a network helmed by women. Today, it must grapple with its historical flaws, biases and the standards that the network itself has set.
In the past, NPR paved the way as a network helmed by women. Today, it must grapple with its historical flaws, biases and the standards that the network itself has set.

Monday, May 3, 2021, marks the 50th anniversary of NPR's first on-air original broadcast. In the last half century, NPR and Member stations have been essential, trusted sources for local events and cultural programming featuring music, local history, education and the arts. To mark this milestone, we're reflecting on — and renewing — our commitment to serve an audience that reflects America and to Hear Every Voice.

Fifty years ago, All Things Considered broadcast for the first time. From the start, NPR forged a completely new path. A news network like it, helmed by women, hadn't existed in the United States.

Despite fantastic reporting and the iconic talent, NPR hasn't always held its microphone up to the United States fairly. We're still struggling to confront the whiteness of our organization and of American media as a whole.

As NPR celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of All Things Considered, we've looked back on the amazing reporting and reporters that have made the network what it is. But now, we should spend some time thinking about what it could be.

Journalists at NPR headquarters and at member stations are grappling with questions about why public radio sounds the way it does, questions about objectivity and who it serves, and questions about how to best deliver information to audiences, wherever they are.

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