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'Times' Exec Vivian Schiller Named NPR CEO

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And some news now about our own organization. NPR has named a new top executive to help it maneuver through a shifting media landscape. Vivian Schiller is moving from The New York Times to take over as NPR's president and CEO starting this January. NPR's David Folkenflik reports.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Vivian Schiller has experience with a lot of different kinds of media. She was a top official at The New York Times, overseeing its Web site. That's a two-fer. TV? She led the Discovery Times cable channel and CNN's documentary unit. There's no radio on her resume. But public radio consultant John Sutton says with so many changes in the media world, that doesn't matter.

Mr. JOHN SUTTON (Public Radio Consultant): We don't know what the future is going to look like. And so the challenge facing somebody coming into public radio right now is actually trying to accelerate how public radio gets things done.

FOLKENFLIK: The audience and reporting staff of NPR have grown, and it is financially more sound than newspapers. But the recession will hit NPR and its member stations hard, too. NPR officials currently project a $2 million deficit this year. New NPR board member Steve Bass of Oregon Public Broadcasting says stations are fearful they'll lose listeners and donations if NPR's shows are available via the Web, mobile phones, and podcasts. He says the question has been...

Mr. STEVEN BASS (Board Member, NPR): What do stations control? What does NPR control? Which in a sense falls away, because ultimately it's what is the consumer going to control?

FOLKENFLIK: Schiller says NPR's hundred of member stations are essential partners in creating an unrivaled news organization that boasts both an international reach and strong local ties. David Folkenflik, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

David Folkenflik was described by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, once gave him a "laurel" for reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.