This week’s readings by Kevin Barnhurst discussed the role the National Public Radio has played in the gradual creation of interpretive journalism. The idea of journalists attempting to remain objective in their stories is a notion that has been the standard for journalistic practices since the 1800’s. In the second half of the 20th century, American journalism began to shift from the presentation of objective facts to journalists presenting stories based off of their own interpretations. One of the pioneers of this more subjective form of journalism was NPR who created programs such as “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition”. The success of these programs that have definitive, subjective leanings helped to redefine journalism as millions of people tuned in to a new way to process and digest the news. The irony of NPR paving the way for interpretive journalism was that soon after, the radio began its inevitable decline in the digital age. Even though NPR had helped to change America’s view of journalism, it was nevertheless being presented on a platform that was becoming increasingly obsolete. While it was slow to come to fruition, the advent of the technical age effectively eradicated America’s need or desire to listen to traditional radio. Despite the technological changes of media platforms, NPR has adapted equally to how Americans infer the news as well as how they obtain it.
The large, cultural trend of the extinction of radio accompanied by the apogee of the internet was slow and foreseeable. Like its ability to adapt to the changing environment of journalistic ideals, NPR was able to adapt again to reinvent the way Americans would obtain their news stories. Asia Radio Today recently reported on the digital broadcasting summit held in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysian transmission expert Les Sabel was quoted as saying the future of traditional radio is a “dead end.” Throughout the past twenty years it has become imperative for NPR to adapt to the changing technological landscape in order to survive. NPR has now transitioned from their traditional analog radio approach to an almost completely digital platform. What was originally scheduled programs over am/fm frequencies has developed into segmented podcasts that can be found on NPR’s massive internet presence. Forecasting the death of analogue radio, it began to convert to digital radio to join the ranks of other digital juggernauts such as Pandora. These gradual yet definitive changes highlight yet another way NPR has been able to stay on top of the momentous tidal wave of the technological revolution. Many radio companies failed to make the digital transition as traditional analog radio has become virtually extinct in the modern world. In the same way NPR stayed on top of journalistic movements with the incorporation of interpretive journalism, they were also able to read the changing technological landscape in order to not only remain afloat, but to thrive.



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