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NPR 'Jeopardy!' Fans - This One's For You

Jan 27, 2016

Last week, Jeopardy! viewers put their NPR knowledge to the test along with three contestant hopefuls-- Todd Coleman, a professor from River Falls, Wisconsin; Will Anderson, a senior legislative hailing from Atlanta, Georgia; and Maggie Schreiter, fiber artist and a stay-at-home mom from Ewing, New Jersey.

Think you can answer the NPR-infused trivia questions? Give us your best guess:

On Sunday morning Jan. 24, NPR's Goats and Soda blog published a piece with the title, "What Are You Afraid Of In 2016? Globetrotters Share Their Fears." The post was accompanied by an illustration, done by a freelance artist, which depicted some travelers' anxieties, from food-borne disease to access to quality health care.

Michael Oreskes joined NPR as its head of news at the end of April 2015. Since then, he has overseen extensive changes on air, as well as behind the scenes in the newsroom.

As listeners are hearing today on Morning Edition, longtime sports commentator Frank Deford, a Wednesday morning fixture on NPR for more than three decades, is going to appear less frequently on NPR in the future.

Deford, who has been delivering his Sweetness and Light commentary weekly since 1980 (except for a two-year hiatus in 1989–90), will now be heard on the first Wednesday of the month. Varied new commentators—there's no set roster—will fill the sports slot the other weeks.

The letter below calling for the release of Jason Rezaian was sent January 8, 2016.

Dear Secretary Kerry:

Journalism is not a crime. Yet Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian has been imprisoned by Iran since July 2014 for doing his job. Iran has never offered any evidence that even makes a pretense of justifying this imprisonment. We know you agree that Iran should release Jason and on behalf of our organizations and journalists around the world, we are writing to urge you to maintain your efforts to forge a path to that release.

Listeners often write about spoiler alerts—sometimes plot spoilers sneak through in reports on TV shows and movies, as careful as NPR's reporters and hosts try to be.

I've heard from many listeners in recent weeks about NPR's coverage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Many of their messages can be boiled down to one word: "Enough."

David Mislin, of Pittsburgh, Penn., wrote:

It has become all too clear that Donald Trump is running a campaign based on bigotry and hate. And yet, NPR continues to afford his campaign considerable airtime (he was the lead story on Morning Edition today, for example).

Last week I looked at the third year results of NPR's ongoing examination of the gender, geographic, ethnic and racial diversity of its on-air sources — the people who are interviewed on the air, either as experts or participants in events or part of the general public.

Results are in from the third year of NPR's sourcing project—designed to understand and ultimately improve the gender, geographic, and racial and ethnic diversity of people heard on NPR as outside sources of news and opinion. The news is mixed.

In fiscal year 2015, which ended Sept. 30, there was a notable increase, compared to two years earlier, in the percentage of black sources, and an incremental, statistically insignificant increase in the share of female sources. Most disappointingly, there was virtually no change in the share of Latino sources.

Ending a run of more than 30 years on the air, talk show host Diane Rehm plans to retire, according to WAMU, the NPR member station where the show is produced in Washington, D.C.

Rehm's exit from the show will not take place immediately; she is expected to remain as its host through the 2016 presidential election. A date for her exit has not been established.

Following the Paris terrorist attacks on the evening of Nov. 13, my office heard from Wyoming listener Patrick D. Sheehy, who wrote, "Out here two time zones away from Washington DC...I am curious what level of news does it take to get NPR out of package mode and into special report mode." NPR's All Things Considered was still running a prerecorded piece about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, with only a brief Paris update, he wrote, adding, "I'm getting most of my news from a friend texting me from the Netherlands."

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, I've heard from a number of listeners who want NPR to start referring to the extremist group that has been identified by French authorities as the perpetrator by the name "Daesh."

Current NPR policy, as at many major English-language media outlets, is to refer to the group as "Islamic State" — which is a shortened version of the English translation of what it calls itself — with the option to add the caveats "self-described" or "self-declared."

The message below was sent by NPR's Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director Michael Oreskes to the NPR News staff on Nov. 9. On Saturday, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan referred to it on her blog. Her post was headlined "The Tricky Terrain of Virtual Reality."

The reaction to the headline on Danielle Kurtzleben's Nov. 5 online article about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ("We Read Donald Trump's New Book So You Don't Have To") was swift—and in my mind, deserved, and not just because the phrase has become cliché.

In early July, The Guardian reported that Exxon Mobil Corp., "the world's biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm's own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial."

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