In recent months, there has been a spate of journalists of color leaving their posts at NPR, including Audie Cornish, Lourdes “Lulu” Garcia-Navarro, and Noel King. This has raised questions about race at NPR, not only regarding staff but the broad American public they are supposed to be serving.
Since its inception in 1970, NPR has gone from “conceiving of listeners as a public to listeners as an audience to listeners as a market,” says media studies professor Christopher Chávez. He chronicles this change in his new book, The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public.
Today on the show, he joins guest host Karma Chávez to talk about his book, the history of NPR, and the way public radio has standardized particular accents, voices, and stories at the exclusion of Latinx and other listeners.
Christopher Chávez is a professor of media studies and director of the Center for Latina/o and Latin American Studies at the University of Oregon. His research lies at the intersection of globalization, media, and culture. He is the co-editor of Identity: Beyond Tradition and McWorld Neoliberalism (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013) and author of Reinventing the Latino Television Viewer: Language Ideology and Practice (Lexington Books, 2015) and The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public (University of Arizona Press, 2021).