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NPR Firms Up Kroc Money Plans

NPR Firms Up Kroc Money Plans

RW Online recently reported that NPR intends to expand its news division with the interest from the funding it’s getting from the late McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc. We reported the network intends to hire more people and expand or open new foreign bureaus.
Now, more details are coming out about that expansion and other projects the network wants to accomplish with the funding.
NPR intends to invest $15 million over the next three years to add reporters, editors, producers and managers, and to open new domestic and international bureaus. The expansion plan covers 2004 through 2007.
This year, NPR plans to add about $4 million in spending to NPR News, with similar commitments to follow in the next three years. Most of the funds will derive from the Kroc bequests.
The news expansion will be funded in part by interest from approximately $225 million in bequests NPR received from the late philanthropist Joan Kroc. (She designated more than $190 million of these bequests for a restricted, permanent endowment.)
The network said the expansion is unique as many news organizations are eliminating positions to save money.
“We have always been a lean news group that does more with less. We now will be able to do better with more,” said President/CEO Kevin Klose.
NPR will hire 45 additional reporters, editors and producers over the next three years, a 15% increase in overall NPR News staff. Research, travel and similar additional resources will be brought to existing news beats to improve coverage of breaking news and develop deeper investigative reporting.
The news magazines show staffs will expand. Morning Edition and All Things Considered is the second and third most listened-to programs in U.S. radio, says the network. Its new midday news program, Day to Day, is slated to expand staff as well.
The network says the new positions will enhance Morning Edition’s ability to broadcast from both its Washington headquarters and its new West Coast facility each day and free up the new hosts to do more reporting and in-depth work.
NPR will add management and editorial structure to oversee long-term coverage. In May, NPR added a second managing editor to its staff, hiring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Marimow, former editor of The Baltimore Sun, to oversee national and
investigative news.
NPR operates 14 foreign bureaus with an additional three international roving correspondents. New bureaus will be added in the next two years, with priority to expand coverage of Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The network will partner with its member stations on initiatives to enhance local news.
NPR will establish a radio and Internet news training program to train young journalists.
In May, Mrs. Kroc’s bequest was placed in the NPR Endowment Fund for Excellence, bringing total endowment gifts and pledges to $225 million, and in the operating reserves for NPR Inc, bringing that amount to $50 million. In addition, in fiscal year 2005, NPR has committed $2.4 million of the interest on these investments toward ameliorating program fee increases for the majority of its member stations.
Joan Kroc died of cancer Oct. 12, 2003. She was the widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc.