Perspectives

NPR Serves the General Public and Millennials Says Reporter & Former Producer


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Laurel Wamsley, a young but veteran reporter and producer at National Public Radio (NPR), says she loves working there because she feels the NPR is truly serving the public. She also knows that NPR has made a concerted effort to attract a younger millennial audience and to broaden its base.
Wamsley is in her second stint at the radio giant. She has served as both a “producer” and a “reporter.”
She shares with us that there are two kinds of producers at NPR…show producers who work on a particular program like Morning Edition or All Things Considered and there are desk producers who work on particular topics such as politics, national desk, international, science and education.
A producer finds guests, books the guests, arranges for studio time or field logistics and edits interviews to fit the time slot needed. She said often 20 minute interviews need to be reduced to six minutes or less. That editing responsibility falls on the producer and not the reporter.
Currently, Wamsley is writing “breaking news” for NPR and for their digital product “Two-Way.” She rarely knows what she will cover on any given day and usually produces two to three different stories every work day. She says she likes the variety and it is a challenge to learn to report on and write the stories quickly.
Sometimes a story, such as one such did on Amelia Earhart will get her an additional interview with one of the hosts of All Things Considered or Morning Edition.
Wamsley also has been involved with the explosive popularity of NPR’s podcasts. She previously produced NPR’s wildly popular Politics Podcast.
She says that NPR’s podcasts plus the emphasis NPR has on its NPR Music products definitely attracts a younger audience. She notes that young people who are attracted to NPR Music may not be equally attracted to NPR News but there is more and more crossover.
Wamsley is a native of Athens, Ohio, the home of Ohio University, but she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To date, she has worked in Washington D.C.; Austin, Texas, and Chicago.
One of her passions is “urban life” and she calls herself an “urbanist.” She studies urban sustainability and urban self-sufficiency.