The Fight for the Future of NPR

A slow-moving bureaucracy. An antiquated business model. A horde of upstart competitors. Can National Public Radio survive?


Animations by Lisa Larson-Walker. Images via Flickr CC.

One day in May 2015, Eric Nuzum stood before a gathering of influential NPR trustees and board members, and showed them a photograph of a young woman with shoulder-length brown hair. “This is Lara,” Nuzum’s slide read. “Lara is the future of NPR.”


Leon Neyfakh is a Slate staff writer.

“NPR’s mission must be to serve that woman the way we served her parents,” Nuzum remembers saying. “Nothing else matters.”

At the time, Nuzum was NPR’s head of programming. The presentation, which he delivered at a meeting of the NPR Foundation, was meant to drive home his most closely held belief about public radio: that young people have different habits, expectations, and aesthetic inclinations than the millions of loyal listeners NPR has been serving since its birth in 1971. “Lara” was a stand-in for an audience that NPR was failing to attract—according to one analysis, the median age of NPR’s radio audience has steadily climbed from roughly 45 years old two decades ago to 54 last year—and one it would need to reach in order to guarantee its survival.

What Nuzum didn’t say during his presentation was that, one day earlier, he had decided to end his decade-long career at NPR and sign a contract with the Amazon-owned audiobook company Audible. Nuzum’s job there would be to develop a slate of original programming that would give Audible a stake in the tantalizing new market for audio storytelling. Although the NPR Foundation people didn’t know it yet, the man who was warning them about needing to win over Lara had just been stolen away by a corporate audio giant.

Today, Nuzum belongs to a club you could call the NPR apostates—onetime servants of public radio who parted ways with the organization and entered the private sector amid frustrations over how NPR and its member stations were approaching the future of the industry. In addition to Nuzum—whose Audible project launched in beta last week—other prominent members include Alex Blumberg, who founded the podcasting startup Gimlet Media, and Adam Davidson, who is an investor in Gimlet and an adviser to a new digital audio unit at the New York Times.

(Slate is also home to some NPR alums who have made the leap into private sector digital audio, including Andy Bowers and Steve Lickteig, who work at Panoply, The Slate Group’s audio business, as well as Mike Pesca, who left NPR’s New York bureau to start a daily Slate podcast called The Gist.)

The work these defectors are doing outside of NPR—and the ways in which it promises to destabilize their old employer—has, in recent weeks, become the subject of intense and emotional debate in the world of public radio. The tumult was touched off in late March, when an NPR executive announced that the network’s own digital offerings—most importantly, its marquee iPhone app, NPR One—were not to be promoted during shows airing on terrestrial radio.

The ban was widely viewed as proof that NPR is less interested in reaching young listeners than in placating the managers of local member stations, who pay handsome fees to broadcast NPR shows and tend to react with suspicion when NPR promotes its efforts to distribute those shows digitally. After the gag order was made public, dozens of public radio and podcasting people set about picking at an old scab—discussing, spiritedly, in multiple forums, whether the antiquated economic arrangements that govern NPR’s relationships with its member stations are holding it back from innovation.

The debate also raised an even thornier and as-yet-unanswered question: What is the value of NPR’s core journalistic offerings—the brief, sober dispatches that air every day on its flagship shows Morning Edition and All Things Considered—in an age when its terrestrial audience is growing older and younger listeners seem to prefer addictive, irreverent, and entertaining podcasts over the news?

The critics say NPR has been standing with its toes in the ocean for too long, curbing its digital ambitions in order to appease legacy radio stations. As its competitors dash into the waves, the question of whether NPR can ever catch up, and what will become of it if it doesn’t, has become increasingly urgent. Can the people who are running NPR make radio for Lara? Or has she already tuned them out for good?

* * *

To understand NPR’s predicament, it’s crucial to first understand what NPR is and what NPR is not. In some ways, the second part is easier. NPR is not a radio station, and it is not responsible for every show in which polite voices speak in a restrained, earnest manner about the issues of the day; other players that traffic in such fare include American Public Media, which produces Marketplace, and Public Radio International, which co-produces The Takeaway. NPR is not involved in the making ofThis American Life, a program that was launched by member station WBEZ in Chicago and has been operating independently since 2015.* Nor did NPR create Serial, the blockbuster podcast that debuted a little less than two years ago and convinced many people that there is money to be made in the medium of podcasting.


So what is NPR? In short, it’s a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that produces and distributes an assortment of popular radio shows to federally funded local stations all across the country. Some of these stations are tiny and depend entirely on programming they have licensed from outside entities. Others, such as New York’s WNYC or Boston’s WBUR, are powerhouses that produce nationally syndicated shows of their own, like WNYC’s Radiolab and WBUR’s On Point With Tom Ashbrook.

What does this have to do with whether or not NPR will still be making journalism that people want to listen to in 50 years? The answer lies in NPR’s flagship news programs: Morning Edition, which typically airs on member stations from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. ET, and All Things Considered, which comes on at 4 p.m. and continues through drive time. The two programs, which are known inside NPR as “the newsmagazines,” are the biggest shows NPR produces, both in terms of revenue and audience. Broadcast on approximately 900 radio stations across the country, they reach an estimated weekly audience of more than 25 million people.

Between the licensing fees that member stations pay to air the shows and the sponsorship revenue they attract, Morning Edition and All Things Considered are responsible for bringing in a bigger slice of NPR’s annual budget than any other source of funding. Member stations—which have controlled a majority of NPR’s board seats since the early 1980s—have strongly opposed the idea of making the shows available as on-demand podcasts, fearing a loss of listeners and revenue. According to critics like Davidson and Nuzum, limitations like these have prevented NPR from making a bigger impact in the digital space.

The way the newsmagazines work journalistically is fairly straightforward, with NPR’s reporters filing pieces to their desk editors, who work closely with the shows’ producers and hosts in deciding what will go on the air. Some of the stories come from NPR’s 17 foreign bureaus; others are produced by the 98 reporters the network has stationed across the United States. Ultimately, the newsmagazines end up airing a few dozen of these stories per day, along with host interviews with newsmakers and NPR correspondents (Steve Inskeep interviewing Nina Totenberg about a recent Supreme Court decision, say), local news patched in by member stations, and live hourly news briefings that hurtle through the day’s headlines in five minutes or less.

By their nature, the newsmagazines are “perishable,” meaning they are designed to be listened to when they are fresh. In sensibility, they have been impressively consistent for decades, and longtime listeners have come to count on them for succinct updates on important world events, measured analysis of major national stories, evocative slice-of-life reporting from around the country, as well as occasional offbeat pieces that are delivered by NPR correspondents with a reliably mature sense of playfulness.

The NPR News voice, though not monolithic, is unmistakably distinct from the diverse range of audio programming that has taken off in the recent podcast boom. Some of the shows that are part of that wave, such as Red Bull Studios’ Bodega Boys, BuzzFeed’sAnother Round, and Slate’s own political and cultural talk shows, have found a market as “low-touch” productions, which require little in the way of reporting (by the hosts) or audio engineering (by producers) and rely mostly on the podcasters’ charisma, expertise, and chemistry. Other successful podcasts, such as Reply All, Criminal, andYou Must Remember This, have paved the way for something else entirely: meticulously crafted feature journalism that, in Alex Blumberg’s words, feels less like a collection of radio segments and more like “narrative-driven, textured, sound-rich documentaries.”

The conventional wisdom among podcasters like Blumberg is that, in 2016, listeners want audio programming that makes them feel as though they’re getting to know a person or a topic intimately, whether through the familiar banter of beloved panelists or through lovingly produced works of storytelling. Whereas the parents of the elusive Lara turned to NPR because they wanted someone trustworthy to tell them the news, younger generations seem to find satisfaction in the velvety bedroom voice of 99% Invisible host Roman Mars as he murmurs about furniture and the self-consciousness of Serial’s Sarah Koenig, who makes the method of her reporting part of her story.

NPR News reporters usually can’t get that personal, in part because, as Gimlet’s Adam Davidson puts it, they are in the impossible position of having to simultaneously “appeal to 80-year-olds in Alabama and 20-year-olds in Brooklyn.”

“All evidence suggests that with on-demand audio, people don’t want the three-to-four-minute radio stories,” Davidson told me. “They don’t want the anecdotal lede, followed by an expert saying something. They want something longer. More engaged. Something that isn’t designed for 30 million people in mind, but 1 million people who are more like them. They want something looser, more fun.”

Ironically, looser and more fun is a good way to describe what NPR was like when it first came on the air in the 1970s. As Steve Oney describes in his forthcoming history of NPR, American Air, National Public Radio was hatched by “misfits, castoffs, and dreamers” out of a desire to experiment with audio, and was widely viewed as the province of left-wingers and hippies. The first broadcast, emblematically, was a chaotic, 25-minute portrait in three acts of the massive anti-war rally that shook Washington, D.C., on May 3, 1971; in Oney’s words, the unusual piece rang out with “a vibration from a realm where youthful earnestness commingled with merry-prankster lunacy, land-grant university idealism, New England pragmatism, and a native instinct for storytelling.”

Jay Allison, who filed stories to All Things Considered in its early days and is now something of a public radio elder statesman, said doing work for NPR back then was about “discovering the world with this new technological marvel, which was portable tape.” Allison, who now hosts PRX’s The Moth Radio Hour, said he sometimes misses NPR’s more freewheeling days. When he turns on All Things Considered in 2016, he said, “There’s hardly any commentary, and very little exploratory or strange portraiture, documentary, or poetic stuff.”

“By abandoning that kind of sonic terrain of exploratory narrative,” Allison said, “NPR has ceded that territory to the podcasters.”

* * *

As NPR’s critics see it, letting others dominate that terrain will ultimately prove fatal, because it’s where young listeners now live. But for the moment, NPR’s top executives, including CEO Jarl Mohn, are unapologetically focused on shoring up the radio audience for Morning Edition and All Things Considered instead of diverting newsroom resources to begin industrial-scale podcast production.

But Mohn is adamant that NPR has not let its focus on the newsmagazines distract from its podcasting efforts. The network already has a bunch of successful podcasts, Mohn told me, including a pair of talk shows (the NPR Politics Podcast and the Pop Culture Happy Hour) and an ornate science show, Invisibilia, which in its second season will consist of seven episodes created over the course of many months by a team of three.


“The mythology is that somehow we’re being left behind,” Mohn said. “Now, the thing that I find so laughable about the argument is, if you look at the iTunes chart any given week … we’re consistently four of the Top 10 podcasts, and consistently six of the Top 20. No one else has the number of hit podcasts that we have. No one.”

Still, when it comes to allocating resources, NPR’s current leadership is proceeding cautiously. According to Anya Grundmann, who replaced Eric Nuzum at NPR as the head of programming,Morning Edition and All Things Considered are simply too important to the economics of the network to be anything other than the top priority. “We need to make sure that we are continuing to invest in the newsmagazines,” she said. “If we pulled 50 people from the newsroom to do podcasts, that would be a challenge.”

It isn’t just about the bottom line, though. Mohn and his team seem to genuinely believe that NPR’s formidable network of reporters—as well as the local journalists working at member stations—will allow the organization to prevail over the private podcast shops growling at their gates.

“Look, your storytelling is great,” Mohn said. “It’s fine. It’s fun. It’s interesting. It’s charming. But we’re covering Syria. We’re covering Ebola.”

The CEO is not the only one drawing attention to NPR’s status as a mighty news organization—and suggesting that, so far at least, its profit-minded competitors have behaved more like purveyors of entertainment than of news.

In a Facebook post written in response to a recent jeremiad by Adam Davidson describing public radio’s dire prospects, the reporter Lourdes Garcia-Navarro—who is currently based in Brazil and previously reported from Libya on the Arab Spring—drew a sharp contrast between what she and her colleagues do and what Davidson did on the first episode of his new Gimlet podcast Surprisingly Awesome, which promises listeners “Stories about things that sound totally boring, but turn out to be totally awesome”:

[S]eriously, NPR does matter unless you want to live in a world with ONLY 30 minutes of vocal fry on the value and meaning of Mold (which is GREAT) and not, also, let’s say … news of a terror attack in Belgium. I’m sorry if that seems quaint to you.

This distinction between “news” and podcast-style “storytelling” has emerged as a key fault line in the debate over NPR’s future. And while it is considered impolite to value one above the other, there’s a tendency among some podcast people to think of themselves as too ambitious and creative for the constraints of the four-minute radio news spot, and a tendency among some radio people to look askance at the pretentions of podcasters and their twee, personality-driven soundscapes.

“It’s an art form and they do a really good job at it,” said JJ Sutherland, a former war reporter and producer for NPR who left in 2012. “I saw myself more as a journalist than someone creating art. And that’s not to disparage anyone who does it differently, but I spent from 2004 to the end of 2011 going back and forth from Iraq. And you know what? I didn’t do it because it was fun.”


Of course, fun is not necessarily the enemy of seriousness, and to their credit, podcasters have proven that even very complicated and abstract material can be made compelling with the right touch. Planet Money, the twice-weekly podcast about the economy that Davidson and Blumberg founded as an experiment at NPR in 2008, provides perhaps the best illustration of this: On the show’s de-facto pilot, “The Giant Pool of Money,” which aired on This American Life, Blumberg and Davidson managed to explain the financial crisis to delighted listeners over the course of an hourlong episode that was no less edifying for being deliriously entertaining as well.

If free-form storytelling can make even credit default swaps engaging, Blumberg and Davidson thought at the time, it could work on anything. In the wake of the rapturous reception that Planet Money received from NPR listeners, its creators started asking themselves why a four-minute news brief should still be considered the ideal vehicle for reporting on and explaining current events. If people are getting more out of the longer, more propulsive stuff, why wouldn’t the NPR newsroom try to produce more of it?

“The 3-4 minute story should not be the core audio product of NPR,” Davidson said in an email. “It shouldn’t be the thing that NPR’s reporters and editors spend most of their days focused on. I know from experience that it takes different muscles, different tools to do longer-form stories. I think it would be smart if NPR had more of its staff spending a decent chunk of their time working on developing those skills and muscles.”

Blumberg and Davidson ultimately left NPR out of frustration with what they saw as the organization’s half-hearted embrace of a concept they felt they’d proved. Since Mohn became CEO in 2014, there has been a further exodus of high-level, digitally minded talent, including Kinsey Wilson, who was pushed out as chief content officer and is now spearheading an all new digital audio unit at the New York Times; Margaret Low Smith, an NPR lifer who was running the news division at the time of her departure; executive editor Madhulika Sikka; director of vertical initiatives Matt Thompson; and content strategy executive Sarah Lumbard.*

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people still at NPR who are trying to push the organization to be more adventurous and experimental: Despite the departures, there remains a clutch of public radio optimists at NPR News who are operating from the premise that their core product must change if they want to still have an audience after their existing listeners are no longer around.

Two people in particular are leading the charge: Kelly McEvers, who took over as a co-host of All Things Considered last year as part of an effort to make the show appeal to a younger audience, and Sara Sarasohn, who oversees content for an app called NPR One, which many in public radio consider to be the most exciting thing to have happened at NPR in years.

McEvers and Sarasohn are trying to bring NPR into the audio present from different angles. McEvers is tackling the problem of what the news should sound like, both onAll Things Considered and in podcast form, with her new show Embedded. On ATC, she told me, she’s been striving to talk the way she does when she’s talking to her friends. “I’m trying to make myself sound a little less like an anchor might have in the past—a little more conversational and transparent,” she said. Though some older listeners, including McEvers’ parents, have not been entirely supportive of her decision to start saying “like” and “you know” on the air, the less buttoned-up tone might turn out to be more inviting to young ears.

With Embedded, McEvers has created a show that is textured and process-driven, likeSerial, and one that’s being promoted as a demonstration of what NPR can do when it challenges its newsroom to make high-end documentary programming. McEvers, who reported from the Middle East for years before joining All Things Considered, uses each episode to take her listeners along on a reporting trip, burrowing down into one story and feeling around in it at a leisurely pace. For the first episode, which appeared on iTunes on March 31, McEvers spent a week with a group of painkiller addicts in Indiana whose insistence on sharing needles had caused a local HIV epidemic. Over the course of the 30-minute episode, McEvers lets us listen in as addicts inject themselves and murmur answers to her questions. As McEvers narrates her reporting, we learn in great detail about how the people she encountered fell into their habits and gain a visceral appreciation for the difficulty of getting clean.

Embedded may or may not turn out to be a cultural phenomenon. But NPR wants as many people as possible to hear it, which is where Sara Sarasohn and the NPR One app comes in. Though marketed as a “Pandora for public radio,” NPR One is better understood as a high-stakes experiment in creating a dedicated audience for all of NPR’s offerings—digital and terrestrial. Whereas the previous NPR News app required listeners to make playlists of segments they wanted to hear, NPR ONE generates a streaming playlist of audio content based on a person’s interests and feedback. In one session you could be taken from a Morning Edition dispatch on police reform in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to an All Things Considered segment on the Federal Reserve to an episode of the Pop Culture Happy Hour. There are offerings from other networks too—if you’re a fan of Reveal, the podcast from the Center for Investigative Reporting, you can tell the app you want it in your mix, and decide when it comes up whether you want to listen to it or skip.  

I’ve been using NPR One for about three weeks, and I have found it extremely enjoyable. Some days, when the algorithm is really humming, it makes me wish my commute to work was longer; on other days, when I’m tired and walking the dog, I turn it on for no other reason than to spare myself the trouble of actively choosing something to listen to.

But the app isn’t just a delight for listeners. It also generates precise data for NPR about when people skip segments and what keeps them engaged. This data, Sarasohn told me, has been used to train NPR hosts and reporters on how to write copy that is most likely to catch listeners’ ears. (One lesson Sarasohn has learned: Instead of opening with the who/what/where/when/why of a traditional news story, open with a “big idea” sentence that explains the stakes right away.)

On the strength of these efforts—not to mention the slate of podcasts that Mohn boasted of when we spoke—it is reasonable to conclude that progress is being made at NPR, and that when the organization does put its weight behind something new and bold, it is more than capable of competing with its new challengers. WhenEmbedded hit the top of the iTunes podcast chart, NPR’s head of news Michael Oreskes tweeted at Adam Davidson, “May I ask you fine innovators a question, respectfully? If @NPR is so strategically inept, why is Embedded #1 today?”

Davidson and his ilk, however, worry these steps are too little, too late. In their view, NPR should have rushed the field sooner and staked out a dominant position in digital audio back when it had the sector almost entirely to itself. Instead, its leadership abetted the rise of small, swift competitors with whom they must now contend for market share and talent, all while trying to accommodate the interests of terrestrial member stations—many of which still fill their weekend slots with zombielike reruns of Car Talk—in order to maintain an anachronistic business model.

A big part of the problem, several former NPR staffers say, is that some of the most creative producers and reporters in the newsroom are too often thwarted when they move to pursue new ideas—not because they are always told no by their superiors, but because the process of getting something made at the organization tends to be grindingly bureaucratic and incremental, and requires feats of strength, patience, and political finesse on the part of those who try.

Perhaps the best evidence of this tendency is a long-gestating podcast from the Code Switch team, which was formed three years ago to cover race. Though the official line at NPR is that the team wasn’t ready to have a podcast until recently—it is now being piloted and will debut “soon,” according to a spokeswoman—if NPR had moved faster to develop the project, they might already have a major franchise on their hands. Instead, the Code Switch staff have been limited to appearing on other people’s podcasts, publishing written pieces for their vertical on, and contributing the occasional news segment to Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

* * *

There is something quaint about the idea of turning on a radio to learn about the day’s events. We are, after all, bombarded by news constantly—on our computers, on our phones, on TV, from newspapers, from cable news networks, from our friends on social media. Against that backdrop, it seems like there’s a very real possibility that the medium in which NPR’s reporters work—not just terrestrial radio, but audio full stop—could simply lose its place as a news source in people’s lives.

And yet, one of the discoveries Sara Sarasohn has made from NPR One is that listeners skip over newscasts less frequently than they skip over anything else. Maybe that’s because there remains something valuable about hearing someone reliable offer you a summary of every important thing that’s happened in the world since the last time you checked. That experience—of being passively informed and temporarily relieved of the responsibility to decide what is and isn’t worth knowing—still seems to hold great appeal. Perhaps, in our on-demand world, that appeal is even stronger. As Sarasohn put it to me, the need to know that “the world is still turning” is not going away.

For now, NPR, with its unrivaled audio newsroom, still has a head start in the race to fill that need. Even its most acerbic critics would agree on that. Every day, though, that advantage shrinks, as companies like Audible and the New York Times step into the digital audio fray with heightened ambitions and the resources to realize them. 

NPR should take the threat seriously. They still have a chance to win Lara over. But she won’t wait around forever.

For more great stories like this one, subscribe to Slate’s daily newsletter, the Angle.

*Correction, April 11, 2016: This article originally misstated that NPR’s former chief content officer Kinsey Wilson was hired by the New York Times to spearhead its new digital audio unit. Wilson was initially brought on by the Times as an editor for strategy and innovation, and is now executive vice president for product and technology. (Return.)

*Correction, April 13, 2016: This article originally misstated the year when This American Life began operating independently. It was 2015, not 2014. (Return.)

Leigh Bureau VRP

92 E Main St, Somerville, NJ 08876  |  908.253.8600
Founded: 1929
Company Size: 11 – 50

The Leigh Bureau is a premium speakers bureau serving business and sophisticated cultural audiences worldwide. We exclusively represent some of the world’s most prominent leaders and personalities in a wide range of fields: business and economics, politics and public life, science and technology, entertainment and the arts. We specialize in speakers of substance — people who are thought leaders in their fields who offer the best in platform performance and valuable content.

The Leigh Bureau is the world’s longest-established premium speakers bureau. The business was founded in 1929 by W. Colston Leigh, the father of our current chairman, Bill Leigh. Since then, we have represented some of the world’s top speakers and public personages, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Boris Yeltsin. We’ve also helped to shape the industry itself over the decades and we have made significant contributions to the wider culture. We led the way into the business speaking market in the early 1980s and this continues to be our distinguishing strength — that we represent speakers who bring real business value to the organizations they address and the best analysis, insight and commentary to audiences in the public sphere.

The Leigh Bureau is the flagship firm of the Leigh Group, which includes five related enterprises. Three are speakers bureaus that have been separately formed to better serve the global speaking market. The Leigh Bureau serves audiences in North America. Leigh Bureau Limited serves Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and Africa. Leigh Bureau International serves Latin America, Asia and other parts of the globe.

In addition to the speakers bureaus, we also have a literary agency (LeighCo) and an advisory services company, Leigh Advisory Services.

We sometimes define our businesses in terms of our speakers’ intellectual property: LeighCo helps our clients define and publish their ideas; the speakers bureaus help them promote their ideas; and Leigh Advisory Services helps business leaders implement ideas in their organizations through direct management consulting and advisory services.

Business. Our business speakers include business leaders, academic researchers, business journalists, writers and consultants—all first-tier people with substantive content that has real value for business audiences.

Political & public life. The Leigh Bureau represents writers and historians, analysts and commentators, important academics and fellows at policy institutions—women and men who are major contributors to public discourse in both the United States and Europe.

General audiences. We also represent speakers with broad appeal who are inspirational, informative, and often very funny, in programs of great interest to any audience looking for substance presented with a light touch.

Special programs. We offer some unique programs that transcend categories. We have always found ways to create new experiences that are tailored directly to the desires of specific audiences.

Keynotes. As a speakers bureau, we specialize in matching audiences with the speakers who can add the most value to your event, with keynotes of varying lengths to fit any slot in your agenda, with or without a Q&A. But that’s not all we offer.

Moderators. We also represent a number of people who are seasoned moderators and facilitators, who can lead a single panel discussion or MC an entire event and help you design your program. They combine depth in their area, often knowing as much about the topic they are moderating as do the other members of the discussion, with great people skills and experience at keeping things on track and in service to the strategic goals of the event.

Seminars & workshops. A single keynote not enough depth for your audience? Many of our speakers will develop a customized program of greater length—half-day, full-day or multiple days—or a follow-up break-out session on the topic of their keynote.

Advisory services, management consulting & executive coaching. Beyond the expanded program for a given event, many of our speakers also offer advisory services, management consulting or executive coaching custom-designed to meet specific strategic needs. Through Leigh Advisory Services, we would be happy to discuss how we might create such a relationship with the leaders of your organization.

Partial Client List
Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired
Tyler Cowen, named “America’s Hottest Economist” by Bloomberg and BusinessWeek
Kenneth Cukier, data editor at The Economist and co-author of Big Data
Anita Hill, civil rights and equality activist
Ryan Lizza. political reporter for The New Yorker
Alexis Madrigal, editor-in-chief of Fusion and former deputy editor of
Ari Shapiro, host of NPR’s All Things Considered
Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight
Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere
Abraham Verghese, M.D., NYT bestselling author of Cutting the Stone
Related Websites:
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In the Media:

On Getting Paid to Speak | | Jan 22, 2015
In response to a thread on a private mailing list, a prominent woman in tech wrote this fantastic rundown of the details of getting paid to speak, including which speaker bureaus represent which kinds of speakers. We are re-posting an anonymized version of it with her permission in the hopes that with better information, more women will get paid fairly for their public speaking. Paying women fair wages for their work is a feminist act. This advice applies primarily to United States-based speakers; if you have information about international speaker bureaus, please share it in the comments!

Question: I’m interested in speaking with [members of the private mailing list] who either speak via a speaker bureau/agency, or otherwise get paid for their speaking gigs. I have done an absolute ton of speaking in the past few years (including several keynotes) and I know I’m at the level where I could be asking for money for my speaking, and I also need to reduce the amount I sign up for in order to focus on my own projects. So I’m on the market for an agency and would love to hear numbers from other folks who charge for giving talks. I know several women who ask for $1000-$2000 plus travel costs for engagement, but would love to know if that is typical or low as I definitely do know dudes who get much more.


PS this was a very scary email to write! Asking for others to value your work as work is really difficult!

Answer: I have a lot of experience with this & have done a lot of research. The main U.S. bureaus are:

• The Leigh Bureau, which represents Nate Silver, Joi Ito, danah boyd, Tim Wu, Don Tapscott, Malcolm Gladwell, etc. Leigh tends to represent so-called public intellectuals, and to do a lot of work crafting the brand and visibility of their speakers in well-thought-out laborious campaigns. It tends to represent people for whom speaking is their FT job (or at least, it’s what pays their bills). Leigh does things like organize paid author tours when a new book comes out. Being repped by Leigh is a major time commitment.
• The Washington Speakers Bureau: Jonathan Zittrain, Madeleine Albright, Tony Blair, Katie Couric, Lou Dobbs, Ezra Klein. These folks specialize in DC/public policy.
• The Harry Walker Agency: Jimmy Wales, Bill Clinton, Larry Summers, Steve Forbes, Bono, Steven Levitt, Cass Sunstein. These folks tend to rep celebrities and DC types: busy people for whom speaking is a sideline.
• The Lavin Agency: Jared Diamond, Anderson Cooper, Jonathan Haidt, Lewis Lapham, Steve Wozniak. Lavin does (sort of) generalist public intellectual think-y type people, but is way less commitment than e.g. Leigh. Lavin reps people whose main work is something other than speaking.

(There are probably lots of others including ones that are more specialized, but these are the ones I know.)

I went with Lavin and they’ve been fine. The primary benefits to me are 1) They bring me well-paying talks I wouldn’t otherwise get; 2) they take care of all the flakes so I don’t have to, and they vet to figure out who is a flake; 2) they negotiate the fee; and 3) they handle all the boring logistical details of e.g. scheduling, contractual stuff, reimbursements, etc. I mostly do two types of talks:

• The event organizers approach me, and I send them to Lavin. About 80% of these invitations are just [stuff] I would never do, because it pays nothing and/or the event sounds dubious, the expected audience is tiny, I have no idea why they invited me, or whatever. But, about 20% are people/events that I like or am interested in, like advocacy groups, museums, [technical standards bodies], [technical conferences]; TED-x. If I really like the organizers and they are poor, sometimes I will waive my fee and just have them pay expenses. (Warning: if there is no fee, the bureau bows out and I have to handle everything myself. Further warning: twice I have waived my fee and found out later that other speakers didn’t. Bah.) If I get paid for these events, it’s usually about 5K.
• The event organizers approach Lavin directly, requesting me. These tend to be professional conferences, where they’re staging something every year and need to come up with a new keynote annually. These are all organized by a corporation or an industry association with money — e.g., Penguin Books, Bain, McKinsey, the American Society of Public Relations Professionals, the Institute of E-Learning Specialists, etc. I do them solely for the money, and I accept them unless I have a scheduling conflict or I really cannot imagine myself connecting with the theme or the audience. These talks are way less fun than the #1 kind above, but they pay more: my fee is usually 25K but occasionally 50K.

For all my talks I get the base fee plus hotel and airfare, plus usually an expenses buyout of about $200 a day. A few orgs can’t do a buyout because of internal policies: that’s worse for me because it means I need to save receipts etc., which is a hassle. Lavin keeps half my fee, which I think is pretty typical. In terms of fees generally, I can tell you from working with bureaus from the other side that 5K is a pretty typical ballpark fee that would usually get a speaker with some public profile (like a David Pogue-level of celebrity) who would be expected to be somewhat entertaining. The drivers of speaker fees are, I think 1) fame, 2) entertainment value and 3) expertise/substance, with the last being the least important. The less famous you are, the more entertaining you’re expected to be. Usually for the high-money talks, there is at least one prep call, during which they tell me what they want: usually it’s a combination of “inspiration” plus a couple of inside-baseball type anecdotes that people can tell their friends about afterwards. The high-money talks are definitely less fun than the low-money ones: the audiences are less engaged, it’s more work for me to provide what they need, everybody cares less, etc.

When I spoke with [a guy at one agency] he told me some interesting stuff about tech conferences, most of which I sadly have forgotten :/ But IIRC I think he said tech conferences tend to pay poorly if at all, because the assumption is that the speaker is benefiting in other ways than cash — they’re consultants who want to be hired by tech companies, they’re pitching a product, trying to hire engineers, building their personal brand, or whatever. Leigh says they’re not lucrative and so they don’t place their people at them much. The real money is in the super-boring stuff, and in PR/social media conferences.

Talk To Me, Malcolm Gladwell! | | Feb 2, 2011

“I think in the last year I’ve done, I want to say–it’s tough–a few dozen? Thirty to forty would be my guess?”

Jonah Lehrer, a contributing editor at Wired, was on the phone from Los Angeles Monday evening, trying to recall how many paid speeches he had delivered in 2010. Mr. Lehrer, 29, is the author of two books on the brain, is writing a third about creativity and is in high demand on the lecture circuit. Thousand-person convention halls, intimate corporate gatherings–he’s done them all. “I remember being at a podiatry conference in Denver for my first book, Proust Was a Neuroscientist,” he told The Observer.

Foot doctors in the Rockies are paying to hear about a madeleine, and they are paying well. For decades, media critics have scolded journalists who give speeches for outsize sums, deeming it unseemly at best and a conflict of interest at worst. But in an era with fewer watchdogs–and a profession that has had a measure of its righteousness sapped by pay freezes, furloughs, layoffs and bankruptcies–the practice is thriving once again. Scan the rosters of the various speakers’ bureaus, and you’ll find no shortage of names from The Times, TV news and the monthlies, all eager to hit the Hyatt ballroom and fling spittle over a sea of warmed-over salmon.

Not everyone pockets the money. Some speak gratis or donate their fees to charity, and straight newspaper reporters know better–or should–than to take cash from groups that they cover. But opinion journalists and ideas-y magazine writers are largely free to collect five- and even six-figure checks for a single afternoon’s work.

“There are journalists at every price point within the lecture field. You can say anything between $5,000 and $100,000 and up,” Bill Leigh, whose Leigh Bureau represents Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Anderson, Atul Gawande and others, told The Observer last week. “I can assure you that journalists are well represented–and that that is new. That much I can tell you emphatically.”

Mr. Leigh recalled, years ago, being unable to even gauge Walter Cronkite’s interest in a speaking tour: The CBS anchor’s reps assured him that the field’s maximum pay did not meet the minimum for the man’s time. Today, pretty much everyone has a price; the Washington Speakers Bureau discreetly lists a fee range next to each of its clients, from Luke Russert ($7,501 to $10,000) to John Heilemann ($10,001 to $15,000) to Christiane Amanpour ($40,001 and up).

It’s the multiplication factor that really pays. For most writers, an idea is only good for a single article, or a single book–and a single paycheck. But that same idea rendered in speech form can be delivered many, many times. “You can assume that speakers as a rule end up doing between 15 and 50 dates a year,” Mr. Leigh said.

Is this a ray of hope for the wily journalist, The Observer asked David Lavin, of Toronto’s Lavin Agency? A new way to actually make a career at reporting and writing?

“Viable? It’s the world’s best-paying part-time job,” Mr. Lavin said. He added: “Some people write books just to get on the speaker circuit.”

Old model: tour the country to promote your book. New model: write a book to tour the country.

“It’s interactive. They both support each other,” Mr. Leigh said. “Initially, the speaking promotes the book, and afterwards the book promotes the talks, and then the talks go on keeping the book alive.”

“The book doesn’t even need to be good. You just need to have written one good book, to get known,” said a longtime magazine editor who has worked at several large media companies. “The book is just the loss leader for the speech.”

Wired editor Chris Anderson cemented his speaker-circuit bona fides with a 2006 book, The Long Tail, that was hailed as cogent and disruptive. His last effort, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, met with considerably worse reviews, and its premise was derided on many blogs. Worse, chunks of it turned out to have been copied and pasted without attribution from Wikipedia. None of that matters on the speaking circuit, where Mr. Anderson’s agency says he is in more demand than almost any other client worldwide.

A PERUSAL THROUGH the media criticism archives indicates that the practice of writers speaking for money was probably invented shortly after writing itself. “The phenomenon of journalists giving speeches for staggering sums of money continues to dog the profession,” Alicia Shepard, now NPR’s ombudsman, wrote in the American Journalism Review in 1995, when the top fees were around $35,000. “Welcome to the era of the buckraker,” Jacob Weisberg wrote in The New Republicin 1986, coining the term; fees at the time could hit $25,000. Just 21 then, Mr. Weisberg knew a devilish way to tweak power when he saw one, and according to TNR legend, he installed a bell at his cubicle, taped to a photo of notorious yakker Robert Novak, that he would ring whenever a senior staffer snuck out to the podium.

These days, event organizers know to clam up when media reporters come calling about honoraria, as The Observer did this week. But numbers inevitably leak out. New York found Malcolm Gladwell netting $80,000 from a dental suppliers group in 2008, and the next year, Thomas Friedman was busted by the San Francisco Chronicle for taking $75,000 from a government agency, in violation of Times rules. “We have all become lax in complying with the parts of the ethics guidelines that require annual accounting of income from speaking engagements,” executive editor Bill Keller wrote the staff in a May 2009 memo that Gawker published. “The rules are vague and need a fresh look,” ombudsman Clark Hoyt frowned in the paper that month. (The policies have not been updated since, a Times spokesperson said.)

The lucrative lecture circuit may be the one thing that Mr. Friedman and his longtime antagonist Matt Taibbi have in common. In many thousands of bilious words over the years, Mr. Taibbi has savaged the Times columnist’s metaphors, ridiculed his worldview, insulted his mustache and worse. But when the $75,000 mistake happened, and readers inundated Mr. Taibbi with links to the news, eager for a fresh beat-down, he gave his favorite punching bag a pass. He didn’t say why.

But the clearest sign of just how unobjectionable the new speaking-fee era is may be this: Last week, the Lavin Agency says, it signed Mr. Taibbi as a client.

THE MONEY IS good. But the speaking circuit is not a glamorous world. “You end up getting existentially sad, where you look through your wallet and you realize you’ve got like seven hotel keys,” Mr. Lehrer said. “It happened last week in San Francisco, where I was convinced this key wasn’t working. I went down to the front desk, and they pointed out that I was using the wrong key. It was from a month ago.”

The way Mr. Lehrer tells it, joining the circuit just … happened. When his first book came out, in 2007, he didn’t even have representation; corporations simply sought him out themselves. Subsequent books and regular contributions to Wired, The New Yorker and other publications have kept his bio fresh.

“To be totally crass about it, I think I got into this for the revenue side, but I’ve been surprised in the last year by the other perks,” he told The Observer. He can see clear improvement in his writing as he tests out loud what elements of a given story work and learns how to build tension, withhold key information, deliver a punch line. His latest book is stuffed with characters he never would have met if not for his travels. The act of taking gobs of money, though, still feels strange.

“The stage fright, that’s something I’ve acclimated to,” Mr. Lehrer said. “But I’ve never really gotten over the sense of fraudulence that comes with being onstage and, you know, dispensing knowledge and wisdom. That’s where I think the feelings of insecurity and self-loathing come in.” He corrected himself. “‘Self-loathing’ is too strong a word. But certainly, it’s a strange business. And the enjoyment that comes from all the perks of it–the getting better at storytelling, the revenue, the meeting new people–that’s on the ledger against the fact that …” He made a digression about airport logistics and eating too many Egg McMuffins, and apologized.

“For me,” Mr. Lehrer continued, “the toughest part of public speaking is kind of psyching myself up onstage beforehand, to be like, ‘Who am I to do this? What could I possibly offer you that will make it worth the price you’re paying me to go up here?’” | @nicksumm

Zucker wants to grow his own

7/11/2014   Capital

CNN has now launched a half dozen original unscripted series in primetime. Most of them (with the exception of “The Sixties” and “Death Row Stories”) have had a recognizable face fronting the show.

Anthony Bourdain started the push with “Parts Unknown,” and Morgan Spurlock followed with “Inside Man.” John Walsh, Lisa Ling and Mike Rowe are joining them this year.

“That was a pretty concerted effort to use some folks who were established and who had a following, they are easier to market, easier to generate some attention for,” CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker told Capital earlier this week.

The strategy made sense for CNN as it sought to launch its unscripted lineup. The channel needed buzz for the new formats, and it wanted to lure loyal fans that each of the “names” had.

Still, as any regular viewer of CNN’s new unscripted competitors like Discovery, A&E and Travel Channel know, the biggest hits often come from talent that is developed, not bought. To that end, CNN intends to try and develop talent of its own to complement its roster of known names.

“I think going forward we would like to create some of our own [talent], and that is something you will probably see us try over the next year or two,” Zucker told Capital.

Often times the names most often associated with a channel, like Adam Richman from Travel Channel, or Guy Fieri from Food Network, were essentially created by the channel. Yes, they may have been known in certain areas or fields, but it is the TV show that made them household names.

The benefit to a network in creating its own talent is that the channel can become more closely associated with the brand of the personalities, and strictly from a budgetary standpoint, untested or newly-famous names are much cheaper than high-profile poaches.

CNN knows this, and regularly applies this principle to its on-air news talent, the only difference is that now it is applying that philosophy to its unscripted programming.

Before hosting a TV show, Bourdain was a chef who gained a following after he wrote a book, Kitchen Confidential, that spelled out the surprisingly seedy underbelly of the restaurant business. The book deal led to a Food Network show, “A Cook’s Tour.” That show didn’t last long, but Travel Channel added him to their roster, renaming the show “No Reservations.”

Rowe was a journeyman TV host, with various gigs for QVC, Military Channel and PBS, but it was “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery that made him a household name.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association Summer press tour on Thursday, Rowe said that his new CNN show, “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” will be less about people with unique jobs than it is about people with unique sensibilities or passions.

“‘Somebody’s Gotta Do It’ is about people who simply do what they do because of a weird mix of love, compulsion, obsession, dedication — whatever it is,” Rowe told Critics, according to TheWrap. “We’re looking for people who wake up everyday a little afflicted because the world is not exactly what they want it to be. They’re on a mission”

One job Rowe will not be profiling is that of the TV critic, of which there were many in the Beverly Hilton Thursday morning.

“Some jobs are just too hideous to contemplate,” Rowe said when asked about the allure of writing about TV.

Washington, D.C., the Most-est Place in the Country

The nation’s capital: It’s the richest, gayest, most educated, most expensive and most economically optimistic place in America.

You’ve heard some of those superlatives, right? Take them with a big grain of skepticism.

When government agencies or private research groups release state-by-state information, they often include the District of Columbia. That makes sense. Citizens of the district are part of this country (albeit without the same democratic rights as other citizens).


Number 9 Bar in Washington, D.C., is popular with gay men. CreditVanessa Vick for The New York Times

But even if Washington deserves a place on national lists alongside the 50 states, it isn’t very similar to any of them. It’s a city. And cities are, by and large, richer, gayer, more educated, more expensive and more economically optimistic. Take education. The typical ranking of states makes Washington look to be by far the most educated place in the country. About 50 percent of its residents have at least a bachelor’s degree. No state exceeds 40 percent. But a ranking of cities looks different: Washington still does very well, but is in third place, not first. Seattle (56 percent) and San Francisco (51 percent) are both more educated.

I suspect the Washington superlatives make the rounds because they’re easy to make, because the city is filled with journalists and because the comparisons feed the irresistible storyline of Washington-as-bizarre. But before we pronounce Washington special, for good or ill, it’s worth asking whether we’re fooled ourselves.

(I tip my Washington Nationals cap to Byron Tau of Politico, who had a succinct tweet on this issue Wednesday.)

Nicholas Pepper and Brian Harvey VRP

Nicholas Pepper

Work experience:

The Mark Gordon Company and ABC – Head of TV Drama Development
ABC Studios & ABC Television – Drama Programing (starting from 2004)


Studied Acting at Yale School of Drama
Class of 2001 · MFA · Acting · New Haven, Connecticut

Lewis & Clark College
Class of 1995 · BA Theater Studies · Portland, Oregon

Woodside Priory School
Class of 1991 · Portola Valley, California


From IMDB:

Projects in Progress:
Agatha (TV Movie) – Executive Producer
Clementine (TV Movie) – Executive Producer

Past Television:
Gothica (2013) (TV Movie) – Executive Producer
Americana (2012) (TV Movie) – Executive Producer
Dark Horse (2012) (TV Movie) – Executive Producer
The Worst Witch (TV Series) – Charlie Blossom (4 episodes, 1998–2001)
Animal Ark (TV Series) – Brandon Gill (1 episode, 1998)
Charlie Blossom (The Worst Witch)


From The New York Times:
Ringer (2012) – Studio Executive
Missing (2012) – Studio Executive
Protector (2011) – Studio Executive
Brothers & Sisters (2011) – Network Executive
Desperate Housewives (2011) – Network Executive
Lost (2010) – Network Executive
Ugly Betty (2010) – Network Executive
Pushing Daisies (2009) – Network Executive
Commander in Chief (2006) – Network Executive
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Primetime Rockin’ Eve 2005 (2005) – Network Executive
Dancing With the Stars (2005) – Network Executive
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2005) – Network Executive
America’s Funniest Home Videos (2005) – Network Executive
Joe Schmo Show (2004) – Production
Oblivious (2004) – Production
Mouthing Off: 51 Greatest Smartasses (2004) – Production
Celebrity Mole Hawaii (2003) – Production Assistant
(Pepper’s Facebook group “WERQ” –
The Hollywood Net-WERQ! is a social networking group for gays and lesbians in the “biz.” If you work in production, publicity, casting, at an agency, a studio, a management firm or are an actor or trying to break into any and all of the above, please join. Friends of gays and lesbians are welcome too!
We can use this page to post jobs, look for jobs, add links to the work we have done in the past or work we are currently doing.
Also, look for our once a month happy hour outings!)

In The Media:

ABC Studios Exec Nicholas Pepper Joins Mark Gordon Co. As Head Of Drama

5/3/2011 |

After an extensive search, ABC Studios-based producer Mark Gordon ended up staying close to his TV home with his pick for successor to outgoing president of television Deborah Spera, who is leaving next month to become an independent producer. ABC Studios’ VP drama Nicholas Pepper is joining the Mark Gordon Co. as head of drama TV. He will work alongside head of comedy Andrea Shay, reporting directly to Gordon. This represents a change in the executive structure at Mark Gordon Co., which started off exclusively in drama under Spera until recently expanding into comedy with the hire of Shay. As VP drama programming at ABC Studios, Pepper oversaw such series as Desperate Housewives, Lost and Brothers & Sisters. Before that, he spent six years at ABC overseeing Ugly Betty, Pushing Daisies and Commander in Chief, among others. Prior to that, Pepper, a former actor, was Director of Alternative Series and Specials for ABC. Gordon recently re-upped his deal at ABC Studios for four more years. His company’s portfolio includes five series on the air for ABC Studios: ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, CBS’ Criminal Minds and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, as well as Lifetime’s Army Wives, and the ABC/ABC Studios’ drama pilot Identity, starring Angela Bassett.
Brian Harvey VRP

VP, Drama Development at The Mark Gordon Company (since August 2010)

Previous Work Experience:

Mediaedge:cia – Creative Consultant (2009-2010)
ABC Studios – Vice President, Drama Development (2007-2009)
ABC Studios – Executive Director, Drama Series (2005-2007)
Touchstone Television – Director, Drama Series (2004-2005)
Touchstone Television – Manager, Drama Series (2003-2004)
Touchstone Television – Coordinator / Assistant (2000-2003)
Mutual Film Co. – Assistant to VP, Development  (1999)

Education: DePauw University (BA in Political Science)

Age 41; Zodiac Sign: Taurus


Projects in Development:
Gothica – EP
Americana – EP
Agatha – EP
Past Film & Video:
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) – Production Assistant

Past Television:
Gothica (TV Movie) (2013) – Producer
Dark Horse (TV Movie) (2012) – Producer
Identity (TV Movie) (2011) – Producer


In the Media:

Trio Promoted at Mark Gordon Co.
10/5/2011 | The Hollywood Reporter

Brian Harvey, Allyson Seeger and Shara Senderoff upped in film, television and new media divisions.

The Mark Gordon Co. has upped three executives in its film, television and new media divisions.

Brian Harvey has been upped to senior vp drama, television, reporting to head of drama TV Nick Pepper. Before joining the Mark Gordon Co. in August 2010, Harvey held creative positions at ABC Studios, where in his nine-year tenure he developed such projects as Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone, Kyle XY, October Road and Dirty Sexy Money, among others.

Allyson Seeger has been upped to vp film, reporting to Jennifer Todd, the company’s president of motion pictures. Seeger joined the Mark Gordon Co. in 2005 and is currently co-producing The To-Do List and developing Desperados, Die in a Gunfight and New Line’s Private Benjamin remake.

Shara Senderoff has been upped to vp new media and director of development for film, also reporting to Todd. Senderoff, who joined the company in 2007, is currently developing Junkers, Hyde and Desperados. She recently sold comedy pitch Heroes for Sale for Dimension.

The promotions come less than a month after Veronica Gentilli was upped to chief operating officer at the company.

Mark Gordon Co. promotes execs
10/5/2011 | Variety

Brian Harvey has been promoted to senior VP of drama, television. He joined Gordon Co. last year from ABC Studios, where he helped develop ABC series including “Brothers and Sisters” and “Dirty Sexy Money.” He reports to Nick Pepper, head of drama television.

Junior Selected for Hansard Scholar Program and Will Study in London
10/4/1992 | Depauw University

October 14, 1992, Greencastle, Ind. – Brian Harvey of Richmond, Indiana, a junior at DePauw University, has been selected by the prestigious Hansard Scholar Program, to spend the 1993 spring semester in London, England, working with English Parliament. Harvey will be there from January 11 through April 2.

Harvey is a political science major at DePauw. He hopes to learn on a first-hand basis all he can about the English and their government. “I want to understand British politics from an inside view,” Harvey said.

America’s Least-Favorite City Has Become Television’s Favorite Subject

One strain brought on by “The West Wing,” the White House drama that ran from 1999 to 2006 on NBC, was a feeling of being trapped with the show’s creator, Aaron Sorkin, and forced to watch him play with his action figures, or possibly himself. When President Josiah Bartlet delivered lines like “get your fat asses out of my White House” to leaders of the Christian right, you could almost detect a giant thumb and forefinger holding Bartlet by the waist to bounce him up and down and move him from room to room—or was that a sigh of ecstasy?


Desperately Seeking Mitt (Ari Shapiro Mention)

They say Mitt Romney is a robot. They say he is an unusually handsome cyborg. They say if you opened up his chest, you’d see a pile of crackling circuitry or maybe a bale of old straw. And as we prepare (finally!) to crown him the Republican nominee in Tampa, Florida, this month, there is but one real question on everyone’s mind: Is there anything behind the mask? Wells Tower spends five months on the campaign trail in search of the man inside the man who would be president.

Obama Saw Immediate Fundraising Spike After Same-Sex Marriage Announcement

In the days following President Obama’s announcement that hesupports same-sex marriage, anecdotal evidence suggested that the political position had a financial payoff. But without public financial disclosures, news sources relied on anonymous quotes saying that Obama’s re-election campaign took in $2 million in the 24 hours following the announcement, or $1 million in the first 90 minutes.

Ari Shapiro Appearance on The War Room with Jennifer Granholm, Feb. 27th 2012

NPR’s Ari Shapiro: Romney family history could hinder Mitt in Michigan

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