Monday, December 19, 2016

NPR: Some Foreign Govts Require Local Bank Accounts 

Following the nonprofit media establishment's money and bringing transparency to individual outlets' IRS 990 filings is on my radar lately.

The public editor for National Public Radio, Elizabeth Jensen, today answered my questions from last week regarding NPR listing bank accounts in Germany, Iraq and Russia on their tax reports. Here's what Jensen had to say on the NPR Ombudsman's Facebook page:

"Media relations got back to me; I hope this helps: 'This is standard operating procedure for news organizations with international bureaus. Some countries require us to have a local bank account to do transactions there. These bank accounts are to support our newsgathering operations in those countries— to pay rent, local staff and other locally-incurred expenses.'"

This has been a useful exercise as a news consumer and watchdog, in reading a nonprofit news service's IRS 990 and posing queries to their ombudsman, then receiving an answer.

We need more such engagement between those who produce the news and folks who read, watch or listen to the mainstream press. Question authority, and the media too.

1 comment:

Rusty said...

This discussion brings to mind NPR's TV counterpart, PBS.

Our local PBS station, KQED, has been on my own radar for some time now -- ever since I heard about the outrageously high salaries being paid to the top management. I'd been curious as to why the station now has a large fraction of its air time devoted to fundraising drives, despite the fact that commercial advertising is now a part of the station's revenue. In the 1970s there was no commercial advertising, and fundraising occupied a much smaller portion of the station's air time. It occurs to me that these negative changes in KQED's content might be the result of paying excessive salaries. I wonder: What percentage of donors' money is being used to line the pockets of managerial parasites?