Call me lucky. I had a pre-scheduled interview this morning with NPR CEO Vivian Schiller this morning before her speech at the Atlanta Press Club Newsmakers luncheon at the 191 Club in downtown Atlanta.
So lo and behold, the entire Juan Williams firing blew up the past 24 hours. I happen to be the first person to talk to her about it. Here is an abbreviated Q&A:
Q: Okay. What happened?
A: Let’s state a couple of facts. Juan is not an employee of NPR. He’s an independent contractor. He’s not NPR staff. He’s an NPR analyst. We have a contract with him for analyst opinions to provide news analysis. He is not a columnist or commentator. He also has an on-going relationship with Fox News. Mara Liasson is also on Fox News and is a full-time staffer. We accept that’s a whole other issue. However, we expect our journalists, whether they are news analysts or reporters to behave like journalists.
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