Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Garner, Ana

Second Advisor

Byers, Stephen

Third Advisor

Slattery, Karen


National Public Radio (NPR) has been a source for radio news programming since 1971. In 2014, there were more than 900 radio stations with a federally funded NPR license. When a station is granted its license and partial funding, it is given the mission to create objective and balanced content. Even with threats of defunding and waning audiences for all broadcast media, NPR continues to air news programs daily. This thesis examines how newsworkers at an NPR station interpret their jobs as journalists. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven NPR newsworkers at the same mid-sized station. The purpose of the interviews was to answer the question, "How do news workers on a local National Public Radio news program make meaning of their jobs, journalism as a profession, and perceive different influences on the news content they create?" Using the theory of political economy, the concept of professional journalism, and past newswork and public media studies as a foundation, the interviews were analyzed and four major influences were discovered: the budget, the newsworkers' beliefs and values, their routines and guidelines, and their audience were found to be the strongest influences on their work. The interviewees perceived their work to be important, ethical, and under-funded.