Inside NPR Generation Listen #NPRGL


Sometimes we’re fortunate to have a front-row seat as a thought grows into an idea, an idea becomes reality, and that reality slowly grows into a movement. This is one of those stories.

A good friend of mine from NPR, Danielle Deabler (@nprdeabs), and I often talk about big ideas. Some are feasible, some are not. When she first shared an idea she had for connecting NPR with younger audiences, Generation Listen (#NPRGL), I knew she was onto something.

The thing about new ideas within established organizations is that they often have a hard time getting enough forward momentum and support to become reality. There are many reasons this happens – lack of resources, lack of time, competing interests, risk aversion. It takes vision, tenacity, focus, and determination to build the support and advocacy needed to make that idea a reality.

Generation Listen was a passion project for Danielle. She deeply believed it was a great way to proactively connect NPR with younger fans she met over her travels the past year who connected deeply with our mission of creating a more informed public, and wanted to get involved. She assembled a team of internal champions who worked hard to make that vision a reality, all the while engaging and soliciting input from a tremendous group of external steering members in the Generation Listen community. Those collective efforts made her first thought a reality.

We formally launched Generation Listen at South By Southwest Interactive. The event was a hit (pics below), and reinforced that there is a huge population of young NPR fans eager to connect with us – and each other. The latter point is key. You can catch up on the social media engagement from the announcement through the launch event in this Storify recap

To learn more about the initiative read this New York Times story by Brian Stelter – “NPR Wants To Click With Those Who Tweet

This is very much a startup venture, and will evolve and grow as we engage and learn. It’s intended to be a true community – one in which we connect with our fans, and they connect with us and each other.

We’ll be working to grow the Generation Listen community over the next several months. You can join the movement on, and find us on the channels below:

The launch party at SXSWi featuring Robert DeLong was a blast (he puts on a great show if you get a chance to see him live).

One thought on “Inside NPR Generation Listen #NPRGL

  1. I remember posting about NPR programming on Tumblr some years back and being BLOWN AWAY at the response to content related to The Moth, This American Life, RadioLab, 99% invisible, Bullseye (formerly TSOYA), etc.

    But what felt like spam was the response to Fresh Air content, On Being (APM), The World (PRI) and America Aboard (PRI).

    At first I felt as if people didn’t really understand what they were “liking.” “Maybe it’s the photograph,” I thought. Sometimes it was.

    But young people love information and wonder just as much as the older folks. Of course, the programs I’ve listed have interesting web and live event/off-line presence. That helps (maybe).

    I wonder how Blank on Blank is doing? Their web stuff is amazing.

    I’m glad to see that NPR is taking this seriously because I wonder what happens when tools land in the hands of the user. What can they create? I’m not sure how ‘up’ for creating media on the fly older generations are but the youth do it daily.

    Can they make 1 minute radio? Will they make long form radio? Do their current podcasts and YouTube audio/illustration projects already count as radio? How does Public Radio tap into that energy and become part of that conversation?

    Things I think about.


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