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That's My Issue

Friday, August 24, 2012

Brian Lehrer has issues and everyone in New York is talking about it. WNYC and its political site itsafreecountry.org launched a new election year project called That’s My Issue. On air, online and via social networks, WNYC is asking our audience to share their personal experiences that shape the issues they care about in this election.

We are hearing personal accounts that touch on issues ranging from gun control to marriage equality from people around the country. Each story comes with its own circumstances and complexities. They are all distinctly personal and they are all worth hearing. While these stories elevate key issues at play in our society, they don’t attempt to bring us to one definitive conclusion or political side. They just offer perspective through human experience. Through this project, Brian and the It’s A Free Country team are living up to the promise of public media in an incredibly powerful way. 

As a long-time listener of WNYC, I thought it was only fair that I share too. While there are many issues I care deeply about, That’s My Issue is only calling upon me to pick one. So here it is: opportunities for women in business, politics and society in general.

For the past sixteen years, I have had the privilege of leading New York Public Radio. I’ve worked with incredible women like reporters Beth Fertig and Marianne McCune, and our CFO Michele Rusnak. Their contributions to New York Public Radio’s success have been indispensable. I know there are so many talented women out there like them. Yet when I step back and look at the broader landscape, I see that women are still struggling to break through that ceiling. Only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. When it comes to women in the boardroom or the halls of Congress, we seem dead stuck at 16%. The 2010 Alliance for Board Diversity Census reported that the total percentage of board seats held by women at Fortune 500 companies was only 15.7%. According to a February 2012 Congressional Research Service Report, women represented 50.7% of the U.S. population in 2010 but only 16.6% of the House of Representatives and 15.0% of the Senate in the 112th Congress.

We need to be better than this and change should always start from within. At New York Public Radio, we know we need to get more female voices on the air and we’re working on it. We know as a media company we have a responsibility to represent the diversity of our public and we are always open to hearing from our audience about what we can be doing differently. I think actions speak louder than words and it’s time every company took a long and hard look at what they could do to cultivate women in leadership. I think it’s an exercise well worth doing.

To submit your issue, visit That's My Issue.

Through a series of essays, Laura Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio, explores the role of media, stories that make you think and content that just deserves a shout out. 

That's My Issue

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Comments [2]

Kathleen Dorgan from New York

First of all I love your station and WSHU and am a contributor to WSHU. Cannot support 2 stations...but am in NY today and think that you are becoming a bit like the other stations...asking people "How Did It Feel" of your
journalists Re: his daughter's friend being shot. Not asking these questions and asking people to call in who know
the killer is above the fold in what I want in a Public Radio Station.

I am also a proponent for gun control but as you can see this was done with guns that were legal...oh dear.

Regards... KathyDorgan

Dec. 15 2012 12:24 PM

Following is copy of email I sent to Jonathan Schwartz. It was difficult to find a management email to use.

From: Linda Thaler [mailto:lindathaler5@gmail.com <mailto:lindathaler5@gmail.com?> ]
Sent: Sun 9/16/2012 12:45 PM
To: Jonathan Schwartz
Subject: Schedule Change

Dear Jonathan,

I signed up as a member of WNYC today for two reasons:

1. I'm in the office - unusual on a Sunday -- and wanted to hear your show
while I work.

2. I want to complain about the schedule change.

There is no reason you should remember me, but I worked for John Dougherty for many years. He and his wife Willie told me about your show.

And so for nearly 40 years, my husband and I enjoyed listening to your Saturday Show. as we ran our weekly errands. I know we are probably not representative of WNYC's audience. Saturdays from "Car Talk" to "Prairie Home Companion" time, plus an occasional Sunday - has been the extent of our listening during those 40 years. But that new thing? No.

We'll listen to the iPod instead.

Wishing you all the best in your new time slot, but also wish we could have your
continuing company on Saturday afternoons....

Sincerely,

Linda Thaler

Sep. 16 2012 01:14 PM

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About In Public: Essays from Laura Walker, President of New York Public Radio

Essays from Laura Walker, President of New York Public Radio

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