Faces Of NPR is a weekly feature that showcases the people behind NPR, from the voices you hear every day on the radio to the ones who work outside of the recording studio. You'll find out about what they do and what they're inspired by on the daily. This week's post features a Historian, Julie Rogers.
Name: Julie Rogers
Twitter Handle: @jubrogers
Job Title: NPR RAD Historian
Where You're From: Madison, WI
An Inside Look:
You're a Historian with NPR's Research, Archives & Data Strategy team (RAD). What does that mean?
As the NPR RAD Historian, I research and interpret the significance of NPR in American history and culture. I work with RAD's amazing collections of archival audio and vintage photographs, write posts for the NPRchives tumblr, collect oral histories from longtime and former NPR employees and answer deadline requests for accurate information about NPR's past. Every day brings something new and different!
How did you get started here? Or what advice do you have for someone who wants a job like yours?
Like many RADsters, I started out as an intern working on (what was supposed to be) a short-term project to assess the significance of NPR's early audio archive. I feel so lucky to have the chance to work with this vivid record of history and to find new ways to share it with the public.
As a public historian, I believe that history is anywhere and everywhere not just in a classroom or a museum. Rather than following a 'traditional' career path, I'd encourage students to make their own path!
What's your favorite #nprlife moment?
Interviewing Terry Gross for my oral history project. Our team digitized and preserved her first-ever piece for NPR: a 1973 report from Buffalo, NY about a new brand of frosted cereal. She still remembered the story!
What were you doing before NPR?
I was a graduate student at American University with a fellowship at the White House Historical Association. Before going back to school, I worked for The Atlantic magazine.
What are some cool things you've worked on?
RAD is working to digitize and preserve NPR's at-risk audio stored on open reel tape and CDs that originally aired in the 1970s and 1980s. The RAD Audio Reformatting project (RADAR for short--every cool project needs a cool name!) launched this year with help from many different departments at NPR. RADAR has reformatted over 20,000 hours from the archive and we are rediscovering compelling stories every day!
What's on your desk?
LOTS of books about the history of NPR and public broadcasting. But my prized-possession is a selfie of the RAD team and Bill Siemering taken during one of his visits to NPR HQ.
Favorite Tiny Desk?
The holiday tiny desk concerts are the best! The performance in 2015 by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings was absolutely unforgettable. In 2016, I had the chance to play choir chimes with Bob Boilen and the Oh Hellos!
Do you have any pets?
I have an adorable English Bulldog named Teddy. His hobbies include skateboarding, chewing sticks and sleeping.
Favorite places in Washington D.C.?
The Library of Congress Main Reading Room is the most beautiful and inspiring space in the city. And it is open to any member of the public doing research!
What do you love about public radio?
Its history and mission. In 1970, Bill Siemering wrote the first mission statement for NPR. Siemering proposed a new "source of information of consequence" that would "speak with many voices and many dialects." His vision still resonates today.