Uri Berliner, NPR Editor Who Wrote Free Press Essay Criticizing NPR Bias, Joins The Free Press

Uri Berliner, NPR’s former senior business editor who criticized the organization for progressive biases in a Free Press op-ed, has joined the outlet.

Berliner will serve as a senior editor, where he will help craft stories and “mentor a new generation of independent journalists,” according to an announcement on Tuesday.

“I’m joining The Free Press because it provides America with groundbreaking, fearless, and independent-minded journalism,” Berliner said in a statement. “I’m inspired to join this team.”

“Uri — with his deep background in print and audio, his commitment to viewpoint diversity, and his bravery, is a natural fit for our growing team,” the company added. “We are hiring more best-in-class editors, reporters, and columnists than ever as we continue to set the news agenda, especially during this election cycle. We’re lucky to have him.”

Berliner, who worked at NPR for 25 years, resigned in April after he was suspended for failing to secure approval to publish in another news outlet. The suspension was categorized as a “final warning,” for Berliner.

He also did not reach out to NPR to comment prior to publishing – though he did note that he attempted to bring his concerns to leadership on multiple occasions.

Berliner’s Free Press essay created a massive headache for NPR leaders, whose internal struggles had been publicly picked apart in the aftermath. Additionally, many staffers were furious with the situation, with several refusing to work with Berliner if he returned to the outlet following his suspension.

“I respect the integrity of my colleagues and wish for NPR to thrive and do important journalism,” his resignation letter to NPR CEO Katherine Maher stated. “But I cannot work in a newsroom where I am disparaged by a new CEO whose divisive views confirm the very problems at NPR I cite in my Free Press essay.”

In response to Berliner’s scathing op-ed, which claimed that the organization lacked “viewpoint diversity,” NPR leadership launched a multi-level review process, with the goal of understanding their audience and the general public better.

At the time, the company said it would implement quarterly network-wide editorial planning and review meetings, which will serve as a “venue for NPR newsroom leadership to hear directly from Member organization editorial leaders on how our journalism serves the needs of audiences in their communities.”

Maher released her own statement in response to Berliner, arguing that NPR is “independent, beholden to no party, and without commercial interests.” The network added that the CEO is “not involved in editorial decisions.”

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