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Posted by on Nov 11, 2008 in Media | 0 comments

NYTimes Online Exec Leaving to Become NPR CEO

The senior vice president and general manager of, Vivian Schiller, has accepted the position of president and CEO of National Public Radio. ReadWrite Web is excited:

We love what Schiller has done at the New York Times, from getting rid of the subscription pay wall last year to launching a series of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) this year for 3rd parties to develop mashups with. …

NPR is no web 2.0 slouch either, though. Last year that outfit launched a great mobile site (which we at RWW still use regularly) and an equally compelling music site that pushed the envelope on features that other sites launched much later. This summer NPR launched the first version of its own API [*] and is seeking suggestions for another version soon.

NPR is a hot tech shop to be a part of and we look forward to seeing what the very accomplished Vivian Schiller brings to fruition there.

Sam Whitmore of Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey speaks to the business implications of the move:

The woman who led to its place as America’s best daily newspaper web site walks out the door in 19 days — and her soon-to-be former managers just don’t need this kind of bad news. The Times already must come up with $400 million by May 2009 in order to comply with terms of a revolving credit agreement. Even the mighty NYT can’t get that kind of cash without usurious rates that will cripple it further. It doesn’t help that advertising is down 13.7 percent year-over year in the New York Times Media Group — and that was before the recession really kicked in.

Meanwhile, a long-time supporter of (a) the Internet and (b) public broadcasting — some guy named Obama — will reside in the White House for at least another four years. His Congressional muscle, Rahm Emanuel, is rested and ready to go. If you were Vivian Schiller, which operation would you like to be running — NPR or the New York Times?


Ms. Schiller one of the people responsible for making into something of a machine, and she leaves with lots of record breaking weeks in her wake.

She’s also the co-author, with Jon Landman, of all those Friday internet emails that we’ve come to adore, and, in part, responsible for confusing our understanding of what “platform agnostic” actually means.

She begins her position with NPR on January 5, succeeding Dennis L. Haarsager, who has been serving as interim CEO for the past 8 months.

Silicon Valley Insider has Schiller’s Dear Colleagues memo announcing her resignation. FishbowlDC has the memo from NPR chairman Howard Stevenson announcing the news and the NPR press release.

The NYTimes story on her exit. Video of her explaining why the rules of television journalism “Don’t Work on the Web.”

* Haarsager, the interim chief executive, said nothing about Schiller on his personal blog. He did post this morning saying he’s “very proud of NPR’s Open API effort” and pointed to a piece on NPR’s Open Content Strategy by one of its architects, Daniel Jacobson.