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Why Texas Public Radio is stepping away from Twitter: A message from TPR’s president & CEO

Texas Public Radio President and CEO Joyce Slocum
Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio President and CEO Joyce Slocum

Texas Public Radio has suspended posting on its Twitter accounts (@TPRNews, TPRCommunity, @TPRNoticias, @TPRClassical).

Without notice or explanation, Twitter added a "state-affiliated media" tag to NPR's main account last week. This is the same label used to designate official state propaganda outlets in countries such as Russia and China.

When NPR officials asked Twitter to remove the label, it instead changed it to "government funded," which is also misleading.

NPR is an independent, non-profit media organization that gets the bulk of its direct financial support from two sources - sponsorships and fees paid by hundreds of member stations, including TPR. It receives less than 1% of its annual budget from federal sources.

NPR CEO John Lansing announced that NPR was halting activity on its institutional Twitter accounts because Twitter was “taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.” He explained, “We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence.”

TPR’s journalistic independence is at the heart of our service to our audience, and we fiercely protect it. We frequently note that we were founded by our community, we are funded by our community, and we answer only to our community. We receive 90% of our funding from local sources — members, sponsors and grant funders — and we are governed by an independent board of directors comprised of local citizens. That ensures our integrity.

Only a small percentage of TPR’s funding comes from the federal government. About 6% of our annual revenue comes in a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, independent corporation created by Congress 50 years ago to shield public media from government influence.

Twitter has not erroneously labeled TPR’s accounts. But we are concerned about the potential erosion in public trust due to Twitter’s wanton actions. We are proud to be our listeners’ source for NPR news, and we have the utmost confidence in the independence and integrity of NPR’s reporting. For that reason, we have chosen to go dark on Twitter, together with NPR and dozens of other NPR member stations.

Ceasing our Twitter posts does not diminish in any way our determination to provide robust service to our communities. We are, of course, available on-air, as well as at TPR.org and the TPR app, and through other social media channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTokand Mastodon. You can subscribe to the TPR newsletter here. Our Spanish language offerings can be found here.

Thank you for your trust in us and for your support. We never take either for granted.

Warm regards — Joyce

PS - If you’re not already a member and would like to support our work, you can make a donation or become a monthly sustainer here.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Joyce is the President & CEO at Texas Public Radio.