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Las Vegas’ KNPR drops Twitter, following Musk’s inaccurate description of NPR

Updated April 13, 2023 - 9:54 am

KNPR’s Twitter account is on hiatus.

The National Public Radio membership station has announced it is pausing its @knprnews Twitter page. The decision follows NPR’s announcement Wednesday it is moving off the platform. The decision arrives after Twitter owner Elon Musk’s inaccurate description of NPR as “state-affiliated media.”

KNPR President and CEO Mark Vogelzang said Wednesday night in text that the Southern Nevada station was joining NPR in moving off the platform.

“It’s the quickly evolving comments and deeper discussion both inside KNPR and with out pubic radio colleagues,” Vogelzang said, explaining the station’s decision. “We will ask our listeners and readers for their feedback, too.”

Earlier Wednesday, Vogelzang indicated the station was likely to remain on the platform, but made the determination to pause after intensive internal discussions through Wednesday afternoon.

Nevada Public Radio, which oversees the radio station, website and Desert Companion magazine, announced the move overnight on what will be its final Twitter posts until further notice.

The station also posted the formal announcement on its website.

“The inaccurate status that Twitter as applied to NPR News is not helpful,” the station posted. “We understand this is a quickly evolving discussion both inside and outside public radio and public media.”

The station characterizes the move as temporary, the circumstances around the issue as fluid. “For now, our plan is to pause the use of this Twitter account,” the station said, on Twitter. The station remains active on Facebook and Instagram.

NPR posted on its website that it will no longer post fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds, as the first major news organization to pull off the social-media platform. NPR cited Twitter’s decision to first label the network “state-affiliated media,” the term it uses for propaganda media outlets in Russia, China and other autocratic countries.

Twitter later switched to labeling NPR’s account to “government-funded media.” The news organization says that definition is misleading, as NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. It receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

There are more than 300 NPR member stations across the country, all of whom operate their social media platforms independently.

Reinforcing the need for public funding, Vogelzang reminded Wednesday afternoon that KNPR is just embarking on its latest fundraising campaign. The exec said, “We’re gearing up for out pledge drive, I would use any opportunity I could to remind listeners and readers that KNPR is reliant on community support.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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