Even perhaps worse, Ms. Cooper remarked early on that she’d by no means heard of Brian Lehrer, the beloved WNYC morning host whose gently probing, public-spirited interviews embody the station’s attraction, and that she didn’t “get” why he was in style. She has since come to the view that “Brian is the soul of the station and, in some ways, the town itself,” a WNYC spokeswoman, Jennifer Houlihan Roussel, mentioned in an e mail.
In actual fact, Ms. Cooper’s mission was to jump-start the station’s lagging digital transformation, one thing she had carried out with uncommon success in San Francisco and that requires a willingness to make enemies. She has formidable plans to rent 15 to twenty extra reporters — however first she had the near-impossible project of bringing collectively a bunch of conventional radio journalists, used to working for days and infrequently weeks on colourful native options, with the reporters at Gothamist, the scrappy native weblog that WNYC bailed out in 2018. Ms. Cooper sought to professionalize Gothamist away from its bloggy and irreverent roots, telling reporters to be much less brazenly hostile to the New York Police Division of their reporting, two reporters mentioned. Ms. Roussel urged that Ms. Cooper was attempting to rein in Gothamist’s behavior of including “a component of editorializing to its protection that may be interpreted as bias.”
And Ms. Cooper began pushing the radio journalists to choose up their tempo and to file tales for the online. That appeared like an inexpensive request, but it surely led to a different stumble in early February, when an 18-year veteran of the radio facet, Fred Mogul, filed a narrative with one paragraph printed in a special font. The editor realized it was Related Press copy; Ms. Cooper promptly fired Mr. Mogul for plagiarism with out a assessment of whether or not he’d ever carried out it earlier than.
Ms. Cooper declined to talk to me about Mr. Mogul’s termination. However one factor I discovered this week about public radio is that it doesn’t matter what is going on, somebody is all the time recording it. And that was true when Ms. Cooper known as a digital assembly Feb. 5 over Zoom to tell the complete newsroom of her choice to fireside Mr. Mogul. In keeping with a replica of the recording supplied to me by an attendee, Ms. Cooper informed the staffers, “It’s completely OK to be unhappy.” However then a number of shocked radio reporters questioned the transfer, explaining that they commonly included A.P. copy into tales on air and had imported the follow to WNYC’s little-read web site, crediting The A.P. on the backside of the story.
“Go by each single certainly one of our articles and fireplace all of us, as a result of that’s precisely what now we have all carried out,” one host, Rebeca Ibarra, informed her.
After this text was revealed on-line, Mr. Mogul’s lawyer, Cynthia Rollings, mentioned in an e mail that he disputed the accusation that he had misused A.P. copy and mentioned that his draft had included attribution to The A.P. She mentioned Mr. Mogul “has commenced authorized motion towards Audrey Cooper and New York Public Radio for wrongful termination and defamation.” (His response to an earlier e mail searching for remark went to my spam folder.)