NPR adopts new measures after sex harassment investigation

FILE - This April 15, 2013 file photo shows the headquarters for National Public Radio (NPR) on North Capitol Street in Washington. NPR has adopted new measures to improve its workplace culture, following an independent investigation into sex harassment issues stemming from the ouster of a top executive. The measures include changes in management structure, a diversity committee, and pay audits to assess fairness. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

National Public Radio has adopted a series of measures to improve its workplace culture, following an independent investigation into sex harassment issues stemming from the ouster of a top executive.

The new measures, adopted unanimously by NPR's board, include changes in management structure, a diversity and inclusion committee, and pay audits to assess fairness. The investigators found, among other things, that NPR staffers often distrusted management, and that female staffers felt the company's culture favored men, in areas like opportunity, promotions and compensation.

The measures, described in a post Wednesday evening on NPR's website, were a response to a report earlier this week by independent investigators into the circumstances surrounding the ouster of Michael Oreskes, the former leader of NPR's newsroom, who resigned in November amid accusations of sexual harassment. The investigators found that Oreskes' superiors had attempted to counsel him about his behavior with women — including inappropriate emails and conversations over expense-account dinners and drinks — and issued multiple warnings, but failed to curtail the offending behavior. Oreskes was ousted only after accusations against him became public.

The new measures, posted on NPR's website Wednesday evening, include changes in its management structure to have its HR head report directly to the CEO; instituting continuous board review of HR matters including diversity and inclusion as well as harassment and bullying; improving HR management and processes; creating a diversity and inclusion committee; instituting an annual culture survey, and instituting pay audits to assess fairness.

Those measures come on top of other steps announced last week, including creating an anti-harassment support group and instituting mandatory sexual harassment training, among other things.

Oreskes was a vice president and senior managing editor at The Associated Press from 2008 until he joined NPR in 2015. Previously, he spent two decades in various positions at the New York Times, including Washington bureau chief.

The AP had one complaint of "unwelcome and inappropriate verbal communication" while Oreskes was at the news organization.

Contacted for comment Thursday, Oreskes pointed to the statement he released the day he tendered his resignation, calling his behavior "wrong and inexcusable" and accepting "full responsibility."

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