NPR no longer active on Twitter

Lora Kelley and Katie Robertson, reporting for the New York Times:

“NPR’s organizational accounts will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent,” Isabel Lara, NPR’s chief communications officer, said in a statement.

What’s that sound I’m hearing? Oh right, that is the sound of me adding NPR to my very short list of Safari Favourites. For general news, I now have France 24, The Guardian, and NPR. Of course I am a regular reader of many other websites, via direct access (from folders within my Favourites bar), RSS feeds, and newsletters.

I just had to add NPR to the list, as my personal way to reward them for this decision.1 A decision that is somehow rare enough among publishers that it triggers an article by the New York Times. I don’t think I have another example in mind of a big media company like NPR — and its 52 related accounts — who stopped using Twitter.2

Sure, we had to wait until NPR felt directly insulted by Twitter for them to simply stop tweeting — we’re not talking about deleting the account here — and they seemed to be fine before despite all the other things Twitter and Musk did to undermine journalism, free speech, etc.

I agree with Om Malik on the reasons why journalists and publishers don’t just quit Twitter, considering everything:

I thought everyone in media was leaving for the extinct pachyderm platform a while ago. This media meltdown on Twitter about their blue check marks tells me that audience trumps everything!

The question at this point must be this one: is the amount of traffic and influence brought in by a Twitter account worth all the troubles, and worth keeping Twitter relevant?

It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem: the more journalists and publishers do what NPR did and stop tweeting, the less reasons regular users will have to keep using Twitter, and the less relevant the platform will become, making it even easier to stop tweeting, etc.

Today, it certainly looks like journalists — and not just journalists and publishers, but also politicians, brands, creatives, etc. — are waiting for regular users to abandon the ship before leaving themselves, whereas regular users stay on Twitter because they don’t want to miss content shared by these accounts. This status-quo is extremely beneficial to Musk and Twitter: to put it shortly and simplifying to an extreme, staying on Twitter eventually helps Musk’s agenda.

I’m not going into more details here on this very complex topic, but to me it looks like we are all secretly counting on brands and advertisers to do the right thing, even if these decisions are ROI-driven. The heroes of our times!

A text-only version of NPR

Going back to NPR, they have this neat text-only version of the homepage, which I think is fantastic to check headlines daily without being tricked into clicking by pictures. For the same reason I used to really like the DW app back in the days, which allowed users to turn off thumbnails.

The only problem with the text-only version of NPR is that the links appears very blue (default links appearance on browsers) and therefore a little too hard to read for my tastes. I therefore added a little specific CSS via StopTheMadness to make it easier on the eyes:

a { text-decoration:none; color:unset; border-bottom: 1px dotted }

Now it looks great. I wish more websites would offer such an alternative homepage like this.3

Another advantage of this text-only version is that is works great with JavaScript turned off: that’s right, I’m back at using a JavaScript blocker since learning about the extent of what was possible with web fingerprinting. This time I’m not blocking all websites by default, but blocking JavaScript on a per-site basis if I figure that one site will still be perfectly readable without it. This is the case with most of the news websites I usually read.

To end this post on a fun note, I loved the Onion’s American Voices bit on NPR being falsely labeled “state-affiliated” media:

“Like the U.S. government would ever fund anything.”


  1. Along with a small donation.↩︎

  2. Just after publishing this post, news broke of Swedish Radio stopping their Twitter activity, a few days after Canada’s CBC.↩︎

  3. Decent list of text-only news sites available here. Some of them don’t really work for me as they are basically unfiltered RSS feeds: unlike the NPR site, it doesn’t make for a good experience because of the numerous articles published everyday.↩︎