Say No To NPR


What happens when you have a reporter get drunk on cheap Press Club of India whiskey? He starts bitching about a fellow reporter. This evening I picked up some juicy gossip. Apparently the last National Public Radio correspondent in India (Some Sullivan chap) was living large. He had a nice place in Golf Links, which is a really posh colony in South Delhi. Like Brentwood in LA or Seacliff in San Francisco or upper Madison Avenue in New York. The rents there are generally about $3000+ in this hood. Do the math and imagine what he was getting paid!) Anyway it is clear that despite working for a “network of the masses” he was not living with the masses. So next time NPR wants to hit you up for cash, well think again.

He was not alone. For instance, Bloomberg’s head honcho lives in Jor Bagh, which is like Presidio Heights in San Francisco. Others have equally posh addresses. But nothing like the New York Times which has this beautiful colonial mansion in the most prestigious neighborhood. Actually my evening mates were ranting against the foreign correspondents who lived in India. They get pretty serious salaries, and something called a hardship bonus. What hardship – two servants, a driver, and a palatial house. I would pay to get a gig like that.

It is no surprise that anything new is ever written – after all luxury begins at home!


oh *really*

just so you know it’s not just rumor, it’s a fact that many expats regularly live LAVISH lifestyles when posted in india. They can just thank God everyday for that, coz in their own countries they live in a 3-room apartment with no cook/gardner/chauffer. The houses they live in e.g. in Golf Links are PALATIAL. Residential areas like this one often look like “little america/europe” as most sahebs/memsahebs are expats. I don’t think they have anything to bitch about.

How do I know all this – apart from being from delhi, over something like 15 years I’ve been over to the homes of scores of expat NGO workers as well as corporate types from multinationals (social engagements with my parents). Mostly very nice people (well the same as anywhere) but their lifestyle is *lavish* and only 5-star – this is not what they get in their own countries I know coz I’ve lived in the west (USA, Oz, Europe) for 9 years.

They can be thankful they get posted to India where they lead not only luxurious lives but also have access to every technology, overflowing markets and an active nightlife. I mean _mechanics_ from celphone companies who here would have a 500 sq.ft. crappo apt. and think twice about partying every night live in state-of-the-art apartment-hotels complete with fountains in the landscaped gardens and swimming pool.

Hardship my foot. They get a lot based on this myth about the “great standard of life” in the west, i mean it’s good even in the west when you’re well off, but the rest of the time it’s fairly crappy. Anyway don’t want to set off an international incident here I’m done : )


“A far more balanced institution is the NY Post where the only perk reporters get is a free subcription to Fox tv.”

Oh, please. The NY Post is a homophobic gossip rag. And I don’t see how a subscription to Fox TV is a perk.

Boggy T. Wash

Yes, this is one of the liberal media’s dirty little secrets. Thank you for exposing it! Of course these people are paid terribly handsomely and often have tremendous staffs at their beck and call. Why I remember hearing stories about the NY Times parking lot filled with reporters’ Rolls Royces and that many actually keep private zoos stocked with endangered species in their penthouses! Also regarding NPR, I hear that since they’re connected nominally with federal institutions, each reporter is given one Monet or Renoir a year from the National Gallery. This madness must stop!

A far more balanced institution is the NY Post where the only perk reporters get is a free subcription to Fox tv.

Bill Negoci

The comments on this entry have been fascinatingly divergent, if not very enlightening. As a reasonably objective oberver, one wouldn’t know what to think was true. Unfortunately, the drive-by potshot that was the original entry only stirred up the pro-NPR / anti-NPR forces, without resulting in much clarity. Food for thought, at least!


It’s about time someone exposed NPR for the fraud that it is. Thanks, Om.


I still don’t know why no one has commented on the reliability of this gossip: “so like a friend of a friend of an acquaintance of mine says that some reporter got drunk and told him about a friend of a friend of his who lives in this huge expensive house and works for NPR…” ugh. if you had some real facts from reliable sources THEN i’d give a shit.


Oops, I am not rteferring to NPR correspondents salaries. I am tlakign about the correspondents for the major dailies.

However, i saw the way the NPR correspondent lived in Meciso City (Phillip Davis, when he lived in DF). He may not have made that much, but he lived in large house with a maid.

The Newsweek correspondent in DF was living in a sweet $3,000 a month crib, paid in full by Newswekk apart from his salary.

The NYT bureau is in a HUGE gothic mansion literally next door to the richest man in Latin America. Ginger THompson lives very well, and her stories and sources reflect that lifestyle.


I think it’s unfair to target NPR. All correspondents live in these conditions. Otherwise, I agee: they live pretty well, making over 100K per year PLUS living subsidies. They hang out with the rich and powerful, often writing stories by quoting only official sources and/or re-hashing what is reported in the local dailies.


These comments are spectacularly ill-informed. I have first hand knowledge of the salaries of NPR reporters. Most of them make an average amount of money. Some make a bit more- but they could make alot more if they went to work for a commercial network. These reporters are willing to accept a lower salary in order to work in an environment that supports excellence in journalism.

Why does anyone expect talented and experienced NPR (and PBS) employees to work for a pittance just because we receive partial funding from our listeners/viewers? Certainly, the American Public deserves to hear ans see the best available content. Well, the only way to get the best is to PAY FOR IT.


Thanks, Om. I stopped giving to NPR a few years ago. What you’re hearing doesn’t surprise me. The reporting is painfully out of touch. Usually it’s navel-gazingly baby-boomer focused (from Bob Edwards fascination with sports stars of yore to whatever Linda Gradstein is gabbing endlessly and boringly about), but the foreign reporting also seems very insulated. Usually I just hear how out-of-touch NPR is from its middle-east reporting, but now that you point it out, their India coverage has been equally ill informed. Now I know why. Thanks — I think I’ll keep giving my money to real news organizations in the form of subscriptions.

Raja Hindustani

Great points.

But then who really cares about NPR? Only the pseudo-intelligent and baby boomers (and the boomers are close to death anyway).


Have you ever been to Delhi? sensi63 is right, it’s a TOTAL shithole. there is no way a decent journalist would take an assignment there w/o knowing that he’d get to live well. Servants and drivers sound great and all, but you have to put up with so much sh!t living there that it wouldn’t even be close to worth it.


it is not npr asking for money, it is member stations, who have to pay npr, mpr, and pri to air all the varied public radio programs.


Delhi is a shithole and I would not live there for 500k a year. I hung out with very (Tata league) wealthy people there, and found the standard of living to be much lower that upper middle class americans, servants and drivers aside.


This is the stupidest diatribe against NPR that I’ve ever heard. What a waste of gossip space – even for a blog.

Grow up.

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