Who Is Vivian Schiller?

by Brian Bolduc

A little background on Vivian Schiller, the president and CEO of NPR who distinguished herself by (and later apologized for) suggesting Juan Williams’s comments made him practically certifiable. In 1983, she graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Soviet Studies. Two years later, she emerged from Middlebury College with a master’s degree in Russian.

Schiller began her journalistic career in 1988 as a Russian interpreter in the former Soviet Union for Turner Broadcasting. She spent ten years with Turner as vice president of development, producing many award-winning documentaries, such as Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream.

From 1998 to 2002, she served as executive vice president of CNN Productions, where she helped launch People in the News and CNN Presents. Afterward, she spent four years at the Discovery Times Channel as senior vice president and general manager. Between May 2006 and December 2008, Schiller was senior vice president and general manager of NYTimes.com. Finally, in January 2009, Schiller took her role as the head of NPR.

In other words, Schiller is a successful, mainstream journalist — which may explain her tone-deaf handling of Williams’s firing.

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