A Recipe For Confusion As NPR Turns To A Sponsor For Thanksgiving Help

Cookbook piece leaves some questioning whether it was paid content.

Thanksgiving cooking pieces roll out on the radio as reliably as the turkey centerpiece itself. Producers need holiday-themed content, and listener-cooks (like me) need new ideas. Cliché? Maybe, but it can be a win-win when done right. But that's the caveat: just as with the Thanksgiving bird, success is all in the execution.

And so we have a tale of two recent NPR holiday cooking pieces. One drew no complaints. The other came across to some listeners (largely in the public radio community itself) as so promotional that they questioned whether it was paid content on behalf of an NPR sponsor. That's the one I'll focus on first.

For the record, NPR does not air or publish on its website any paid-for stories that masquerade as newsroom-produced pieces. But in the case of the criticized piece, tied to a new cookbook from Blue Apron, the very disclosure that the – had the unintended consequence of making some believe the piece was paid for by the company. (Again, to be clear, it wasn't.)

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