Chief legal officer and general counsel
Before becoming chief legal officer and general counsel of NPR in 2014, Jon Hart spent 27 years in private practice. Hart joined Dow Lohnes & Albertson in 1986, became a partner in 1991, co-founded the Media & Information Technologies practice in the mid-90s, and served on the board of Dow Lohnes for more than a decade. In January 2014, Dow Lohnes merged into Cooley LLP, where he served as a partner in the Technology Transactions Group, before joining NPR in June of that year. Early on, his practice focused on newsroom law. He did prepublication and pre-broadcast review for dozens of newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters; and defended libel and privacy suits, also litigating freedom of information and press access cases in state and federal courts throughout the US. Clients included The Palm Beach Post, The Toledo Blade, Worth magazine, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Elkhart Truth, the Charleston Gazette, the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Cox Newspapers Washington Bureau, WFTV, WSB-TV, WSOC, KFI, WIOD, and many others. With the rise of the internet in the 1990s, his practice became more digitally focused and more transactional. He represented large diversified media companies (such as Cox and Discovery), technology companies (such as Intuit and Intel), and a wide range of media and technology start-ups and maturing companies. Hart served as outside general counsel to the Online News Association, New Century Network, the Center for Public Integrity, Worth magazine, Cox Interactive Media, the Online Publishers Association (now Digital Content Next), and AutoTrader.com, among others. In terms of his current role, Hart observes that ‘NPR faces increased competition for talent and for audience. But we have some of the best journalists and storytellers in the business and connect deeply with our expanding audience, the largest in NPR’s history and strong across all platforms’. NPR has the top two radio shows in the US; more than 30 million people listen to NPR programming and newscasts each week; more than 40 million unique visitors go to NPR.org every month and it is the largest podcast producer in the country by a wide margin. In April 2017, NPR was named the Harris Poll EquiTrend News Service “Brand of the Year”. It was also named the most trusted news brand and the most loved news brand. Hart adds that, ‘this job is endlessly interesting; I genuinely like the people I work with; and I believe passionately in the importance of the work our journalists do every day‘.