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This space includes commentary from the NPR Ombudsman, Elizabeth Jensen, the public's representative to NPR, serving as an independent source regarding NPR's programming.

In this week's Mailbag: praise for the way Morning Edition has been bundling fact-checking with its live interviews and questions about an All Things Considered interview with a CIA psychologist.

A New Way To Fact Check

NPR's recent announcement of a new wine club (a bottle of "All Grapes Considered" Malbec, anyone?) garnered largely

"Lone wolf" or "domestic terrorist"?

Sunday night's Las Vegas shooting brought a strong response from NPR's newsroom, but, as with any major breaking news story, listeners and readers had questions and complaints. Chief among them was how NPR referred to the now-dead gunman, a white man.

For social media editors, the worst nightmare is accidentally posting something personal on the work account.

On Monday night, NPR swing editor Christopher Dean Hopkins lived that nightmare when he posted about Ramona, on NPR's Facebook account:

Twelve minutes later, after realizing his mistake, he edited that post and replaced it with this:

"We don't generally delete posts, so I tried to do it in a way that would be transparent," Hopkins says. "My job is to promote our good work, and I catastrophically failed in that last night."

NPR One: An Award-Winning Cross-Platform Experience

Sep 20, 2017

Since launching NPR One in 2014, we've been working to deliver a news and storytelling experience that meets users in all the places they are now and will be in the future. For the Digital Media team, this has meant designing and building focused, yet flexible apps for smartphones, smart TVs, car infotainment systems, wearable devices, voice platforms, and more.

The investigative reporters at ProPublica turned up a disturbing story about Facebook "taking money to connect advertisers with anti-Semites," as Morning Edition host Rachel Martin phrased it last week. NPR's reporting on the story, however inadvertently, raised its own disturbing newsroom lapses.

Making a mistake is a pit-in-the-stomach fear of most good reporters. But how a news organization approaches corrections is one of the defining factors separating trustworthy journalism from the media pack. No news organization is going to be error-free, particularly as news cycles get ever faster, so trustworthy news organizations correct mistakes quickly and they don't try to hide them. To the contrary, they make any needed corrections prominently, giving audiences confidence that, overall, the news outlet's reporting is solid.

A Thursday Morning Edition interview with a Red Cross official and its companion online story (posted late Wednesday night) have prompted an outpouring of complaints to my office and NPR and on social media.

NPR listeners are a compassionate bunch. All week they have been emailing to say they are anxious to know what happened to 19-year-old Jada Wilson in northeast Houston, who on Sunday told Michel Martin of being trapped with her family in her grandmother's home in waist-deep water, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey flooding. As Martin noted, listeners could hear the water, seemingly lapping around her, in the background.

A year ago, NPR announced its decision to end commenting at the end of stories on NPR.org, terminating a form of audience engagement that had been a fixture of NPR's digital site since 2008. At the time, NPR executives told me they were investigating newer moderation systems that could eventually make it feasible to reintroduce the comments feature. (One reason behind the decision to end comments was a lack of staff resources to keep the comments from tipping into incivility.)

Faces Of NPR: Daniel Zwerdling

Aug 18, 2017

The Basics

Name: Daniel Zwerdling

Twitter Handle: @dzwerdling

Job Title: Correspondent, Investigations Unit

Where You're From: Silver Spring, Maryland

An Inside Look

You're a Correspondent in the Investigations Unit at NPR. What does that mean?

On June 18, NPR published an online-only review of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, a newly published nonfiction book by Duke University historian Nancy MacLean. NPR's reviewer praised the book for revealing a "clear and present danger" to the future of the country (the review is prominently excerpted on the book's Amazon page); reviewers at other publications did, as well.

Two days before my first trip to Afghanistan, in 2007, I was terrified, speaking no Dari and having never interviewed anyone in a war zone. On impulse, I grabbed my little red travel accordion, mumbling something about using the "universal language of music" to connect with people whose world seemed wholly different from my own.

Faces Of NPR: Tamara Keith

Aug 8, 2017

Faces Of NPR is a weekly feature that showcases the people behind NPR, from the voices you hear every day on the radio to the ones who work outside of the recording studio. You'll find out about what they do and what they're inspired by on the daily. This week's post features NPR's White House Correspondent and co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast, Tamara Keith.

The Basics:

Name: Tamara Keith

Twitter Handle: @tamarakeithNPR

The Ombudsman's mailbox last week included complaints about NPR's decision to use some foul language, and the choice of a particular interview subject. Here are some newsroom responses.

Why Some Foul Words, But Not Others?

My job — for years now — has been NPR national political correspondent. I spend lots of time on the road. Chasing candidates, certainly, but also sitting down to have conversations — some long, some short — with voters.

Last week, a milestone.

While in Wyoming, on a visit with our colleagues at Wyoming Public Media, I checked off number 50 on the list of states I've been to. Fifty. I've actually spent time in all of them now. Not just changing planes at the airport.

Faces Of NPR: Yuki Noguchi

Jul 28, 2017

Faces Of NPR is a weekly feature that showcases the people behind NPR, from the voices you hear every day on the radio to the ones who work outside of the recording studio. You'll find out about what they do and what they're inspired by on the daily. This week's post features NPR's Business Correspondent, Yuki Noguchi.

The Basics:

Name: Yuki Noguchi

Twitter Handle: @yukinoguchi

Why I Give: Marcy Syms

Jul 25, 2017

When it comes to the Sy Syms Foundation and public radio, there are many points of harmony. The Foundation has partnered with NPR and WNYC for decades, supporting initiatives around education, communication, access to information, science and the arts.

NPR is changing the way it labels opinion content online next week. Readers of npr.org will be well served by this move, which will more clearly distinguish news content from pieces that express personal opinions or take sides on an issue.

Starting July 25, online content that is currently labeled as "Commentary" — including pieces on the 13.7: Cosmos & Culture blog and the NPR Ombudsman column — will instead be called "Opinion," highlighted in bright blue. Book, movie and television reviews will also get a new blue "Review" label.

Kids Review Wow in the World

Jul 19, 2017

In May NPR launched Wow in the World, a new podcast for kids ages 5-12 that illuminates the wonders of science, technology, discovery and inventions. Through comedy and conversation, hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas guide curious kids and their grown-ups away from their screens, inside their brains, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology.

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