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

Deadline Poetry

Feb 27, 2015

For late Friday, a couple items from the mailbag. I'm not going to weigh in except to say that in my first month here I've found NPR's journalists to be very open to discussing questions about their work. I find it's often helpful to see how journalistic decisions are made; you can judge for yourselves.

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

It's a day that we wish held no particular significance, but April 19, 1995 is etched in many Oklahomans' memory banks as the most horrific day in state history.

It started out as an ordinary day, or maybe some of us had plans to make it not so ordinary -- maybe a birthday or anniversary, a day off work or some other anticipated happening that would signify a break from routine.

A story in the Washington Post, posted online on Feb. 14 and on the Feb. 15 front page, detailed how Diane Rehm "is becoming one of the country's most prominent figures in the right-to-die debate." Rehm is the longtime, well-respected host of the midday talk and call-in program, The Diane Rehm Show, which originates at Washington, D.C. station WAMU-FM.

Reader Richard Sloatberg of San Diego, Calif. wrote to ask why Ann Powers, a NPR Music correspondent, was "allowed to plug her husband's book," without a note explaining their relationship, on NPR's music news blog, The Record. Sloatberg was referring to this Feb.

After considerable discussion, we have decided to end the practice of posting an Open Forum each month. They were started at a time when my predecessor wasn't posting often, while he was working on a lengthy project. My intention is to get back to having more frequent posts, which will offer more opportunities for more focused commenting.

We'd like to move the broader discussions of NPR's journalism, ethics and standards to social media. We hope this will make it easier to hold conversations focused on single topics, rather than the jumble of issues that come up in each forum.

Correcting An 'American Legacy'

Feb 11, 2015

It's never too late to make a correction, especially when fraud may be involved.

I'm a little over two weeks into my tenure as NPR's ombudsman. That's about 200 emails to the ombudsman, a couple dozen tweets from listeners and one anonymous letter that complained in part about PBS (a separate organization.) For those of you who have sent words of welcome, thank you.

Editor's Note: My predecessor, Edward Schumacher-Matos, has been reflecting on his tenure as NPR's Ombudsman, which ended Jan. 31. Here is his final column. I'll begin posting here soon. - Elizabeth

If I am unethical, then so be it.

NPR Launches A New Podcast Directory

Jan 26, 2015

Today, we're rolling out a new podcast directory on NPR.org, and we're excited to have a beautiful new home to showcase all of the podcasts from the NPR family.

I am pleased to introduce my successor, Elizabeth Jensen. Here's the staff note from NPR CEO Jarl Mohn.

RE: Our New Ombudsman/Public Editor

All –

I'm thrilled to share the news that veteran journalist Elizabeth Jensen will become our next Ombudsman/Public Editor.

Open Forum

Jan 12, 2015

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

It was announced today that reporting projects from NPR and other public broadcasting networks won six out of fourteen 2015 duPont-Columbia Awards, one of the most highly-regarded recognitions in journalism (think: "Pulitzer Prize of news").

Open Forum

Dec 15, 2014

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

We have updated the format in order to keep the comments section open until a new forum is posted next month. While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

Did host Scott Simon unfairly—and sordidly—ambush Bill Cosby by raising rape charges in a Weekend Edition interview that was otherwise about art?

The 77-year old comedian and wife Camille—she was present—were being interviewed on air Saturday about the many pieces of art that they are lending to the Smithsonian Museum when Simon, at the end, changed the subject:

Open Forum

Nov 10, 2014

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

We have updated the format in order to keep the comments section open until a new forum is posted next month. While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

Jose Ballester of Miami, Fla., asked with apparent innocence whether an All Things Considered story about abortions in El Salvador was meant to be a "hit piece" aimed at liberalizing that nation's strict anti-abortion laws.

Morning Edition is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week.

Over the years, many stories, voices and sounds have come and gone on the show. But there has remained one constant — our theme music.

The Morning Edition theme was written by BJ Leiderman in 1979. At the time, he was a struggling college student who wrote jingles on the side. He gave a demo tape of his music to a friend who worked at NPR.

On that tape was one little musical phrase that eventually became the Morning Edition theme music.

On this day in 1979, Morning Edition broadcast its first show, bringing a new style of storytelling to the early-drive-time airwaves.

Tom Magliozzi who, along with his brother Ray, hosted NPR’s hit comedy show Car Talk for the last 37 years, died Monday morning, November 3, 2014, from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. “Turns out he wasn’t kidding,” said Ray. “He really couldn’t remember last week’s puzzler.”

And so NPR is pulling back on using the name of the Washington football team after all.

Seven months after NPR editors officially declared that they would continue to use the team's name in news reports, Mark Memmott, the standards editor, issued this guidance to the newsroom Friday:

A Word About The Name Of Washington's Football Team

We have not changed it significantly, but we have added to our guidance on the name of Washington's NFL team. Here's an update:

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