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NPR Podcasts Turn 10!

Aug 31, 2015

New technologies come with a big asterisk. We can never be sure whether they'll catch on and stick around for more than one or two seasons worth of holiday promotions. As a media organization, we're constantly investigating these new tools – and sometimes creating them – to make things better for people on the other side of the speakers or screens.

A picture of a gun pointed at a victim, from the perspective of the shooter. The sound of gunshots. A photo of the gunman. Listeners and readers wrote to the Ombudsman's office with questions and criticisms of NPR's editorial choices as it covered Wednesday's killing of two television journalists from WDBJ, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Va. A third person who was being interviewed was also shot and injured.

In recent weeks, listeners have written with many concerns about NPR's coverage of Planned Parenthood. Funding for the organization has received renewed political scrutiny following the drip-drip-drip release beginning in July of highly-edited sting videos, which critics say show organization employees selling fetal tissue; Planned Parenthood officials say the tissue has been donated, not sold.

When listeners aren't writing to NPR to comment on a story, they mostly just want to know what music was played between segments. We call those buttons or breaks or deadrolls, and they give a breath after reporting a tragedy, lighten the mood after you most definitely cried during StoryCorps, or seize a moment to be ridiculously cheeky. How could you not play Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" following a story about why women shiver in the office?

Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have been on the move in recent months, fleeing war, persecution, and poverty. NPR correspondents have been on the scene, with compelling accounts from the beaches of Greece and makeshift camps in France and, last spring, from Southeast Asia.

UPDATED Sept. 3: We have been having some issues with our streaming server which are unrelated to the new player. Sporadic outages have occurred, lasting anywhere from one minute to several hours. Please bear with us as we work to resolve the server issues.

Original post:

I came back from a few days away to a barrage of emails from supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Join the SciFri Book Club This Summer

Aug 7, 2015

The SciFri Book Club is back in session! Last winter, we ventured deep into the gnat-infested Amazon jungle with David Grann’s tale of Victorian-era exploration, The Lost City of Z. This time, the only bugs are in the hardware. Join us as we read Tracy Kidder’s true story of computer engineering heroism, The Soul of a New Machine.

When Animals Talk, NPR Listens

Jul 30, 2015
Did you catch what just came out of that critter's mouth? What does it all mean?!

Listen, and listen closely. NPR has been decoding the rich, sonic communication between living creatures: the songs of whales, the call of a cricket, the chirp of a treehopper (a cousin of the cicada). And now you can tune into this wild world of "unheard" conversations.

How We Work: A Week In The Ombudsman's Office

Jul 29, 2015

Editor's Note: Elizabeth is out of the office this week. In the interim, we thought it was a good time to answer readers who have been asking about our process. Here's a look at how we operate in the Ombudsman's office.