NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard talks about public radio ethics and journalism

03/18/11 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, Welcome to Radioactivity. I'm Rob Lorei. Coming up this hour an interview with the ombudsman at National Public Radio. In the wake of controversies involving an NPR executive's alleged comments to undercover conservative activists there was a vote last night in the House to defund NPR.

First up some listener comments about yesterday's discussion about the passage of the teacher merit pay bill in Tallahassee. Here's what some listeners had to say (tape).

The controversy generated by an 11 minute edited video of an NPR fundraising official allegedly making controversial remarks to undercover conservative activists has caused considerable negative fallout for the network.

NPR's reporter David Folkenflick covered the story earlier this week on Morning Edition.

We're joined now by Alicia Shepard who was appointed NPR's ombudsman in October 2007. In 2000, NPR was the first U.S. broadcast news organization to create an Ombudsman position.

In this role, Shepard serves as the public's representative, and is responsible for bringing transparency to journalism decision-making processes. She responds to queries and comments from listeners, writes a blog, appears on NPR programs to discuss listener concerns and provides guidance on journalism practices to NPR Member stations. She sees her job as explaining NPR to listeners, and listeners to NPR.

Before coming to NPR, Shepard spent four years teaching journalism and contributing to The New York Times, Washingtonian magazine, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Newark Star Ledger and The Washington Post.

email: ashepard@npr.org

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