If I Were NPR Ombudsman

By Jamie McIntyre
Line of Departure
Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 3:09 pm
Posted in On Media

NPR’s Ombudsman is out with an explanation, and mild rebuke to its newscast unit, for what one executive described as “good people doing their best hustling with great speed, who made an honest mistake.”

Writing on NPR’s web page, Alicia Shepard cites a number of mistakes and misjudgments that led to the erroneous reporting of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s death, but concludes: “While NPR made a significant mistake that dinged its credibility, it should be commended for quickly apologizing and being transparent. Rather than hurting NPR’s credibility, taking responsibility for the mistake should enhance it.”

Uh, not so fast. It’s not clear from Shepard’s review that NPR has learned the lessons of what went wrong Saturday. Shepard’s critique is good as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. NPR didn’t just make an “honest mistake,” it failed miserably at some basic rules of sourced reporting. Read more at Line of Departure



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