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"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Former Miami Herald Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos -whose position at the Herald remains unfilled 27 months later by McClatchy execs- as NPR's Ombudsman, lays the wood into NPR's Laura Sullivan & Amy Walters for a 2011 investigation re foster care in South Dakota, which officials there took umbrage with, and for good reason it seems. “My finding is that the series was deeply flawed and should not have been aired as it was”

NPR stands by story its ombudsman criticized
by Andrew Beaujon
Published Aug. 12, 2013 5:29 pm
Updated Aug. 12, 2013 5:34 pm
There are six chapters of NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos’ epic examination of Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters’ October 2011 investigation about foster care in South Dakota.
The series won awards but was also criticized by the state’s governor and head of its Department of Social Services. “Many South Dakota residents also have written me in disapproval of it,” Schumacher-Matos writes. “My finding is that the series was deeply flawed and should not have been aired as it was.” 
Read the rest at:

Edward Schumacher-Matos split his Ombudsman position at the Miami Herald in May of 2011 after he'd been WITHOUT either a blog or a weekly print or online column, but rather saddled with a peculiar once-in-a-while, sometimes every 3-4 months column thing, for NPR in Washington, D.C. 

Schumacher-Matos' position at the Herald remains unfilled 27 months later by McClatchy execs, who seem to place no value on readers and their questions of fairness or bias having a seat at the table.
There's nobody to represent readers' deep and justified concerns about examples of bias, misrepresentation and flackery in the paper on behalf of South Florida's powerful and privileged, who have high-powered attorneys and PR consultants to ensure they are seen only in the most positive light.

But then that's just one of many unresolved customer problems there these days that cause it to lose readers every week.

It's fair to say that a lot of people in South Florida took ESM and his position for granted, including lots of local bloggers and politicians, and the Herald certainly did him no favors by NOT giving him much of a perch to speak out from.

But something, even infrequent, is better than nada, and right now, with that reader level of confidence among serious readers of the Herald as low as it's ever been, it's worth a minute to consider what message they are sending when they refuse to name anyone to that position.

His infrequent columns at least tried to keep Herald reporters and editors on the level and be square with readers, but since he left, anything goes -and does.

While I've written about this troubling subject many times on this blog, and have written Herald management and editors about their failure to fill the position, even posting those emails to them here for you to see for yourselves, it's clear they have a different point-of-view.
It is what it is.

To see how indifferent they are to reader perceptions of bias or unfairness, take a poke at my blog post from May of 2012 titled, "What's going on at the Miami Herald? More than a year after the last one fled, the Herald still lacks an Ombudsman -and shows no sign of getting one- to represent readers deep concerns about bias, misrepresentation and flackery on behalf of South Florida's powerful & privileged at the Herald. And that's just one of many unresolved problems there..." 

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