Wednesday roundup: Rosen criticizes NPR ombud posting; contest calls for tote-bag designs

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• NPR’s posting for its soon-to-be-vacant ombudsman position contains some troubling wording, according to New York University media professor Jay Rosen. Passages of the description instruct the ombud to refrain from “commentary or judgment”; on his blog, Rosen asks whether that appears “to prohibit the ombudsman from criticizing the performance of NPR journalists.” Two former NPR ombudsmen, Alicia Shepard and Jeffrey Dvorkin, expressed concern to Rosen about the wording and the negative effect it would have had on their roles.

NPR’s current ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, exits his position next month. Schumacher-Matos raised hackles within the organization last year for his extensive re-reporting and critical assessment of an NPR reporter’s Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative series about Native foster care in South Dakota.

• Can’t get enough of tote bags? The pubmedia advocacy group Protect My Public Media is holding a contest for fans of the ubiquitous pledge gifts to design the organization’s “first official tote bag.” Interested designers can submit mock-ups by Aug. 1; entries “should illustrate your personal experiences with public radio and television stations and reflect how your stations enrich your life and connects you with your community,” according to the contest form. The grand-prize winner receives an iPad mini and, of course, a tote bag.

• The FCC has extended its website’s open-comment deadline for proposed net-neutrality legislation until Friday, due to a problem with its filing system. The initial deadline for comments was Tuesday. FCC Special Counsel for External Affairs Gigi Sohn announced the extended deadline on Twitter.

Scott Nourse


• PBS has named Scott Nourse v.p. of product development for its PBS Digital division, where he will oversee all digital product development. Nourse comes to the pubcaster from Sony Pictures Interactive, where he was s.v.p. of product operations. He will report to Ira Rubenstein, s.v.p. and g.m., PBS Digital. Nourse fills the position vacated in January by Jon Brendsel, who left PBS to join the network’s former head of digital Jason Seiken at the Telegraph Media Group in London.

• Radiolab‘s Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich dropped by The Colbert Report Monday to discuss the nature of curiosity with Stephen Colbert. While the pair tried to explain cloud weight to Colbert, they also admitted that their NPR/WNYC show is likely to be enjoyed by stoned college students.

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