Tuesday roundup: NPR ombud examines climate coverage; Wisconsin station mourns reporter’s death

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• In his latest column, NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos evaluates accusations that the network skimped on coverage of the Sept. 21 People’s Climate March in New York. He finds that NPR handled the story appropriately. “‘’In the spectrum of the news we cover on a daily basis, our coverage on this topic was immediate, substantive and measured,’ Gerry Holmes, NPR deputy managing for news, said, and he was right,” Schumacher-Matos writes.

Simonson (Photo: WPR)

Simonson (Photo: WPR)

As for arguments that NPR is in the pocket of corporate interests, the ombud replies: “In its coverage of climate change, NPR long ago crossed the bridge to conclude that, based on the science, climate change is real and we humans are contributing to it. Some of the email writers seem to want NPR to be an advocate on the issue, but beyond drawing attention to it, NPR isn’t one and shouldn’t be.”

Meanwhile, NPR Standards & Practices Editor Mark Memmott examines why the network waited hours after other media outlets to report the name of the Ebola patient being treated in Dallas. “We never want to get anything wrong,” Memmott wrote. “But there are some things we really, Really, REALLY don’t want to get wrong. Naming the first person to have ‘brought’ Ebola to the U.S. is certainly among them.”

• Wisconsin Public Radio is mourning the death of Mike Simonson, a reporter who covered Northern Wisconsin for the station since 1990. “Mike covered the northwoods like no one else for nearly 25 years,” said WPR Director Mike Crane. “He was a wonderful influence on all of us, and on so many other people. It’s really hard to imagine that we will stop hearing his expressive voice on WPR. He will be missed by colleagues and listeners for a long time to come,” he added.

And trainer and producer Susan Davis remembers working with longtime public radio trainer David Candow, who died Sept. 18. “[W]hen I explain to podcasters about the power of silence, I think of him nodding, his glasses having slid partly down his nose, his dry palms rubbing together, his ears vibrating,” Davis writes. “I think of his slow motion smile when one of my trainees hits a fact with feeling, or asks the exact right question at the exact right time.”

• A host on community radio station KZYX in Philo, Calif., took to the pages of a local newspaper to threaten a lawsuit against the station. John Sakowicz, also a board member of the station’s license-holder, says he suffered “severe emotional distress” because the station’s g.m. is asking him to retract a complaint he filed with the FCC. Sakowicz’s FCC complaint prompted outrage from the station’s board in March, reported the Fort Bragg Advocate-News, and he apparently sued a California newspaper in 2010. Community radio — never a dull moment!

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