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Listener Comments - Sponsorship

Listener Comments - Sponsorship

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Published by NPRombudsman

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Published by: NPRombudsman on Mar 28, 2012
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03/28/2012

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A selection of listener comments:David Roth
wrote:I don't disagree with the ombuds position but I think his tone is totally inappropriate. Heis at the same time dismissive and condescending to those who posed a legitimatecomplaint. He seems to brush of members who I might add, represent another largechunk of NPR funding... But maybe not for long after his flippant response. I expectmore from NPR.
Adam Stephens
wrote:I think the argument that you either trust NPR's journalism or you don't, and that's that,is just absurd. No, journalists earn the trust of their audience through their work, pieceby piece. I don't think their was anything sinister or conniving in the ATC piece, like theywere colluding with the sponsor to sell product. I think it was just a sloppy, lazy fluff piece, the kind you expect Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera to do on the Today Show, andthat is the reason why people turn to NPR's programming for something moresearching, with more integrity and purpose. As such, this deserved to be called out bylisteners. ATC should just cop to it, do a mea culpa, and use it as a lesson to do betterwork in the future. That's how they'll earn the trust back of people who were offended.
John Smith (MiddleAmerica)
wrote:To quote exactly a phrase that has everyone upset "You either trust NPR's reporters andeditors to be impartial, or you don't". The comment is that you as an individual, aconsumer of news & politics & opinion, either listen to NPR & put trust in theimpartiality of the reporters, or you listen to NPR & you feel that the reporters arecompletely biased. That last one means you listen to NPR to find all the faults.I listened to the segment and in NO WAY can you come across as thinking Ms. Cornish isendorsing the product just by drinking it. Having not consumed the product myself, I'mglad to hear her first thoughts on it. And they were not good. If she was so concernedwith them as a sponsor, and so biased, she would have faked her liking of the product.
Stephen Curtis
wrote:
 
You have three choices. 1) Don't cover stories having to do with sponsors. 2) Dropsponsors then cover the story. 3) For every minute of airtime that favors a sponsor, giveanother minute to a position that opposes it. It is that simple. Nothing that bends, twists
 
or excuses any of those is appropriate. Even the appearance of impropriety calls intoquestion everything that NPR stands for.
Marcus Nobreus
wrote:Not trying to be personal or any kind of attack on you as a person, but NPR stands, in mymind, for integrity and truth, and in the story of the "Impossible Standard" the wholearticle is about why NPR did right in not making a truthful article on 5-hour energy.Corporate sponsor or not, I would have liked to have seen a non-biased, investigativereport on the company or it's product, and the positive and the negative health-effectsof the product. In not doing so, NPR is fully letting go of it's (in my mind) highly heldbanner of truth and non-partisanship. I am afraid that if this is the mentality of NPR, thatyou, Mr. Schumacher-Matos, claim that it is, NPR is not going to remain with it's highstandards that I have come to know it by. This will definitely make me not listen to theradiostation anymore, if this truly is the stand NPR goes by. What if the 5-hour energydrink turned out to be hazardous to human health, would you then report on it? Orwould the corporate sponsorship bias prevent that as well? This thinking is exactly whathas landed us in the place where we are today, in which truth always is lost when"money passes hands". I beg you, Mr. Schumacher-Matos, to rethink this and reconsiderNPR's stands on this.
Sean McGovern
wrote:This article seems to state that because it's impossible to eliminate all conflicts, there'sno need to disclose the most obvious ones. The logic is flawed and disappointing. NPR ismissing the boat here, and this article is making it worse.
Victor Frankenstein (Nicodemus145)
wrote:We know you don't HAVE to make a disclaimer on every piece about a sponsor, and weknow you can't eliminate EVERY possible conflict of interest in your stories. The point isthat your listeners trust you to a higher standard than other media outlets, and a simpleone-line acknowledgement of their sponsorship would have been enough, especiallysince the piece stepped over the huge, gaping, obvious question that everyone asksabout those energy drinks: the health effects.
Deb Hosey
wrote:White I've written employer handbooks for years. It's not a handbook problem.Disclosure is essential and with each news agency who tosses it out the window, the
 
public loses. It's not that you don't or can't do the story--you just let your audienceknow about the relationship.
Chris Bilbro
wrote:I don't think the segment was as problematic as some of your readers seem to, butwouldn't a brief disclosure have put everyone's mind at ease anyway? What exactly is sounnecessary about at least mentioning the connection? I think reducing it to "just trustus, we're expert journalists" sort of misses the point
Marc Dadigan
wrote:Why wouldn't you put a disclaimer. . . it's important information and it would help buildtrust. . . this policy only makes it look like you're trying to hide something.
Matt Potter
wrote:Like others have said a simple disclosure would have sufficed and at least gave listenersa chance to look at it objectively. After the fact seems dishonest.
Mark Schlicher
 
wrote:
"it's too hard" is no excuse. If trust is the issue then what erodes trust more than lack of disclosure? Much more could be said but I agree with the general tone of commentsthat this is weak and full of flawed and self serving justification.
Kimberly Oppen
wrote:I was completely unaware of the initial piece that sparked this debate. However, I can'thelp but be turned off by the tone, message and quality of writing in this response pieceby the ombudsman. Insulting your audience usually isn't good for business.
Glenda Folsom
wrote:I stopped reading because I got insulted because he is basically saying that corporatemoney is more useful than listener money. Well there goes my tax deductible donation.The comments, however, insisted that I read all the way to the last paragraph and now Iquestion if I will continue to listen to NPR.
Jay Simpson (JSimpson)
wrote:Clearly this issue has struck a thorn in many listeners and producers and merits furtherconversation. My feedback is directed to this post itself, an unprofessional andcondescending rant. Edward Schumacher-Matos, I did not need 1,600 words or your C/V

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