Edward Schumacher-Matos

Edward Schumacher-Matos is the ombudsman for NPR. His column can be found on NPR.org here.

Having spent more than three decades as a reporter and editor in the United States and abroad for some of the nation's most prestigious news outlets, and having founded his own newspapers, Schumacher-Matos has a deep understanding of the essential role that journalists play in upholding a vital democracy. He also intimately understands the demands that reporters and editors face every day.

Immediately prior to joining NPR in June 2011, Schumacher-Matos wrote a syndicated weekly column for The Washington Post and was the ombudsman for The Miami Herald. Earlier, he founded four Spanish-language daily newspapers in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and the Rio Grande Valley; served as the founding editor and associate publisher of the Wall Street Journal's Spanish and Portuguese insert editions in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal; and reported for The New York Times as Madrid Bureau Chief, Buenos Aires Bureau Chief, and the paper's NYC economic development reporter.

At The Philadelphia Inquirer, Schumacher-Matos was part of the team that won a 1980 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident. He began his varied career covering small towns for the Quincy Patriot Ledger south of Boston, and as a "super stringer' for The Washington Post, in Japan, South Korea, and New England.

For nearly the last four years, while writing his Post and Herald columns, Schumacher-Matos was also at Harvard University. He was the Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor in Latin American Studies at the Kennedy School of Government; a Shorenstein Fellow on the Press, Politics and Public Policy; and director of the Migration and Integration Studies Program. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of IE University Graduate School of Business in Madrid and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California. He also is active in the Council on Foreign Relations, the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and the Inter American Press Association.

Schumacher-Matos received his Master of Arts degree in International Politics and Economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Literature from Vanderbilt University. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Japan.

Growing up in a military family, he volunteered to join the Army during the Vietnam War. His service in Vietnam earned him the Bronze Star. He was born in Colombia and came to the United States as an immigrant child.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:06 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Is NPR Biased In Its Gaza Coverage?

Palestinian men walk amidst debris following an Israeli military strike in Gaza city, on July 23, 2014.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:00 pm

Fred Rogers of Northfield, Minn, was clearly upset:

I am appalled at the coverage NPR is providing for the current crisis in Palestine/Israel. All of the stories I have heard have origins in Israel and they all begin with a profusion of support for Israel's defending itself. None express any insight about the three weeks of warfare against the Palestinian population that led up to this conflict.

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NPR Ombudsman
8:36 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Race At NPR And The End Of 'Tell Me More'

Tell Me More is hosted by award-winning journalist Michel Martin.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:01 pm

Hundreds of listeners have written passionately to protest NPR's decision to shut down its talk show dedicated to themes of diversity, Tell Me More, come August 1.

As Andrea Zoss of Rochester, Minn, fumed:

I find it shocking that such an important platform for talking about race, ethnicity, and gender issues, is being yanked off the air. NPR needs more programs like it, not fewer.

Leslie Alexander of Fulton, MD, summarized what many listeners will miss:

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NPR Ombudsman
11:22 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Open Forum

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You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
11:01 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Open Forum

istockphoto.com

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
10:37 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Open Forum

istockphoto.com

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
10:08 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Ethics, Morality And A Ticking Clock For How To Report On The R**skins

The logo of the Change the Mascot campaign.
ChangeTheMascot.org

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 5:41 pm

When Scott Simon, the host of Weekend Edition, referred to the Washington Redskins as "the Washington football club whose team name I refuse to utter," the divided reaction by listeners crystallized a creeping ethical and moral dilemma for NPR and all the mainstream media.

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NPR Ombudsman
1:57 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Open Forum

istockphoto.com

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
10:01 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Fairness In Covering Israel And The Palestinians: The End Of An Accounting

Palestinians protest in the center of the West Bank city of Ramallah against the continuation of negotiations with Israel, and demand that Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas not meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Jan. 15, 2014.
Abbas Momani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:03 pm

A quarterly review over the past 11 years of NPR's coverage of Israel and the Palestinians—a self-assessment that may be unique in the annals of American journalism—comes to an end with the attached last report that finds lack of completeness but strong factual accuracy and no systematic bias.

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NPR Ombudsman
10:40 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Open Forum

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:11 pm

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
1:41 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Texas Barbecue And Radio Deja Vu All Over Again

In Bill Murray's "Groundhog Day," Punxsutawney Phil checks for his shadow every day on repeat. Some NPR listeners say they can relate.
Alex Wong Getty Images

In the film "Groundhog Day," the days surrealistically repeat themselves for Bill Murray. Each day begins with the same greeting on the radio: "Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties, 'cause it's cooooold out there today."

A few NPR listeners can relate.

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NPR Ombudsman
2:28 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

The Meaning Behind The Panda-monium On NPR

Smithsonian's National Zoo shows Mei Xiang's giant panda cub undergoing an exam on Oct. 11, 2013, at the zoo in Washington.
Bill Clements AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 3:12 pm

The government shutdown dominated NPR news in October for obvious reason, but listener Kirk Morledge of Middleton, Wis., detected a bias.

"Why oh why so many stories about pandas??!!," he wrote. "Who cares? What gives? Why pandas and not baby kangaroos or cute little muskrats?"

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NPR Ombudsman
5:15 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

A Fair And Balanced Look At Mara Liasson

National political correspondent Mara Liasson on election night in 2012.
Stephen Voss

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 2:29 pm

What to do about NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson?

This is a regular issue raised by some NPR listeners who object to Liasson's second role as a contributor to Fox News. They say that she, like Fox, tilts to the right.

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NPR Ombudsman
5:24 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Open Forum

istockphoto.com

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
4:48 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Open Forum

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
1:12 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Mideast Report: July — Sept., 2013

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 9:07 am

Former foreign editor John Felton conducts quarterly, independent, reviews of NPR's Israeli-Palestinian coverage. His third-quarter 2013 report is now available online.

Felton reviewed the 46 radio stories, interviews and other reports that aired on NPR's daily radio shows from April through June, as well as 25 blogs, news stories and other reports carried exclusively on NPR's website.

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NPR Ombudsman
6:43 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

The Patriotism Of NPR And Its Sponsor Al Jazeera America

Joie Chen, host of the new Al Jazeera America nightly news program America Tonight, sits at the anchor desk in the network's studio space at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:54 pm

Al Jazeera America, the new cable news network owned by the Emirate of Qatar, has been running sponsorship ads on NPR for the last month as part of its launch campaign.

Some listeners are upset, accusing NPR of being unpatriotic or naïve. Some add that it also has been unethical. Three NPR stories about the new English-language channel did not mention the sponsorship. Most of the complaints, recalling the coverage by Al Jazeera's Arabic network of American deaths early in the Iraq war, are obviously heartfelt.

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NPR Ombudsman
5:52 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

What We Hear When NPR Refers To 'Obamacare'

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks during a town hall meeting hosted by Heritage Action For America on Aug. 20 in Dallas. Cruz is staging events across Texas sharing his plan to defund President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Brandon Wade Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 10:38 am

Three years ago, as ombudsman for The Miami Herald, I wrote a column criticizing use of the term "Obamacare" in a headline because it had pejorative implications.

But I added this kicker at the end:

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NPR Ombudsman
4:20 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Open Forum

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:49 pm

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
2:11 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

S. Dakota Indian Foster Care: Listening To Your Responses

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Kristi Eaton AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:55 pm

Updated Aug. 30, 2013 at 5 p.m.

One of the things that struck me most about the many responses to my review of an investigative series on foster care for Native Americans in South Dakota is that the ombudsman process worked.

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NPR Ombudsman
7:49 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 1: Investigative Storytelling Gone Awry

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota.
Aaron Huey Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 12:18 pm

In October 2011, NPR aired a three-part investigative series by reporter Laura Sullivan and producer Amy Walters alleging abuses in the foster care system for Native American children in South Dakota. With a mix of statements by the reporter and much innuendo, the series unmistakably alleges that the state's Department of Social Services was systematically removing Indian children from their families in order to collect federal reimbursements.

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