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.

I am pleased to introduce my successor, Elizabeth Jensen. Here's the staff note from NPR CEO Jarl Mohn.

RE: Our New Ombudsman/Public Editor

All –

I'm thrilled to share the news that veteran journalist Elizabeth Jensen will become our next Ombudsman/Public Editor.

Open Forum

Jan 12, 2015

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.

While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

Open Forum

Dec 15, 2014

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.

We have updated the format in order to keep the comments section open until a new forum is posted next month. While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

Did host Scott Simon unfairly—and sordidly—ambush Bill Cosby by raising rape charges in a Weekend Edition interview that was otherwise about art?

The 77-year old comedian and wife Camille—she was present—were being interviewed on air Saturday about the many pieces of art that they are lending to the Smithsonian Museum when Simon, at the end, changed the subject:

Open Forum

Nov 10, 2014

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.

We have updated the format in order to keep the comments section open until a new forum is posted next month. While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

Jose Ballester of Miami, Fla., asked with apparent innocence whether an All Things Considered story about abortions in El Salvador was meant to be a "hit piece" aimed at liberalizing that nation's strict anti-abortion laws.

And so NPR is pulling back on using the name of the Washington football team after all.

Seven months after NPR editors officially declared that they would continue to use the team's name in news reports, Mark Memmott, the standards editor, issued this guidance to the newsroom Friday:

A Word About The Name Of Washington's Football Team

We have not changed it significantly, but we have added to our guidance on the name of Washington's NFL team. Here's an update:

Open Forum

Oct 14, 2014

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.

We have updated the format in order to keep the comments section open longer, at least until a new forum is posted next month. While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

As hundreds of emails poured in complaining that NPR was ignoring the People's Climate March in New York Sept. 21, I wondered whether editors were trying to prove their conservative critics wrong about NPR being too liberal.

Differences in recent weeks over whether to post videos or photographs of the grisly beheadings by ISIS seem to have come down pretty strongly on the side against the postings. But what about the use of the word "beheading" itself in radio stories? Should there be an advance warning for listeners?

The Ferguson story has moved off the streets and into the grand jury room, which is to say that there is a lull in the reporting in this otherwise emotive story.

The quiet is a good time to take stock of just how well NPR has done so far. The scores of emails that have come in from listeners over these past weeks have mostly dealt with the issues themselves coming out of Ferguson, and not focused on NPR's coverage. By itself, that says something: listeners have found no major problems with the coverage.

Open Forum

Sep 15, 2014

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.

We have updated the format in order to keep the comments section open longer, at least until a new forum is posted next month. While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

Plagiarism is a big word. So big that it can ruin a career. And yet it is slippery to define.

Reporters and editors have to make editorial judgments every day for which there is no single right answer. NPR West Bureau Chief Jason DeRose and reporter Alex Schmidt made one such call as they edited Schmidt's story about bicyclists in Los Angeles who move in group "trains" for support and safety. Schmidt recorded her experiences while biking with one train and then separately interviewed a driver who admitted to threatening bicyclists with her car.

Glenn Greenwald can certainly raise a ruckus.

The lawyer-cum-journalist who has been a principal conduit for the publication of the National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden has turned his sights on a recent NPR story by counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston. Greenwald has called it an "indisputable case of journalistic malpractice and deceit."

Open Forum

Aug 11, 2014

After a short break, the open forum is back open for discussion. We have updated the format in order to keep the comments section open longer, at least until a new forum is posted next month. While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

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.

From terrorism to natural disasters, the standard reporting on casualties is often like this by Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep:

"First, we go to Gaza," recited Inskeep. "The health ministry there says more than 500 people have been killed – many of them women and children."

Why, Larry Kalikow of Warrington, Penn, wrote, were women's lives being singled out?

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.

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:

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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