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.


NPR Ombudsman
1:52 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Mideast Report: October — December 2012

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 11:15 am

Former foreign editor John Felton conducts quarterly, independent, reviews of NPR's Israeli-Palestinian coverage. His 2012 fourth quarter report is now available online.

Felton reviewed the 104 radio stories, interviews and other reports that aired on NPR's daily radio shows from October through December, as well as 61 blogs, news stories and other reports carried exclusively on NPR's website.

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NPR Ombudsman
5:45 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Bringing The President Down A Notch: NPR Ends Calling Him 'Mr.'

Preparations continue on the U.S. Capitol for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17, 2013.
Jewel Samad Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:42 am

The newsroom has confirmed that the president puts on his pants like most of the rest of us: one leg at a time.

I make light. What it did today was change its stylebook and dropped referring on-air to the president of the United States as "Mr." in second references. Beginning with the inauguration of President Barack Obama for his second term next Monday, "Mr." Obama and his successors will be called by just their last names on second reference. "Obama," for example. Just like the rest of us.

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NPR Ombudsman
6:35 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Hearing Is Believing: A Comparison of Romney and Obama Sound Bites

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama after the Presidential Debate on Oct. 3, 2012 in Denver, Colo.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:27 pm

You are sure of what you heard: NPR is giving more air time to presidential challenger Mitt Romney than to President Barack Obama.

Some listeners say the opposite, but during this election cycle and immediate past ones, the complaints have been running heavily in your direction of detecting a Republican bias in the use of sound bites. (Where are you NewsBusters?)

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NPR Ombudsman
3:19 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Mideast Report: July – September 2012

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:42 pm

Former foreign editor John Felton conducts quarterly reviews of NPR's coverage related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His 2012 third quarter report is now available online. It is worth reading, especially by anyone interested in the Middle East.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:46 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

That's 'Mister' To You, Buddy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign rally on Oct. 5 in Abingdon, Va.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 5:15 pm

What's in a title? Political suspicions, for one thing.

"I hear NPR's correspondents refer to President Obama as 'President Obama' or 'the president' all the time," wrote Christopher Kluth, of Wauwatosa, Wis., "yet when it comes to former Governor Mitt Romney, NPR's correspondents refer to the former governor as simply 'Mitt Romney' or 'Romney'. I consider the contrast in the two approaches disrespectful, unprofessional, and, actually, evidence of partisan bias."

Lois Callahan-Moore from Fairhaven, Mass., heard different titles and suspected a different bias.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:12 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

The Fog of War in Benghazi and Washington

John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 11:30 am

First I heard the distant explosion of bombs. Then the night sky over Tripoli lit up with a fiery criss-crossing of bullets and rockets from attacking American warplanes and Libyan anti-aircraft batteries. I stood in awe on my hotel balcony, trying to decipher the action, until the better part of valor told me to crawl under my bed. It was 1986, and to this day, I cannot tell you who fired what when.

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NPR Ombudsman
11:52 am
Thu September 27, 2012

We Write The Headlines, You Decide The Bias


Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 5:08 pm

Ann Daane from Newnan, Ga., wrote with a common complaint about online headlines in this campaign season.

"NPR is beginning to act like biased media," she said, "with headlines that include judgmental words like 'just' in the 'Just 96,000 Jobs Added To Payrolls.'

"Report the facts; let me do my own judging."

I presume she felt that the bias was against President Barack Obama. Judy Gruen from Los Angeles saw the slant going in the opposite direction.

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NPR Ombudsman
9:54 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Racism And Michelle Obama: In Support Of Self-Censorship

First lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 5:16 pm

Following Mitt Romney recently to an American Legion convention in Indianapolis, correspondent Ari Shapiro worked the audience with his recorder as he waited for Romney to speak. It was, he would say in his report, "not an Obama-friendly crowd."

He aired comments from Bobbie Lussier, a veteran's wife, as illustration.

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NPR Ombudsman
6:18 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

On Being a Proud Member of the 'Democrat Party'

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden accepted renomination at the DNC in Charlotte. It is considered an insult to call their party the "Democrat Party."
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 10:00 am

I dare not review my life's writings because I am sure that I have offended a large part of our electorate by using that odoriferous phrase, "Democrat Party."

Probably more than once.

Complaints about its rearing its head on NPR trickle in this campaign season. There was this, for example, from Janice Ingram in Lakeland, TN:

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