It's inexpressibly sad that The Washington Post evidently can no longer afford to maintain an ombudsman or is too distracted with survival pressures to keep one, for its outside ombudsman is being replaced by a staff "reader representative." In 1970, The Post, notes NPR blogger Edward Schumacher-Matos, became one of the first American news organizations to have an ombudsman..."
That move, Schumacher-Matos adds, "set a precedent that helped build the quality and influence of the Post and all American journalism." Well, we know now that American print journalism is in a steep decline, we trust not its death throes. The ombudsman's position was intended to build trust in the Post and has been eliminated "at a time that this fundamental and fickle quality — trust — in the Post and all American news media is declining."
"The world has changed," Post publisher Katherine Weymouth observed in announcing the ombudsman's demise, "and we at The Post must change with it." And so they must, but it's so sad.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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