From the Washington Post’s Ombudsman Blog, a frank discussion about the Post’s policy to not disclose a person’s sexual orientation if it is not deemed relevant to the story. Last month middle-school teacher Brian Betts was murdered and the Post held firm on not mentioning his sexual orientation even after the police revealed that it might be connected to his death.
Defining ‘relevant’ is the challenge. It can be relevant if a closeted gay lawmaker promotes anti-gay legislation. And I felt it was relevant to disclose that Betts was gay, especially because the circumstances of his murder were similar to others locally and nationally.
Full story at this link…
Advancing the story takes a look at the work of Alicia Shepard, ombudsman for National Public Radio (NPR).
While summing up Shepard’s approach to the role, the post raises an interesting point about transparency/the role of the ombudsman at a time of dwindling newsroom resources:
“It’s no doubt hard to justify spending money on an ombudsman when the newsroom budget is being slashed. And it’s easy to dismiss an ombudsman’s defense of his value as simply self-interest. But there’s a difference between having citizens point out errors and flaws, and having an independent observer inside a news organization with ‘a hall pass and a platform,’ as New York Times executive editor Bill Keller describes an ombudsman,” writes ATS.
What price transparency? Or can readers pointing out corrections and clarifications be better used at a time of limited resources?
Full post at this link…