Sep 21, 2007

NPR names Shepard new Ombudsman

NPR announced today that Alicia C. Shepard has been named the new NPR Ombudsman. In a memo sent to Jim Romenesko, NPR President Kevin Close said, "Lisa brings a strong portfolio in analyzing and explaining journalism and media policy. She is currently teaching a graduate-level course in Media Ethics at Georgetown University and writing a chapter on the media for the Center for Public Integrity's forthcoming book, The Buying of the President. She has also served as a journalism instructor at American University and the University of Texas." Shepard recently published the book Woodward & Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate and is co-author of Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11. For nine years, she was a principal contributor to the American Journalism Review, where she received the National Press Club's top media criticism prize three times. She has written for the New York Times, Washingtonian magazine, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newark Star Ledger and Washington Post, and she was a staff reporter with the San Jose (CA) Mercury News. "As we sought to fill this position now," writes Klose, "we also wanted to advance its role and duties within our organization to reflect how both the media and media criticism have changed in only seven years. ... Among her first duties, Lisa will work with the NPR News, Digital Media, Communications and Member and Program Services Divisions to deal with the increasing number of letters we are receiving, which are the result of everything from the public intensity over the upcoming elections to improved technology available to drive advocacy campaigns."

College nixes sale of station sought by APM

The trustees of a small Seventh-Day Adventist college just outside Washington, D.C., took its noncommercial FM station off the market yesterday, giving up, at least for now, expanding its thin endowment by some $20 million that American Public Media offered for WGTS. "The Lord performed a miracle today and we give him all the praise and thanks for what happened," says John Konrad, g.m., in announcements on the station and its website. The college didn't explain the board's decision or say whether the decision was final. Konrad said the sale was off "for now." If APM bought 91.9, its format was expected to leap from "family-friendly" Christian rock music to secular news/talk. Columbia Union College said in July APM would be the only bidder considered, but a spokesman said last week that a bid from the parent of K-Love, a big Christian radio net, was also in hand.