NPR

NPR news chief condemns Pentagon guidelines governing treatment of journalists

Michael Oreskes, the senior vice president for news and editorial director at NPR, has drafted a letter objecting to guidelines regarding the treatment of journalists in the Pentagon’s new Law of War manual, calling its guidance “contrary to some basic principles of journalism ethics.”

In the letter, which is addressed to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Oreskes condemns passages from the new manual, a document published in June that outlines rules and regulations governing the law of war. Specifically, he cites language he says could be construed to justify treating journalists as spies and requiring reporters to carry credentials.

These statements are contrary to some basic principles of journalism ethics. First, journalists should not be required to be licensed or to carry “identification documents,” although many do carry press credentials of some form.

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Why Gene Demby considered quitting NPR

Gene Demby covers race for NPR as part of its Code Switch team, and the job has been wearying since protests in Ferguson, Missouri, put the issue back on the front burner last summer.

A nation with a frequently short attention span remains very much immersed in the complex and frustrating reality of race relations and related issues, including police brutality and minorities’ suspicions of law enforcement. A bond has arisen among those covering Ferguson and related stories but at times so has a collective sense of exhaustion.

Demby explained his challenges, frustrations and pain in both an article and an appearance on “Morning Edition” Friday.

“In the 12 months since, the national conversation about police brutality has reached a higher pitch than we could have imagined,” he wrote. Read more

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NPR Visuals is trying to reduce the effects of privilege while hiring

Recently, NPR Visuals announced that they would allow applicants to resend cover letters for their fall internship positions. They felt that their hiring process had not been a level playing field for everyone.

The issue of diversity has been a topic of constant discussion within the journalism community. While BuzzFeed has tried to come up with an investigative fellowship for mid-career journalists of color, ProPublica launched an Emerging Reporters Program for student journalists of color.

So what led the NPR Visuals team to start the hiring process from all over again?

“I throw off every other cover letter that ledes with how much they love NPR. Or ‘I grew up listening to NPR in the backseat of a car‘. That is such a boring way to start a letter,” a manager joked while looking at intern applications at NPR. Read more

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NPR standards guru: You shouldn’t say ‘a**hole’ on a podcast

NPR

In a public memo to staffers Thursday, NPR Standards and Practices Editor Mark Memmott admonished the network’s journalists to use the same standards for offensive language on podcasts that they would over the air.

The guidance was in response to a question from journalists in NPR’s New York bureau, who asked whether it was OK to “call an asshole an asshole.”

The answer? If you can’t say it on air, you probably shouldn’t say it on a podcast.

We don’t want to seem boring and out-of-step. We do want to sound like America. But, the bar that NPR journalists need to get over before using such language themselves has to be set incredibly high — so high, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to get over.

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Melissa Block, leaving ‘All Things Considered’ after more than a decade, on what’s next

Block. (Photo courtesy NPR)

Block. (Photo courtesy NPR)

Melissa Block, the globe-trotting journalist who has anchored NPR’s “All Things Considered” for more than 12 years, announced Monday that she’s leaving the flagship news program to become a special correspondent for the network.

We asked Block, who has been at NPR for 30 years, to reflect via email on her time as host, the next steps of her career and the transformative changes that have taken place at NPR in the last year.

After 10 years at the helm of “All Things Considered,” what went into your decision to leave?

It’s actually been twelve-plus years since I first started hosting ATC, and a full thirty years all told that I’ve worked at NPR. In those three decades, I’ve done just about every radio job in this building, from editorial assistant to senior producer to correspondent to host, and have loved every one. Read more

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NPR corrects: the Battle of Waterloo wasn’t today

NPR

A recent story from NPR explaining what Napoleon’s men ate while on the warpath carries the following correction:

An earlier version of this story stated that Napolean called the Breakfast Conference on June 18, 2015. In fact, it was 1815.

The Breakfast Conference, as the NPR story explains, was a meeting called by Napoleon wherein the commander explained that the battle against the Duke of Wellington’s army would be “over by lunchtime.” Read more

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‘PBS NewsHour,’ NPR unite for election coverage

PBS NewsHour

Two of America’s most prominent public media organizations announced Tuesday that they will join forces to cover the 2016 political conventions.

NPR and “PBS NewsHour,” the flagship nightly news broadcast of PBS, will work together to cover the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention.

The two organizations will pool their reportorial muscle to form one team that will cover the conventions for radio, television and digital audiences. “PBS NewsHour” will air broadcasts focused on the conventions anchored by Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill. The shows will be informed by political journalists from both organizations.

From the release:

NPR reporters will be on the convention floors talking with delegates and elected officials. NPR National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson, Senior Editor Ron Elving and Political Editor Domenico Montanaro will be featured analysts as well as the NewsHour’s Political Director Lisa Desjardins and others.

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Michael May will run NPR’s Storytelling Lab

NPR has picked a journalist to lead a new venture dedicated to developing innovative modes of storytelling.

Michael May, an instructor at The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, has been named senior producer at NPR’s Storytelling Lab. The lab, which was announced early this year, is an incubator established within NPR to test out ideas for podcasts and other initiatives pitched by staffers.

The lab is designed to be a proving ground for bright ideas drawn from NPR’s ranks. In his new role, May will work with NPR staffers for a period of two weeks to hone their pitches and develop proofs-of-concept.

In a memo to staff, NPR Vice President for News Programming and Operations Chris Turpin emphasized May’s connection to the network’s editorial coaches.

Michael will be responsible for coordinating the Storytelling Lab and will work closely with staff members who are selected for two-week lab sessions.

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This week on Medium: 6 media stories you may have missed

Links shared in Poynter’s internal Slack channel are quite frequently from Medium and almost always about journalism and media (although sometimes not.) So this week, we’re trying something new and gathering them up here. Throughout the week, let me know what you’re reading on Medium and we’ll try to include it next Friday, if we try this again. Here are six things about journalism from Medium this week (with thanks to Ren LaForme and Vidisha Priyanka for helping curate.)

Lessons on using WhatsApp for publishing — an election experience

On May 18, Paul Bradshaw wrote about how students at Birmingham City University used WhatsApp for election updates during the U.K.’s recent election.

Frankly… they nailed it. In the process they learned a lot, so I thought I’d share some of the things that came up throughout the process — as well as the experiences of the person responsible for the Mirror‘s political WhatsApp account in the week leading up to the election.

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NPR: Before you write a correction — or correct that correction — notify the author

NPR

On Thursday, we pointed out a variety of correction rarely glimpsed in the wild: a correction-correction-clarification.

Clarification

May 21, 2015

In a previous correction on this post, we corrected something that was actually correct. So we have corrected that correction. It had to do with Celsius temperatures.

NPR deserves plaudits for the abundance of transparency demonstrated above. But the correction itself might have been avoided if the corrector got in touch with the correctee, NPR Standards and Practices Editor Mark Memmott writes:

This note is a reminder that when we think an error has been made, the people who did the work need to be notified immediately so that they can help determine if it really was a mistake.

He notes that obviously wrong and serious errors sometimes have to be fixed before the responsible party can be reached, “but they should still be notified immediately.” Read more

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