Newhouse School's Kaplan named Corporation for Public Broadcasting ombudsman

Romenesko Misc.

Joel Kaplan, who succeeds Ken Bode, will serve a three-year term. Before joining Syracuse's Newhouse School of Public Communication in 1991, Kaplan was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune and The Tennessean. “I look forward to working with CPB to improve transparency throughout the public media system, encourage greater objectivity and balance in public media programming, and ensure the organization is responsive to audience comments and questions," he says.

Press release

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Names Ombudsman

Washington, D.C. (June 6, 2011) – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has named Joel Kaplan as its ombudsman, effective June 1. Kaplan is responsible for reinforcing objectivity, balance, fairness, and transparency within public media.

CPB established the Office of the Ombudsman in April 2005 as an independent office to inform the board of directors and the president of CPB about concerns related to the public media system.

“Congress has asked CPB to both protect the production of public broadcasting from undue interference and to ensure that it represents high standards in accuracy, balance, objectivity and transparency,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “The Office of the Ombudsman is a tested and reliable way to support these objectives, and we will benefit greatly from Joel Kaplan’s experience and perspective.”

Kaplan is currently associate dean at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. There, he is focused on implementing a new graduate curriculum centered on multi-media storytelling and new media platforms. He has taught classes in news writing, investigative reporting, national political reporting, communications law, ethics and public affairs reporting.

The author of numerous magazine and newspaper articles, Kaplan has developed two white papers for CPB that address the role of the ombudsman in achieving balance and objectivity within public media and in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

“Public media has consistently demonstrated its commitment to strive for editorial independence,” said Kaplan. “I look forward to working with CPB to improve transparency throughout the public media system, encourage greater objectivity and balance in public media programming, and ensure the organization is responsive to audience comments and questions.”

Kaplan was confirmed as ombudsman at the board of directors meeting in April and will serve a three-year term, which can be renewed at the board’s discretion. He replaces Kenneth Bode whose term expired December 2010.

Before joining Syracuse University in 1991, Kaplan was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune and The Tennessean of Nashville.

He is a member of the advisory board for the Tully Center for Free Speech and was the first academic elected to the Board of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). Kaplan also serves as an accreditor for the Association of Schools in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and grants, including a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.

Kaplan holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois – Urbana; a master’s degree in the study of law from Yale Law School; and a B.A. in political science from Vanderbilt University.

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.

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