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NPR, CPB Make New Ombudsmen Appointments

NPR names Jensen ombudsman/public editor, CPB has appointed Coleman

Elizabeth Jensen Photo by James Wrona

National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have both appointed new ombudsmen to head the media organizations’ transparency efforts.

NPR President and CEO Jarl Mohn has named Elizabeth Jensen as ombudsman/public editor, according to NPR. She began in the position Jan. 26, when Edward Schumacher-Matos concluded his appointment.

Jensen will be based in New York but have a regular presence in Washington, and she will discontinue her roles with The New York Times and Current.

“Our listeners will be well-served by her knowledge and experience from decades of covering the media industry,” Mohn said of Jensen. “She will play a significant role in fulfilling NPR’s commitment to transparency.”

Jensen has covered public broadcasting and the media industry, and has written for The New York Times, Current and the Columbia Journalism Review, among others since 2005. Jensen was previously a New York-based staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she covered network television, PBS, NPR and cable programming. Prior to that, she was a senior writer for Brill’s Content, and before that, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Jensen also reported for the New York Daily News, Variety and Electronic Media.

In 2005, Jensen was the recipient of a Kiplinger Fellowship in Public Affairs Journalism at Ohio State University, focusing her research on media politicization.

In 2000, NPR became the first U.S. broadcast news organization to create an ombudsman position.

Milton Coleman begins his three-year term as CPB’s ombudsman Feb. 1, CPB announced. The former senior editor at The Washington Post takes over from Joel Kaplan, a Syracuse University communications professor whose term expires at the end of January.

The announcement quoted Coleman as saying: “Public media has an increasingly important role in our ever more diverse democracy.”

He began his career at the Post in 1976 as a government and politics reporter and was later named city editor and then assistant managing editor in charge of metro news. In 1997, he became deputy managing editor, and he created local, national, and international news collaborations with Spanish-language print and broadcast outlets, and helped develop internal newsroom guidelines on standards and ethics. In 2009, he was appointed senior editor, overseeing policies on corrections, standards and ethics. He retired in December 2012.

He has served as a jury chair for the Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism and as a judge for the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards. Coleman also was president of the American Society of News Editors from 2010–11 and served as president of the Inter American Press Association, 2011–12.

Coleman has also worked for the Milwaukee Courier, the African World newspaper in Greensboro, N.C., the All-African News Service, WHUR(FM) News at Howard University, the Community News Service of New York and the Minneapolis Star.

CPB established the office in April 2005 to review and report on issues concerning public media programming.