• The National Association of Black Journalists awarded NPR its 2014 Thumbs Down Award last week, citing the networks’ canceling of the newsmagazine Tell Me More. The award recognizes “reporting, commentary or other content found to be racially insensitive, or for practices at odds with the mission of the National Association of Black Journalists.”
“The importance of public media to make a concerted effort to be distinctive in its storytelling methods, to offer its audiences depth by featuring untold stories, and to as an end result diversify and expand audiences was best exemplified by a show like Tell Me More and how the program sought to operate,” said NABJ President Bob Butler in a statement. “NPR’s has [sic] as two of its stated goals in its strategic [plan] to ‘expand, diversify and engage our audiences’ and ‘grow net revenues.’ One, however, cannot supercede the other, and greater care should have been taken to preserve Tell Me More as an example of what NPR’s new core should be and as as a representation of a truly superb way in which public media can embrace diversity.”
NABJ separately presented three awards to NPR for its coverage of black issues.
• In an exit interview with Detroit’s Metro Times, WDET’s Craig Fahle reflects on his time at the station, why he took a new job, and WDET’s efforts to sound different from other pubradio stations. Fahle left the station Friday after 22 years in public radio.
• An Israeli radio show modeled after This American Life is starting an English-language edition. Israel Story, a Hebrew program of stories about life in Israel, will provide podcasts for the online Jewish magazine Tablet. The bilingual approach is similar to that of Public Radio International’s Radio Ambulante, which bills itself as “This American Life in Spanish.”
• In his most recent post, NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos addressed charges that the network’s coverage is sexist against men. A listener questioned why NPR’s All Things Considered discussed only women and children when reporting deaths in the Gaza Strip, and the ombud also looked at an April report titled “Why is NPR so Sexist?” The report’s author, Ray Licht, said he reviewed NPR’s All Things Considered during the month of February and found that “public broadcasting seems to be even more pro-female and anti-male than advertising media.”
Schumacher-Matos largely disagreed with Licht’s take but said the report did raise interesting questions about equal coverage that should be kept in mind. “Licht studied the month of February and made several good points, though in going back over many of the same stories, I didn’t find anything near a ‘staggering” bias.’ In my three years at NPR, I also have never found any reporting or stories that were ‘intentional’ against men. And I am male.”
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