Edward Schumacher-Matos

Edward Schumacher-Matos is the ombudsman for NPR. His column can be found on NPR.org here.

Having spent more than three decades as a reporter and editor in the United States and abroad for some of the nation's most prestigious news outlets, and having founded his own newspapers, Schumacher-Matos has a deep understanding of the essential role that journalists play in upholding a vital democracy. He also intimately understands the demands that reporters and editors face every day.

Immediately prior to joining NPR in June 2011, Schumacher-Matos wrote a syndicated weekly column for The Washington Post and was the ombudsman for The Miami Herald. Earlier, he founded four Spanish-language daily newspapers in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and the Rio Grande Valley; served as the founding editor and associate publisher of the Wall Street Journal's Spanish and Portuguese insert editions in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal; and reported for The New York Times as Madrid Bureau Chief, Buenos Aires Bureau Chief, and the paper's NYC economic development reporter.

At The Philadelphia Inquirer, Schumacher-Matos was part of the team that won a 1980 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident. He began his varied career covering small towns for the Quincy Patriot Ledger south of Boston, and as a "super stringer' for The Washington Post, in Japan, South Korea, and New England.

For nearly the last four years, while writing his Post and Herald columns, Schumacher-Matos was also at Harvard University. He was the Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor in Latin American Studies at the Kennedy School of Government; a Shorenstein Fellow on the Press, Politics and Public Policy; and director of the Migration and Integration Studies Program. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of IE University Graduate School of Business in Madrid and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California. He also is active in the Council on Foreign Relations, the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and the Inter American Press Association.

Schumacher-Matos received his Master of Arts degree in International Politics and Economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Literature from Vanderbilt University. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Japan.

Growing up in a military family, he volunteered to join the Army during the Vietnam War. His service in Vietnam earned him the Bronze Star. He was born in Colombia and came to the United States as an immigrant child.

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NPR Ombudsman
1:48 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

Open Forum

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:48 pm

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:42 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Mideast Report: July — Sept., 2013

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 8:07 am

Former foreign editor John Felton conducts quarterly, independent, reviews of NPR's Israeli-Palestinian coverage. His third-quarter 2013 report is now available online.

Felton reviewed the 46 radio stories, interviews and other reports that aired on NPR's daily radio shows from April through June, as well as 25 blogs, news stories and other reports carried exclusively on NPR's website.

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NPR Ombudsman
8:51 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

The Patriotism Of NPR And Its Sponsor Al Jazeera America

Joie Chen, host of the new Al Jazeera America nightly news program America Tonight, sits at the anchor desk in the network's studio space at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:54 pm

Al Jazeera America, the new cable news network owned by the Emirate of Qatar, has been running sponsorship ads on NPR for the last month as part of its launch campaign.

Some listeners are upset, accusing NPR of being unpatriotic or naïve. Some add that it also has been unethical. Three NPR stories about the new English-language channel did not mention the sponsorship. Most of the complaints, recalling the coverage by Al Jazeera's Arabic network of American deaths early in the Iraq war, are obviously heartfelt.

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NPR Ombudsman
6:06 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

What We Hear When NPR Refers To 'Obamacare'

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks during a town hall meeting hosted by Heritage Action For America on Aug. 20 in Dallas. Cruz is staging events across Texas sharing his plan to defund President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Brandon Wade Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 9:38 am

Three years ago, as ombudsman for The Miami Herald, I wrote a column criticizing use of the term "Obamacare" in a headline because it had pejorative implications.

But I added this kicker at the end:

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NPR Ombudsman
6:05 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Open Forum

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:49 pm

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

Please stay within the community discussion rules, among them:

  • If you can't be polite, don't say it: ...please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities.

Read more
NPR Ombudsman
7:59 pm
Sat August 17, 2013

S. Dakota Indian Foster Care: Listening To Your Responses

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Kristi Eaton AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:55 pm

Updated Aug. 30, 2013 at 5 p.m.

One of the things that struck me most about the many responses to my review of an investigative series on foster care for Native Americans in South Dakota is that the ombudsman process worked.

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NPR Ombudsman
2:20 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 6: Where It All Went Wrong — The Framing

A highway that runs from Scenic, S.D. towards the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Marilyn Angel Wynn Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 10:20 am

How could the NPR series have gone so wrong? After all, many talented people with a rigorous dedication to truth worked on it.

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NPR Ombudsman
2:19 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 5: Who Is To Blame For Native Children In White Homes?

Sioux children as they arrived at the Indian School at Carlisle Barracks, Oct. 5 1879.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 10:20 am

Allegation: Indian foster children are put in white homes at extraordinarily high rates, reflecting systematic cultural bias and violating the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

"Kill the Indian in him and save the man," said Capt. Richard Henry Pratt, the 19th century founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. It was a prescription that became a model for Indian boarding schools that often coerced attendance and forced Indian children to change their language, dress and manners.

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NPR Ombudsman
2:19 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 4: The Mystery Of A Missing $100 Million

A herd of pronhorn antelope stretches across the snowy landscape of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.
Steve McEnroe AP

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 10:20 am

Allegation: South Dakota receives almost $100 million a year in federal reimbursements for foster care of Native Americans.

A cartoon poster summoned Lakota Indians to the May summit on foster care. "South Dakota receives $100 million each year from Washington D.C. for foster care," declared the poster, and highlighted the amount in red.

"Shouldn't this funding go to the tribes so that they can handle their own foster care needs?" It is a good question. A big red "Yes" followed.

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NPR Ombudsman
2:18 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 2: Abuse In Taking Children From Families?

Big Foot's camp three weeks after the Wounded Knee Massacre (Dec. 29, 1890), with bodies of several Lakota Sioux people wrapped in blankets in the foreground and U.S. soldiers in the background.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 10:19 am

The Allegation: Indian children are being forcibly removed from their families and put into foster care at high rates that reflect widespread or systematic abuse by the state Department of Social Services.

The best case in defense of the NPR series on Indian foster care in South Dakota is in the first hearing of the story. You have a hard heart if you don't get goose bumps.

The weaknesses emerge when you start taking apart the transcript.

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