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.


NPR Ombudsman
10:14 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Allowing Hagel To Be Called 'Anti-Semitic' On NPR

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel speaks after President Barack Obama nominated him for secretary of defense during an event at the White House on Jan. 7, 2013.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 11:49 am

When Elliott Abrams, a foreign policy official in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, called former Sen. Chuck Hagel "anti-Semitic" on All Things Considered, many listeners were enraged.

"How dare you NPR - how dare you allow discredited neocon hack Elliott Abrams to smear and mislead about Chuck Hagel on my Public Air Waves," wrote Larry James of Fairfax Station, Va. "Questioning Israel's actions from time to time is not anti-Semitism."

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NPR Ombudsman
5:45 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Mideast Report: October — December 2012

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 10:15 am

Former foreign editor John Felton conducts quarterly, independent, reviews of NPR's Israeli-Palestinian coverage. His 2012 fourth quarter report is now available online.

Felton reviewed the 104 radio stories, interviews and other reports that aired on NPR's daily radio shows from October through December, as well as 61 blogs, news stories and other reports carried exclusively on NPR's website.

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NPR Ombudsman
5:42 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Bringing The President Down A Notch: NPR Ends Calling Him 'Mr.'

Preparations continue on the U.S. Capitol for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17, 2013.
Jewel Samad Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 10:42 am

The newsroom has confirmed that the president puts on his pants like most of the rest of us: one leg at a time.

I make light. What it did today was change its stylebook and dropped referring on-air to the president of the United States as "Mr." in second references. Beginning with the inauguration of President Barack Obama for his second term next Monday, "Mr." Obama and his successors will be called by just their last names on second reference. "Obama," for example. Just like the rest of us.

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NPR Ombudsman
11:26 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Gaining Or Losing Credibility By Humanizing A Reporter: A Kwanzaa Story


Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 3:02 pm

Jan. 8, 2013: This column has been updated with minor clarifications explained below.

A Morning Edition segment last week on the decline of Kwanzaa began as a noble attempt to break with mainstream media orthodoxy and reach out to the social media generation by humanizing a reporter, flaws and all.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:12 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Getting It Right: Sandy Hook And The Giffords Legacy At NPR

Media gather in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 15, 2012 as the community copes with the elementary school shooting.
Mario Tama Getty Images News

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:49 pm

There has been much breast-beating and finger-pointing in and about the news media since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School one week ago. I have stayed quiet, in part because I think most Americans are smart enough to realize that mistakes are inevitable in the early reporting. I also think that NPR's reporters and editors have done a remarkably good job.

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NPR Ombudsman
6:06 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Bias And Balance Of Republican And Democratic Voices On The 'Fiscal Cliff'

President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner met to discuss the impending "fiscal cliff" on Nov. 16, 2012.
Getty Images News

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 12:50 pm

Arthur Price of New York City asked this provocative question: "Is it my imagination or is NPR featuring an excessive number of Republican voices when it comes to the so-called 'fiscal cliff'?"

I didn't know, but I loved the issue he raised. Its relevance in influencing today's fierce tax and spending debate as we approach the Jan. 1 supposed "cliff" is obvious. But perhaps even more interesting, I thought, was the insight it might offer into political bias by NPR in general.

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NPR Ombudsman
12:57 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Praising And Criticizing The American Red Cross

People receive free food from the American Red Cross in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood on Nov. 14, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 7:47 pm

NPR does not owe it to humanitarian agencies such as the American Red Cross to laud their efforts. What NPR owes is to report fair, accurate and complete news to the American people.

But humanitarian groups are part of that public and are crucial to the social fabric of the nation. We as a people especially appreciate the work by selfless volunteers who bring relief in the wake of disasters. Many of us have pitched in to help in our communities, and even overseas. The volunteers are us, or at least who many of us want to be.

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NPR Ombudsman
2:56 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Learning To Be American In Referring To The President

Brendan Smialowski-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:26 pm

Updated: Nov. 6, 2012, 6:33 p.m.

This is a stealth column being published under the cover of Election Day. I am making an end run around the stylists, bias critics, grammarians, protocol sticklers and conspiracy theorists who follow NPR but are focused on more momentous things today.

These critics have held NPR hostage on a policy that one newsroom wag says should have gone out with the administration of Dwight Eisenhower. So, I am going to be presumptuous and say that I am giving the newsroom future cover to change that policy.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:53 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

To Kill The "Man On The Street"

NPR's First and Main series interviewed voters in Wisconsin, Colorado and Florida.

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 12:50 pm

NPR audience researchers asked listeners about the newsroom's election coverage and found general satisfaction, but two criticisms stood out. One, concerning false balance, is common about the news media today. The second, however, strikes at a core practice in American journalism.

Responding to an open question that asked "If you could change one thing," many listeners wrote that NPR should kill interviews with the man on the street.

As one respondent put it, "I really don't care what some random dude in Florida thinks."

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NPR Ombudsman
10:29 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Open Forum


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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