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
5:39 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

An Open Letter To A Former Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor

Navy reservist Capt. John Murphy (L), former chief prosecutor of military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, speaks during a press conference in 2009.
Brennan Linsley-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:19 pm

Navy reservist Capt. John Murphy is a former chief prosecutor of the military commission established to try terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay. His own case with NPR, however, is filled with implications for the rest of us.

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NPR Ombudsman
6:17 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Artfully Writing About Sex Abuse By Catholic Priests

The Rev. James Brennan returns after a lunch break to Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center Mar. 26, 2012.
Stan Honda/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:20 pm

A Web version of a recent report by Barbara Bradley Hagerty about the Philadelphia sex abuse trial of a Catholic monsignor and a priest prompted the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights to accuse NPR of taking a "bigoted swipe" against priests.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:12 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Pass The Chicha, But Hold The Slurs

A woman serves a glass of 'Chicha' to a client in the village of Pisaq near Cuzco, Peru. Chicha is a local alcoholic beverage made from sprouted or germinated corn.
Martin Mejia Associated Press

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:22 pm

Sometimes reporters reach for that tongue-in-cheek phrase that they think listeners will understand, and it offends instead.

On May 8, freelance reporter Banning Eyre reviewed the new album by a Brooklyn-based band inspired by Peruvian music called Chicha Libre. "It's easy to imagine that this music was made by lowlife Peruvian musicians in the '60s, tipsy on chicha wine and surf guitar," he said on air.

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NPR Ombudsman
3:54 pm
Wed May 23, 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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NPR Ombudsman
5:19 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Eight Days of Same-Sex Marriage (The Coverage)

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:28 pm

Since President Barack Obama announced last week that he supported same sex marriage, scores of listeners have complained that NPR's coverage cheered the announcement. As Susan Reif of Fairfield, OH, wrote: "I am so curious as to what NPR's push is to have same sex marriage in America?....Please, please, quit pushing this stuff down all of our throats."

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NPR Ombudsman
5:21 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

ALEC, Common Cause And Peter Overby: When Is The Past Past?

A protester during a rally in downtown Washington DC on March 29, 2012 outside the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) headquarters.
Mladen Antonov/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 3:51 pm

I was a Young Republican when I was in college and briefly worked for Barry Goldwater for president. I worked at the same time in civil rights in South Nashville.

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NPR Ombudsman
6:21 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Six National Leaders And Experts Look At Diversity At NPR

Courtesy of author.

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 3:27 pm

At my request, NPR has released more information than any mainstream media organization on the diversity of its editorial staff and audience. My analysis two weeks ago turned on the question of which baseline to use in measuring progress. Now I have asked six national leaders and experts of different views what they think of how NPR is doing. They responded with great insight, some frustration and dollops of humor. The goal is for NPR to sound like America.

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NPR Ombudsman
4:49 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Music Sponsorship and Apparent Conflict of Interest

A sponsorship banner for Of Monsters and Men's new album appeared on an NPR Music page about the band.
Screengrab submitted by Tom Hendricks.

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 11:45 am

NPR is an increasingly powerful cultural force in books, films and music nationwide—a role that is focusing more attention on the ethics of its coverage, too. The question that pops up among listeners is whether there is a conflict of interest with the online sponsorship ads that are placed in NPR.org by record labels, film distributors and book publishers.

The banners placed by the companies feature their film, book or album—not the company—and run in NPR's cultural Web pages. On rare occasions, the banners even run cheek-to-jowl with a review of the same film, book or album.

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NPR Ombudsman
11:14 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Round Two: News and NPR's Sponsors


Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:34 pm

My recent post about acknowledgment of sponsors in news reports provoked hundreds of responses and a lively debate on the blog and on Facebook. Some made me squirm and go back to read what I wrote. Almost all the responses were sharp and smart, as one would expect from NPR readers and listeners. So, I thought I might summarize some of the main objections and try to answer them here.

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