One way for a public media organization to head off criticism from the outside is to beat the critics to the punch and provide it on your own. Organizations that engage in journalism employ an ombudsman for this purpose, and noncommercial broadcasting support group Corporation for Public Broadcasting is no exception.
To that end, CPP named Joel Kaplan as its ombudsman, effective June 1, 2011. He is currently an associate dean S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and takes the reins left when the term of predecessor Kenneth Bode came to the end of his term last December.
“Congress has asked CPB to both protect the production of public broadcasting from undue interference and to ensure that it represents high standards in accuracy, balance, objectivity and transparency,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “The Office of the Ombudsman is a tested and reliable way to support these objectives, and we will benefit greatly from Joel Kaplan’s experience and perspective.”
“Public media has consistently demonstrated its commitment to strive for editorial independence,” said Kaplan. “I look forward to working with CPB to improve transparency throughout the public media system, encourage greater objectivity and balance in public media programming, and ensure the organization is responsive to audience comments and questions.”