The New York Times reported that at a recent conference the Organization of News Ombudsmen voted to change their bylaws to only allow full membership to those who work for news organizations. Now this wouldn’t be big news expect that it was done specifically to prevent the two new ombudsmen from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from obtaining full membership. They can apply for a new associate membership which comes without voting privileges
Why make this change now? According to the incoming president of the group Ian Mayes of The Guardian in London, “The nature of ONO could be changed by a flood of inappropriate members.” Translation; conservatives who don’t agree with the liberal makeup of the organization.
We can thank outgoing president Jeffrey A, Dvorkin who is the ombudsman for NPR for this maneuver. He has had an ongoing battle with CPB president Ken Tomlinson over who says there is a liberal bias in programming funded by CPB which includes NPR.
At least one member of the group thought that Dvorkin should have recused himself from the matter and let the full board handle it. When he didn’t she resigned as a board member and treasurer of the organization and skipped the meeting.
I think the ombudsmen need an ombudsman. Also how impartial are these people anyway? After all, how likely are they to criticize the organization that signs their paychecks? This reminds me of when my father Reed Irvine was denied membership in the National Press Club because they said he wasn’t a journalist. He survived that snub to say the least and saved a bundle of money on dues.
The CPB ombudsmen should skip joining ONO and just do their job.