For immediate release
January 21, 2000
Siriol Evans, NPR
202-414-2300
sevans@npr.org


NPR Creates Ombudsman Position, Appoints Jeffrey Dvorkin To Post

[Washington, DC] -- National Public Radio® (NPR®) today announced the appointment of an Ombudsman to receive, independently investigate and respond to queries from the public regarding editorial standards in its programming. Jeffrey Dvorkin, who has been NPR's Vice President, News & Information since 1997, has been named to the post, effective February 22nd. In this role as NPR's evaluator of fairness, balance, accuracy and good taste, Dvorkin will operate separately from NPR's news and cultural programming divisions, reporting directly to President and CEO Kevin Klose.

Establishing an ombudsman post underscores public radio's continued commitment to the highest standards of editorial integrity and provides listeners with a direct link to NPR, says Klose. Jeffrey's distinguished career in broadcast journalism spans nearly three decades, and makes him uniquely qualified to fill this important new role which extends the public service mission of NPR.

Dvorkin will also write a weekly Internet column on NPR Online at www.npr.org, and will present his views on journalistic issues on-air on NPR programs.

As Vice President, News & Information, Dvorkin has been responsible for upholding NPR's editorial standards and ensuring the excellence of news and information programming. According to the recent NPR Newsmagazine Study (Paragon Research, 1999), eight in ten listeners believe that NPR news is better quality than other news sources. The study revealed strong listener loyalty to NPR newsmagazines such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered, plus very high regard for NPR hosts and journalists -- nine in ten listeners said that they trust NPR's journalists.

While some newspapers in the U.S. have had ombudsmen since the 1960s, it is rare for U.S. broadcast media to appoint ombudsmen. While many public broadcasters overseas have ombudsmen, this represents a step forward for public radio in the United States, says Dvorkin. While it keeps NPR at the forefront of editorial excellence, it also reflects the maturity of our news operation as we approach our 30th anniversary. NPR will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its incorporation on February 26, 2000.

A search for a new Vice President, News & Information is underway. In the meantime, Managing Editor Bruce Drake will serve as Acting Vice President, News & Information. While he fulfills that role, Assistant Managing Editor Barbara Rehm will step in as Acting Managing Editor.

Before coming to NPR, Dvorkin was Chief Journalist and Managing Editor for CBC Radio News and Information, a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He acted as CBC's representative on matters of journalistic policy for listeners and viewers, advocacy groups and government agencies. He was responsible for all radio network newscasts, as well as current affairs and information programs, for the English CBC Radio Networks.

Dvorkin's background includes special assignments for arts journalism and consultant work with journalism groups in Slovenia, Hungary and Poland. He was a senior writer and editor for National TV News in Toronto, and a producer for the National TV News Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa. He began his professional career as a sub-editor for CBS News in London.

He is a graduate of the University of Alberta, holding a B.A. in European History and French literature. He was awarded a Masters in History from the University of Toronto, and a Masters in Philosophy from the London School of Economics at the University of London.

Audience numbers for NPR's highly acclaimed programming, which is distributed on 625 U.S. public radio stations, via the Internet, and overseas through NPR Worldwide, have attained unprecedented heights. 15 percent of Americans listened to NPR regularly in 1998, up from 5 percent in 1990 (Pew Research News Consumption Survey, 1998). In Fall 1998, 14.6 million Americans per week listened to NPR, up from 13.9 million in Fall 1997 (Arbitron). NPR Worldwide, NPR's steadily growing international service in 50 countries, is now available via 140 radio stations, and to 32 million satellite and cable households overseas.