The central question that remains is whether or not the investigation, as aired, violated any internal standards at NPR. The ombudsman argues so, while management stands by the work. In the official response to the ombudsman’s review, NPR management correctly points out that the majority of the new information Schumacher-Matos used to question the original reporting came from the state—which had an obvious incentive to cooperate with the ombudsman. Additionally, the ombudsman’s review concedes at points that there are unresolvable uncertainties with the situation, and does not claim that the holes it finds in the original reporting absolve the state of abuses its workers may have committed. At stake in this controversy is more than just a Peabody: It’s the very reputation of both the investigative unit and the ombudsman.
Update, 4pm: According to the ombudsman’s office, All Things Considered interviewed Schumacher-Matos, and the office additionally plans to publish a followup piece on the controversy later this week.
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