The finest NPR story I ever heard aired during the run-up to health reform. The network looked at the challenges five Americans had in getting health care for various illnesses, and then examined how people with the same conditions got their care in five European countries. NPR sent reporters abroad and their conclusion: people in countries with national health systems generally fared better. The narrative and the storytelling were superb, and left the listener wondering why we could not do the same here. There was he said/she said balance of a sort in those pieces—the Americans versus their counterparts in other countries. Yet the series was an example of how NPR told “the truest story possible,” one of the tenets of its new ethics code. Let’s hope the new handbook guides them back to this kind of reporting.

“NPR is one of the first to publish a handbook and guide,” said Schumacher-Matos. Here’s my question: Will PBS be next to embrace the principles inside the guide?

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.