Disappearing Ombuds

Per the Washington Post’s ombudsman, Andy Alexander, “at least 14 U.S. news ombudsmen have lost their jobs since the beginning of 2008.” Alexander writes that “with so many news organizations in financial peril, it would be smart to start thinking of innovative, less costly alternatives to the traditional ombudsman model” such as the Post’s.

And the New York Times’s… where “reader representative” Clark Hoyt yesterday, after having spent “several weeks looking into” a charge that the Times had suddenly stopped pursuing what might have been a “game-changing” election story about ACORN, pronounced that charge “nonsense.” Wrote Hoyt:

But the controversy offers a look at an aspect of journalism the public seldom sees: the delicate relationship between a reporter and a source who approach a story with different standards and motivations. And it shows how partisans can twist normal editorial processes until they appear sinister.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.