PULLMAN -NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard will discuss “Why Public Radio Matters” at 7 p.m. Monday, April 6, at Lewiston’s Red Lion Hotel, Clearwater Room. The presentation, sponsored by Northwest Public Radio, is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a reception with Shepard and members of the Northwest Public Radio staff.
Shepard is an award-winning media critic, university lecturer on media ethics and former newspaper reporter. As ombudsman, she is the public’s representative to NPR, empowered to respond to significant queries, comments and criticisms regarding NPR programming. She also writes a blog, appears on NPR programs to discuss listener concerns and provides guidance on journalism practices to member stations. She sees her job as explaining NPR to listeners, and listeners to NPR: “My hope is that my communications with NPR’s audience will lead not only to a better understanding of NPR’s journalism but also — in cases when we make a mistake — better journalism at NPR.”
Before coming to NPR, Shepard taught journalism and contributed to The New York Times, Washingtonian magazine, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Newark Star Ledger and The Washington Post . Her book, “Woodward & Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate” (2006, Wiley), chronicles the lives of the two journalists during and after their landmark investigation. She is the co-author of “Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11” (2002), about how journalists covered the tragedy and the public roles they played.
In 2003, Shepard served as a Foster Distinguished Writer at Penn State. From 1993 to 2002, Shepard was a principal contributor to American Journalism Review on such topics as ethics and the newspaper industry. Her work was recognized three times with the National Press Club’s top media criticism prize. She was a staff reporter with The San Jose Mercury News from 1982 to 1987. Shepard has also taught English in Japan.
Shepard holds a bachelor degree in English from The George Washington University and received a master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland.
She teaches a graduate-level course in media ethics at Georgetown University and is writing a chapter on the media for the Center for Public Integrity’s forthcoming book, “The Buying of the President.”