Edward Schumacher-Matos

Edward Schumacher-Matos is the ombudsman for NPR. His column can be found on NPR.org here.

Having spent more than three decades as a reporter and editor in the United States and abroad for some of the nation's most prestigious news outlets, and having founded his own newspapers, Schumacher-Matos has a deep understanding of the essential role that journalists play in upholding a vital democracy. He also intimately understands the demands that reporters and editors face every day.

Immediately prior to joining NPR in June 2011, Schumacher-Matos wrote a syndicated weekly column for The Washington Post and was the ombudsman for The Miami Herald. Earlier, he founded four Spanish-language daily newspapers in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and the Rio Grande Valley; served as the founding editor and associate publisher of the Wall Street Journal's Spanish and Portuguese insert editions in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal; and reported for The New York Times as Madrid Bureau Chief, Buenos Aires Bureau Chief, and the paper's NYC economic development reporter.

At The Philadelphia Inquirer, Schumacher-Matos was part of the team that won a 1980 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident. He began his varied career covering small towns for the Quincy Patriot Ledger south of Boston, and as a "super stringer' for The Washington Post, in Japan, South Korea, and New England.

For nearly the last four years, while writing his Post and Herald columns, Schumacher-Matos was also at Harvard University. He was the Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor in Latin American Studies at the Kennedy School of Government; a Shorenstein Fellow on the Press, Politics and Public Policy; and director of the Migration and Integration Studies Program. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of IE University Graduate School of Business in Madrid and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California. He also is active in the Council on Foreign Relations, the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and the Inter American Press Association.

Schumacher-Matos received his Master of Arts degree in International Politics and Economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Literature from Vanderbilt University. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Japan.

Growing up in a military family, he volunteered to join the Army during the Vietnam War. His service in Vietnam earned him the Bronze Star. He was born in Colombia and came to the United States as an immigrant child.

NPR Ombudsman
12:27 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Changing Field: A New Guideline On What To Call That Washington Football Team

Washington fans watch their team during the second half of an NFL football game against Arizona on Sunday.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 8:18 am

And so NPR is pulling back on using the name of the Washington football team after all.

Seven months after NPR editors officially declared that they would continue to use the team's name in news reports, Mark Memmott, the standards editor, issued this guidance to the newsroom Friday:

A Word About The Name Of Washington's Football Team

We have not changed it significantly, but we have added to our guidance on the name of Washington's NFL team. Here's an update:

Read more
NPR Ombudsman
9:52 am
Thu September 25, 2014

On The Uncomfortable Matter Of Beheadings And Executions

This 1587 facsimile of a copperplate engraving shows three beheadings as capital punishments decreed by King Henry VIII against Thomas More and two other Roman Catholics in 1535.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 12:47 pm

Differences in recent weeks over whether to post videos or photographs of the grisly beheadings by ISIS seem to have come down pretty strongly on the side against the postings. But what about the use of the word "beheading" itself in radio stories? Should there be an advance warning for listeners?

Read more
NPR Ombudsman
1:07 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Race At NPR And The End Of 'Tell Me More'

Tell Me More is hosted by award-winning journalist Michel Martin.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 2:01 pm

Hundreds of listeners have written passionately to protest NPR's decision to shut down its talk show dedicated to themes of diversity, Tell Me More, come August 1.

As Andrea Zoss of Rochester, Minn, fumed:

I find it shocking that such an important platform for talking about race, ethnicity, and gender issues, is being yanked off the air. NPR needs more programs like it, not fewer.

Leslie Alexander of Fulton, MD, summarized what many listeners will miss:

Read more
NPR Ombudsman
10:53 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Ethics, Morality And A Ticking Clock For How To Report On The R**skins

The logo of the Change the Mascot campaign.

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 2:41 pm

When Scott Simon, the host of Weekend Edition, referred to the Washington Redskins as "the Washington football club whose team name I refuse to utter," the divided reaction by listeners crystallized a creeping ethical and moral dilemma for NPR and all the mainstream media.

Read more
NPR Ombudsman
7:08 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

The Fog of War in Benghazi and Washington

John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 8:30 am

First I heard the distant explosion of bombs. Then the night sky over Tripoli lit up with a fiery criss-crossing of bullets and rockets from attacking American warplanes and Libyan anti-aircraft batteries. I stood in awe on my hotel balcony, trying to decipher the action, until the better part of valor told me to crawl under my bed. It was 1986, and to this day, I cannot tell you who fired what when.

Read more
NPR Ombudsman
6:51 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

The Next President Of The United States: Paul Ryan

Republican Presidential Candidate Gov. Mitt Romney welcomes running mate Rep. Paul Ryan on stage in Norfolk, Va.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Complaints arrived swiftly following the recent live coverage of Gov. Mitt Romney's VP announcement. Marc Schumacher (no relation but nice name) from Three Rivers, MI, wrote:

Read more
NPR Ombudsman
9:52 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Santorum, Race and the Limits of Journalistic Fairness

Rick Santorum speaks at the Daily Grind coffee shop on Jan. 1, 2012 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 9:22 am

You're an NPR reporter covering a presidential candidate. Serious stuff, even if it's still early in the election season. As he speaks, you think you hear the candidate say something that negatively singles out African-Americans. You try to get to an explanation from the candidate after he finishes, but can't get to him. So, you go back to your hotel and listen to the tape. You're convinced he said it. But it's a little garbled.

What do you do?

Read more
Dan Savage/Santorum
4:32 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Rick Santorum's Google Problem Becomes The Story

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum during the nation's first primary on Jan. 10, 2012 in Manchester, N.H.
T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 1:27 pm

Rick Santorum has a problem. The Republican presidential candidate has been dogged by gay rights activist Dan Savage since 2003, when as a senator he supported anti-gay laws, including against sodomy. Savage, an internationally syndicated sex advice columnist, took offense and called on his readers to wage an Internet war. He invited them to name, or re-name, a sex act after Santorum. Then he took a vote and created an anti-Santorum website with the new "definition." It's not delicate.

Read more