Thursday, March 01, 2007

NPR Response

Dear Ms. Sporkin:



Thank you for your response. I shall post it, as you requested, together with this reply so that, as you put it, the “information there is accurate.”



It is unfortunate that your “research,” which supposedly “disprove[d]” my point, neglected to uncover that two -- not one, but two -- NPR stations heard in Andover -- and the only two I listen to at the noon hour -- both carry about five minutes of NPR news at noon. The two are WBUR, 90.9 FM, and New Hampshire Public Radio, 89.1 FM. Need I say that it is amazing -- or indicative of the media’s refusal ever to concede a mistake? -- that a “Vice President for Communications” of NPR would not have uncovered such an obvious fact and instead claimed that I must be mistaken, and must have been listening to “Here And Now,” which you said is not produced by NPR, because there allegedly was no NPR news show on at noon in the Andover, MA area?



As said, I shall post your response and this reply. I shall not post anything more from either of us on this subject, since your emails indicate to me that there probably would not to be any point in further postings. One can only hope that NPR’s news reports are more accurate and better researched than your emails have been.



Sincerely yours,



Lawrence R. Velvel

Dean, Massachusetts School of Law










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From: Andi Sporkin [mailto:ASporkin@npr.org]
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 12:39 PM
To: velvel@mslaw.edu
Cc: Jay Kernis; Ken Stern; plowenstein@npr.org; Jackie Nixon; drehm@npr.org; Michael Riksen; Ellen Weiss; teby@npr.org
Subject: RE: Your note to NPR



Dear Dean Velvel:



Thank you for providing additional information as to the source of your concern with coverage. The reason I mentioned only doing some initial research was because it was unclear as to what program you had heard, and I had tried to locate it. In reviewing your note below, it now appears that you were listening to the show “Here and Now” on public radio station WBUR (your other local stations WGBH, WUMB and WICN play music at Noon). “Here and Now” is not an NPR News production; it is independently produced by WBUR so its content would not be available to me. If I am incorrect in identifying the program, please let me know. Otherwise, you can contact the program at http://www.here-now.org/contact/ I would appreciate this being posted on your blog as well so that your information there is accurate.



Andi Sporkin






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From: Lawrence R. Velvel [mailto:velvel@mslaw.edu]
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 12:15 PM
To: Andi Sporkin
Cc: Jay Kernis; Ken Stern; plowenstein@npr.org; Jackie Nixon; drehm@npr.org; Michael Riksen; Ellen Weiss; teby@npr.org
Subject: RE: Your note to NPR



Dear Ms. Sporkin:



Thank you very much for your response.



The immediate catalyst for my email was the fact that, on an NPR news show which I heard just after 12 noon on February 15, 2007, the NPR newscaster worded a question in exactly the way pointed out in my email. As Casey Stengel used to say, “You could look it up.”



One is of course aware that the media generally admits to no errors, so it is not shocking to read that your “initial research disproves” the charge I made. (Emphases added.) But, frankly speaking, the far more important point in my judgment is your implicit (perhaps it could even be called explicit) recognition that NPR journalists should be (and you say are) discussing the point I raised. It is also important that NPR considered the point important enough to warrant at least “initial” research on your part and a response.



I need not tell you that many citizens who wish to stay informed rely on media vehicles like NPR and The New York Times to accurately tell them the news. This is a most serious responsibility, especially in a democracy. When NPR or The Times gets things wrong -- as The Times did regarding WMDs, to take but one example of its important errors -- we all suffer the consequences. So -- again an important point, not an argumentative one -- I hope that NPR is and will continue to do precisely what you say it is doing.



In view of your email’s importance, and the fact that NPR took the trouble to respond to me, I shall post your email and this response on my blogsite.



And, once again, thank you for your response.



Sincerely yours,



Lawrence R. Velvel

Dean, Massachusetts School of Law








--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Andi Sporkin [mailto:ASporkin@npr.org]
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 7:35 PM
To: velvel@mslaw.edu
Subject: Your note to NPR



Dear Dean Velvel:



Thank you for taking the time to express your opinions to NPR’s senior management and Board members in the letter also posted on your blog. I am responding on behalf of our organization.



While we appreciate your comments, it is hard to thoughtfully respond to them without any examples from you, since the initial research I have done into our coverage disproves your charges. Throughout the nearly 70 hours of news programming we produce each week – which includes hourly newscasts and full-length shows – I have found many reports and interviews where NPR journalists not only raise and discuss the question you suggest but also examine the other complex, intertwined issues surrounding the war, its funding and the troops.



Our website aggregates our Iraq coverage and offers the breadth of our journalism and interviews on this subject; it is free for on-demand audio streaming. I have included a link to it: http://www.npr.org/templates/topics/topic.php?topicId=1010



Again, thank you for your letter and I hope you take the time to review our overall efforts.



Best,

Andi Sporkin

Vice President for Communications

NPR

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