Thursday, October 20, 2011

NPR Gets Radio Host Fired for Occupying

NOTE: The details are not really clear on this, but if I'm reading correctly, it sounds like NPR pressured an affiliate into dropping a host because of her extracurricular activities. I could be wrong. Read the linked articles.

By way of War Is a Crime:
National Public Radio on Wednesday discovered that a woman named Lisa Simeone who produced hosted a show about opera called "World of Opera" had been participating in a nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., organized by
NPR sent an email to its staff and made a blog post stating, "We're in conversations with WDAV about how they intend to handle this. We of course take this issue very seriously.." According to War Is a Crime,
About three and a half hours after the above email was sent, Simeone had been fired by a show called Soundprint as punishment for having been "unethical." 
Simeone was an independent contractor who hosted the program, which was carried by some NPR stations. Apparently NPR doesn't want to upset it's sponsors corporate overlords advertisers underwriters.

UPDATE: The Associated Press has a more detailed story (by way of WTOP).

On Thursday, NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher said the network's code of ethics applies to cultural programs it distributes, such as "World of Opera," as well as news shows that the network produces, acquires or distributes.
"We are not her employer, but she is a host for a show that we distribute," Christopher said. "She's a public person who represents NPR and public radio."
Though "Soundprint" airs on NPR stations, it's not distributed by the network itself.
NPR's ethics code states that "NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies" involving issues NPR covers. The code notes that some provisions may not apply to outside contributors. It uses a freelancer who primarily contributes arts coverage as an example.
Simeone said she is not an "NPR journalist." For the "Soundprint" show, her role involved writing introductions to the show's featured documentaries, and she was expected to give her point of view. In the past when she worked for NPR, she said she also wrote op-eds for The Baltimore Sun with no problem.

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