Andrew Alexander just became the new Ombudsman for the Washington Post. You can read the article here. He gives a slightly insightful accounting of his new role, though it’s doubtful that his “office” is truly independent, at least from my experience with his paper. I do read articles as they come to my attention from the Washington Post and just like Andrew’s predecessor, I doubt he will have the influence needed to actually get “corrections” published, if not more serious changes that come to his attention, such as serious facts that are outside of personal perspective. It would have been good to read his column with reference to actually investigating accuracy in reporting and other media industry standards; and how he’ll uphold the integrity of his profession above his loyalty as an “inside” ombudsman. Clearly, if it gets too hot for him, he’ll “contract” and when it cools down, he’ll “expand”, it’s a cycle I’ve observed. I think, today, if a newspaper is able to “trade” on integrity and demonstrate it… then their reputation will better keep their presses running.
As an example, I don’t often get the chance to do this, but here is the “contrast” with “linkage” to Andrew’s self introduction article as referenced in the above paragraph. It’s from Discover Magazine Science Blog, you can read it here. It takes on the lack of or poor fact checking the WP has a reputation for, but in reality it’s about what it’s always been about, ideological perspective that readers by the thousands have difficulty with. Why have an ombudsman in such circumstances? It’s not like National Public Radio anyway… where accountability for tax payer supported media is important and therefore should meet standards. What do you think?