Open Thread: Juan Williams Review Complete; NPR Exec Resigns
Thursday, January 06, 2011
NPR announced Thursday that Senior Vice-President for News Ellen Weiss has resigned, simultaneously announcing the completion of an internal review of the October firing of Juan Williams. Williams was fired after saying on Fox:
When I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.
NPR said his comments violated their standards for reporters, and let the long-time correspondent go. Weiss was thought of as the person responsible for the decision to fire Williams. Now, with the internal review -- which reads as a rebuke of the way in which NPR handled the situation -- Weiss will no longer be with the organization either.
Based on the review, NPR's Board of Directors has recommended new internal procedures for personnel decisions and disciplinary action. The board recommends that:
- Establish a committee comprised of NPR personnel, respected journalists, and others from outside NPR to review and update NPR’s current Ethics Code (the “Code”).
- Develop policies and procedures to ensure consistent application of and training on the Code to all employees and contractors.
- Review and update policies/training with respect to the role of NPR journalists appearing on other media outlets to ensure that they understand the applicability of the Ethics Code to their work and to facilitate equitable and consistent application of the Code.
- Review and define the roles of NPR journalists (including news analysts) to address a changing news environment in which such individuals have a myriad of outlets and new platforms for their talent, balancing the opportunities presented by such outlets and platforms with the potential for conflicts of interest that may compromise NPR’s mission.
- Ensure that its practices encourage a broad range of viewpoints to assist its decision-making, support its mission, and reflect the diversity of its national audiences. The Human Resources Committee of the Board is working in conjunction with key members of NPR management on this issue.
What do you think of NPR's actions? Of Ellen Weiss's resignation? The comments thread is open - let us know!