NPR Ombudsman to Visit UM for Discussion on Journalism Ethics

October 29, 2019

MISSOULA – Montana Public Radio and the University of Montana’s School of Journalism will host Elizabeth Jensen, the public editor for NPR, for a conversation on journalism ethics.

Jensen and a panel of MTPR reporters, student reporters and journalism faculty will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the University Center Theater. Jensen also will speak to journalism students earlier in the day.

As NPR’s public editor since 2015, Jensen serves as the public’s representative to NPR and is responsible for bringing transparency to matters of journalism and journalism ethics. The public editor receives thousands of listener inquiries each year and responds to significant queries, comments and criticisms.

“With all that’s going on in the news today, we’re happy to host the person who investigates ethics at NPR,” said Ray Ekness, MTPR general manager. “It should be a fascinating presentation.”

Jensen has spent decades taking an objective look at the media industry. As a contributor to The New York Times, she covered the public broadcasting beat – PBS, NPR, local stations and programming – as well as children's media, documentaries, nonprofit journalism start-ups and cable programming. She also wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review and was a regular contributor to Current, the public broadcasting trade publication, where, among other topics, she wrote about sustainability strategies for public television stations.

Over her three decades in journalism, Jensen has reported on journalistic decision-making, mergers and acquisitions, content, institutional transformations, the intersection of media and politics, advertising and more, for a variety of national news organizations. She reported on the media for the Los Angeles Times, where she broke the story of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s partisan 2004 campaign activities, and was honored with an internal award for a story of the last official American Vietnam War casualty. Previously she was a senior writer for the national media watchdog consumer magazine Brill’s Content, spent six years at The Wall Street Journal, where she was part of a team of reporters honored with a Sigma Delta Chi public service award for tobacco industry coverage, and spent several years with the New York Daily News.

In 2005, Jensen was the recipient of a Kiplinger Fellowship in Public Affairs Journalism at The Ohio State University, focusing her research on media politicization. She earned her master’s in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, spending her second year at Geneva's L'Institut universitaire de hautes études internationales, and received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

When not covering media, Jensen, who teaches food journalism at New York University, has occasionally reported on the food world, including investigating vegetarian marshmallow fraud for a CNBC newsmagazine report.

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Contact: Ray Ekness, general manager, Montana Public Radio, 406-243-4154, ray.ekness@umontana.edu.