I believe every major news and sports media organization should employ an ombudsman. They provide a valued service by being an independent observer of the work done by reporters, columnists, and editors. They also act as a liason between between the readers, listeners, and watchers and the executives at the news organization.
I applaud ESPN for employing an ombudsman. With an empire that includes interests in television, radio, printing (magazine and publishing), and the web, having someone look at how stories are handled and how reporting can be improved is a good step.
George Solomon served as ESPN’s first ombudsman. He filed his last column this week. I often read Solomon’s column and agreed with much he had to say. Although he did not have expereince in the management of a sports media organization, he was still able to offer constructive criticism and common sense ideas on to how to make ESPN a more repsonsible organization.
The level that ESPN, or any news organization, heeds the advice of their ombudsman is always left to interpretation. Solomon points out instances where he feels the executives at ESPN did a credible job in making improvements. Unfortunatley there are other areas at the Worldwide Leader that still need attention, or at the least, further examination.
The role of ombudsman now falls to Le Anne Schreiber. Here’s hoping she can provide comments as insightful as Solomon.