Howell On Her Job

From here:

    Ombudsmen, not fully trusted either by journalists or readers, are right in the middle of the daily fray of not just what readers may think is wrong with The Post but also the swelling waves that are changing journalism.

    So readers may want to know what 45 of us from around the world heard last week at the annual Organization of News Ombudsmen conference — that’s ONO or OH! NO! to some — at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. One-third were American. Many U.S. newspapers have dispensed with ombudsmen, usually because of budget cuts.

    We talked about new reader challenges and how to keep our sanity and equanimity when caught between angry readers and angry newspaper staffers. Many ombudsmen report directly to an editor or publisher. Few are independent contractors, as is the case at The Post.

And she may blog!

    Jarvis thinks all ombudsmen ought to blog. His blog is at He said bloggers “distrust the institutional voice and trust more the human voice. The more we represent that personal voice, the better.”

    That caught me up short. I got a laugh at the meeting when I said, “I hardly have time to go to the bathroom. Start a blog?” Instead of responding to 600 letters, he said “a blog post is more efficient and adds to the conversation.” I’ll think about it.