'A mistake' to not have Ombuds Job, says Patrick Pexton, Fmr WaPo Ombudsman

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The Washington Post will at some point replace Doug Feaver as readers representative, its editorial page editor Fred Hiatt told Media Matters.

“We will continue to have someone in a reader rep role,” he said.

As iMediaEthics wrote earlier this week, the Post‘s readers rep, Doug Feaver, left the paper before his one-year contract ended, but the paper said it was “thinking about next steps.” The readers rep position, an internal role, was created when the Post decided to stop having an independent ombudsman.

Two former Post ombudsmen –Patrick Pexton and Andy Alexander — lamented the decision to axe the ombudsman role and noted Feaver as readers rep, was limited in his criticism of the paper.

Pexton said it’s “a mistake” to not have an ombudsman, which lends the Post “a little bit more credibility.” Specifically he noted Feaver’s lack of “judgments” regarding the paper.

“Reading between the lines it seems his instructions probably included, or he chose himself, not to make any judgments and I think the key thing an ombudsman does is make judgments,” Pexton told Media Matters.

Alexander added: “What Doug did, even if he did it very well, was far different than what a truly independent ombudsman would do.”

Media Matters collected several ombudsmen and public editor responses to the decision. Check out its full report.

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‘A mistake’ to not have Ombuds Job, says Patrick Pexton, Fmr WaPo Ombudsman

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