NPR contemplates the BBC
: NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin contemplates the trouble at the BBC caused by reputed reporter Andrew Gilligan and, no, he doesn’t try to whitewash them:
When it comes to investigative journalism, the dangers can often outweigh the promise. The BBC has discovered this to its sorrow. There are some lessons to be drawn from this misadventure for other journalistic organizations, including NPR….
Gilligan didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. Lord Hutton concluded that his report was not based on any credible evidence.
Heads are rolling at the BBC with the recent resignations of the chairman, the director-general and the reporter himself.
But other reactions seem to indicate that journalistic defensiveness and denial are the operative responses.
Last week, BBC journalists walked off the job in solidarity with their disgraced leaders….
These reactions miss the point entirely….
Dvorkin goes on to give some very practical advice for the wrangling of investigative reporters. And then he deals with the question of the BBC on NPR, quoting letters from listeners who believe that the BBC’s credibility is shot.
In my opinion, the BBC, like The New York Times, is still strong but damaged. Both are capable, I hope, of repair and learning from what happened….
For now, I’ll keep reading the Times and listening to the BBC on my local public radio station.
But I am disappointed and more skeptical than before.