Occupy
Occupy D.C.'s spokesperson Lisa Simeone is facing questions about her involvement, given her employment with NPR affiliates. Image: Flickr / cloverdrive / CC-BY-SA

For journalists, drawing the line between professional responsibility and personal activism has always been tough. Lisa Simeone, host of NPR affiliate WAMU’s “Soundprint” and “World of Opera” is now facing difficult questions about her involvement as spokesperson for the Occupy Wall Street movement in Washington D.C.

Lisa Simeone and Occupy D.C.

A few days ago, news media noticed and began reporting that longtime radio journalist Lisa Simeone had been seen acting as spokesperson and activist for the Occupy D.C. movement associated with Occupy Wall Street. Simeone has said that she believes her position with the protest group is not a matter of concern related to her relationship with NPR because she is a freelancer.

“I’m a freelancer. NPR doesn’t pay me. I’m also not a news reporter. I don’t cover politics. I’ve never brought a whiff of my political activities into the work I’ve done for NPR World of Opera.

NPR’s relationship with Lisa Simeone

Lisa Simeone is a long-time host and journalist for NPR affiliated radio stations. National Public Radio is a large national news organization that has affiliates around the country. These affiliate stations air programs from NPR and other affiliate stations as well as organizations such as Public Radio International. Lisa Simeone was employed as a freelance journalist and host for two shows, “Soundprint” and “World of Opera.”

Kicked off ‘Soundpoint’

WDAV, the producer of “Soundpoint,” which airs on WAMU, has fired Lisa Simeone from her post on the show. WAMU’s code of ethics states that:

“NPR [and WAMU] journalists may not engage in public relations work, paid or unpaid. Exceptions may be made for certain volunteer nonprofit, nonpartisan activities, such as participating in the work of a church, synagogue or other institution of worship, or a charitable organization, so long as this would not conflict with the interests of NPR [and WAMU] in reporting on activities related to that institution or organization.”

There is still a discussion on whether NPR will continue to broadcast the 9-year-old “World of Opera.”

Sources

Poynter: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/romenesko/150174/npr-investigating-host-who-has-become-spokesperson-for-occupy-dc/
NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thisisnpr/2011/10/20/141548554/correcting-media-inaccuracies
RollCall: http://www.rollcall.com/issues/57_43/Breaking-the-Code-of-Ethics-209564-1.html?ET=rollcall:e11085:80123373a:&st=email&pos=ehoh
SoundPoint Radio: http://soundprint.org/radio/

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