PBS: This Ombud's For You

PBS has named journalist Michael Getler of The Washington Post the public broadcasting network's first ombudsman.

A longtime Post staffer who is currently the paper's ombudsman, Getler “will seek to ensure that PBS upholds its own rigorous standards of journalistic ethics for both online and on-air content,” PBS said Wednesday.

His reports will be published on PBS.org.

The network added that Getler will have “complete authority” to determine the issues he covers and “full independence” in assessing those issues. He will report directly to PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell.

Getler's Post contract ends this month. He will join PBS on Nov. 15 and serve under a two-year contract.

“Acting as the public’s editor, the ombudsman will provide viewers with someone who will answer their questions and respond to concerns they might have about journalistic issues,” said Mitchell, in a statement. “Michael Getler’s exceptional experience and judgment make him extremely qualified to fill this vital role.”

PBS first began considering an ombudsman a year ago. The organization’s editorial standards and practices can be viewed on PBS.org (http://www.pbs.org/aboutpbs/aboutpbs_standards.html).

Getler has served as the Post's ombudsman since November 2000. He worked for four years (1996-2000) as executive editor of the International Herald Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Getler worked for 26 years at The Washington Post, starting in 1970. During that time, he served as military affairs correspondent, Central European correspondent, national security correspondent, London correspondent, foreign editor, assistant managing editor and deputy managing editor.

From 1961 to 1970, Getler was a reporter and editor on specialized magazines in the defense, aviation and space fields. The New York-born journalist is a graduate of City College of New York and a former US Navy officer.