ONO Newsletter March 2022


Thanks again to all of those who were able to join us for an important discussion this month on the challenges of covering the war.

29 members (including some invited guests) came together to share their experiences of setting standards and dealing with complaints during this extraordinary time. The conversation covered everything from verification of social media content and achieving balance in the reporting of the war, to the de-platforming of Russian news channels and the allegations of double standards and racism in some reporting.

For those unable to attend or for anyone wanting to check back on certain details, the video recording of the discussion is now up on the ONO website, and you can find it in the Members Only section here. A reminder that the password for this section of the site is OMBUDS21 (case sensitive). We will be moving to a new password in the next few weeks and I will advise when that occurs, but for now the existing password is still active.

On that page, you will also find links to the ‘chat’ discussion that took place during the talk as well as a link to Tarmu Tammerk’s slides from his presentation.

The shop talks are continuing to represent an excellent way for members to share their experiences, views and ideas, so please continue to suggest relevant issues as new shop talks will be on their way soon.


ONO continues to grow, and in recent weeks we have been delighted to welcome two new full members into the organization:

Shieu-chi Weng is the Ombudsman for a new TV news channel in Taiwan called MNews.

MNews, or Mirror News, is a new cable TV news channel that describes itself as committed to seeking the truth through coverage of breaking news and in-depth examination of stories behind the news.

Shieu-chi Weng is highly qualified to take on her new role. She has kindly provided the following background:

“Professor Shieu-chi Weng earned a master’s degree at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University and received a Ph.D. in communication study at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Since then, the professor has been teaching “Communication Theory,” “Mass Communication and Social Problem”, “Theories of New Media” and other relevant courses at the National Chengchi University for around 20 years.

When the Public Television Service Foundation (PTS) was established in 1998, she assumed a post of Director and served there for nine years (three terms). She strived to facilitate the grouping of public service broadcasters including Hakka TV and Taiwan Indigenous Television, TV stations for ethnic minorities, and Taiwan Macroview TV, international broadcasting.

Dr. Weng points out that the most critical issue facing PTS is whether they can establish their position as an entity not controlled by government intentions in Taiwan, which has been afflicted by glaring bipolar political confrontation.

Since January 2021, Weng was designated as full-time Ombudsman by the Board of MNEWS. She accepted the job after reading the channel’s business plan, adding that she loves challenges and is interested in establishing an ombudsman system for MNEWS.

Weng said that as an ombudsman she would be a mentor, communicator and coach, and her job would be to ensure that the channel follows media regulations by verifying the authenticity of information before airing it.”

ONO is delighted to have Dr. Weng on board and looks forward to her participation in our discussions.


Christopher Scholl is the Senior Vice-President and Head of Standards at NBC Universal Group, based in New York.

He has an extensive background as a senior, award-winning investigative reporter.

He writes: “I spent about thirty years working as a broadcast news reporter and producer, starting in radio, then local television markets as an on-camera reporter, and joining NBC News in 1994 as a news magazine producer. Because the entirety of my career involved investigative journalism and the host of standards and ethical issues that goes with it, I often worked closely with my predecessor’s predecessor in this role, David McCormick. After four years at CBS News, I returned to NBC in 2014 to work with David. He retired, as you probably know, as did my immediate predecessor, Marian Porges, so my career advancement has depended at least partly on attrition. In any case, I’ve been leading this team for nearly a year. We’ve grown from four people when joined to twelve today, overseeing Standards for the News Group, which includes NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC, with a hand in Noticias Telemundo.”

What Chris doesn’t add, but I will, is that he is the winner of four national Emmys, duPont-Columbia, George Polk, and Edward R. Murrow journalism awards. Welcome aboard, Chris.


  • There is so much interesting discussion and debate around the coverage of Russia’s war on Ukraine, and so off the back of our own shop talk I wanted to draw your attention to these items:
    • The Public Media Alliance has provided this comprehensive update on public broadcasters that have pulled out of Russia
    • There is more detail here on the BBC’s decision
    • If you have access to The New Yorker, here’s a detailed piece on the immersive nature of the coverage of the war and another on ‘the world’s first Tik Tok war’
    • The Washington Post published this piece on how Ukrainian war videos are verified
    • Finally, there is this close examination of the nature and size of the Russia Today network, courtesy of Nieman Lab


  • Jack Nagler has shared this fascinating item on the pros and cons of journalists calling themselves “storytellers”
  • A new group has been set up to look at the ethics of news distribution
  • Everyone is talking about ‘news deserts’, and there are many ways news organizations are trying to serve local markets with local news. Here’s one player’s way in.


Finally, a reminder to pay that annual membership fee if you haven’t already. By the time our next newsletter comes out, we will have a new password for the site. So let us know if you experience any problems accessing our content by contacting Alan Sunderland at newsombudsmenorg@gmail.com

Margo Smit                                                                                                        Alan Sunderland ONO President                                                                                       ONO Executive Director
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