No pass

Nov 25, 2004

Joan Siefert Rose responds to my letter of complaint:

Dear Mr. Zuiker,

Thank you for your e-mail expressing concern about the Ipas matter. We believe that both WUNC and Ipas made a good-faith effort to reach a mutually satisfactory compromise. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so and we respect the decision Ipas has made to suspend its on-air messages.

WUNC sets standards for on-air donor acknowledgment messages to comply with our interpretation of federal regulations governing non-commercial broadcasters. The Ipas case is an anomaly, as we have been able to negotiate mutually acceptable donor acknowledgment language with other groups.

I have been in touch with Liz Maguire, the president of Ipas, to offer the chance to reopen our conversation. Many people in our community have expressed unhappiness that our two organizations have not been able to reach agreement, and I remain open to discussing Ipas’ ideas and concerns, while sharing those of WUNC. We continue to believe there is a way to describe Ipas’ work accurately.

One part of WUNC’s mission to provide underwriting opportunities to non-profit organizations. While many public radio stations in large markets have chosen not to broadcast on-air acknowledgments of such organizations, we have tried to maintain this important service to the non-profit community.

Additionally, we pride ourselves on the in-depth news coverage WUNC and NPR give to a broad range of topics that impact our community. Our listeners have learned to depend on WUNC for our comprehensive news coverage. It is important to note that our editorial policies are entirely unrelated to donor acknowledgment language. Absolutely nothing has changed on that front. We will continue to vigorously report on issues of importance to North Carolina and the world.

Again, thank you for your interest in WUNC. If you would like to discuss this or any other issue related to our programming or donor acknowledgments, please do not hesitate call me at (919) 966-5454.

Sincerely,

Joan Siefert Rose
General Manager

Hmm. I’m not convinced – seems she’s ducking the issue of just why it was so wrong to deny the use of the word “rights.” Rights, for god’s sake. Rights. It’s a word that shouldn’t be censored.

John Ettorre hits on the topic of word choice over at his blog, Working With Words.

Anton Zuiker

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