NPR People

Alicia C. Shepard, NPR Biography


Alicia C. Shepard joined NPR in October 2007 for a two-year appointment as Ombudsman. In 2000, NPR was the first U.S. broadcast news organization to create an Ombudsman position.

In this role, Shepard serves as the public's representative, and is responsible for bringing transparency to journalism decision-making processes. She responds to queries and comments from listeners, writes a blog on, appears on NPR programs to discuss listener concerns and provides guidance on journalism practices to NPR Member stations. She sees her job as explaining NPR to listeners, and listeners to NPR.

Before coming to NPR, Shepard spent four years teaching journalism and contributing to The New York Times, Washingtonian magazine, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Newark Star Ledger and The Washington Post while working on a book. That book, Woodward & Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate (2006, Wiley), chronicles the lives of the two journalists during and after their landmark investigation. She is the co-author of Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11 (2002), about how journalists covered the tragedy and the public roles they played.

In 2003, Shepard served as a Foster Distinguished Writer at Penn State. From 1993 to 2002, Shepard was a principal contributor to American Journalism Review on such topics as ethics and the newspaper industry. Her work was recognized three times with the National Press Club's top media criticism prize. She was a staff reporter with The San Jose (CA) Mercury News from 1982 to 1987. Shepard has also taught English in Japan.

Shepard holds a B.A. in English from The George Washington University and received a M.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland.

She teaches a graduate-level course in Media Ethics at Georgetown University and is writing a chapter on the media for the Center for Public Integrity's forthcoming book, "The Buying of the President."


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