March 26, 2004

Our Friend Bob Edwards 

Bob Edwards leaving as host of Morning Edition? The news hit me like a death in the family. For almost 25 years his voice has been like bedrock in the morning. His calm, deliberate style welcomed me back to wakeful reality but not too quickly. And there's something in his voice that suggests no matter how complicated the story seems, it's really even more complicated than that. We just have to patient to understand. So the intrigue ramped up a notch when it was revealed Bob's leaving Morning Edition was not his own idea. Associated Press first reported that he was "forced out of the job," scooping NPR with the real story, as it were. According to NPR's initial news release, "Bob Edwards, the award-winning, 30-year NPR veteran broadcaster and host of Morning Edition since its first broadcast, announced today that he is leaving as host of the program effective April 30, 2004, to take on a new assignment as senior correspondent for NPR News." NPR then released a document entitled "Questions and Answers" which clearly states "This change was the decision of NPR Programming and News management." The latest info on NPR's web site reflects a settling down of the spin, a thorough acknowledgement of Bob's long-lived contributions to NPR and public journalism, and his acceptance of a new role as a senior NPR correspondent. I guess I can't get mad at NPR for trying to spin the story, since I know any large public organization would do pretty much the same thing when making this kind of personnel change. I do wonder if it's a wise decision, and only time will tell. If you have a reaction to all this you can voice it here, and you can also contact the NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin at: (202) 513-3246 or ombudsman@npr.org. Your feedback to NPR would be a very good thing, no matter what you think. Meanwhile, I'll miss Bob Edwards on my radio in the morning, and I hope the new Morning Edition hosts won't be all cheerful and wake me up too quickly.

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