SPJ supports NPR journalists facing challenges from State Department
Patricia Gallagher Newberry, SPJ National President, 513-702-4065, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists supports National Public Radio journalists who are being challenged by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“Mary Louise Kelly and Michele Kelemen of NPR should not be punished for asking tough questions and doing their work of informing the public,” said SPJ National President Patricia Gallagher Newberry.
During an interview Friday, Pompeo became angry when Kelly, co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” asked whether he thinks he owes former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch an apology. After refusing to answer the question during the interview and lashing out at Kelly, he reportedly screamed obscenities and insulted her intelligence following the interview.
Then on Monday, the State Department barred Kelemen from flying on the plane Pompeo was taking to Ukraine.
SPJ stands by Kelly for doing her job to hold those in power accountable and remaining professional despite bullying attempts. And the Society condemns the actions of the State Department in prohibiting Kelemen from doing her job.
“It’s a journalist’s responsibility to ask government officials tough questions. And it’s a government official’s job to answer those questions,” Newberry said. “Journalists shouldn’t be berated or punished for trying to gather and report information to the American people.”
Kelly was one of the NPR/Minnesota Public Radio journalists who won SPJ’s Ethics in Journalism Award in 2018. She is also confirmed to speak at the Excellence in Journalism 2020 conference in Washington, D.C., in September.
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