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HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Radio Host Puzzled Over Firing

On Tuesday, HOH reported that Lisa Simeone, host of “Soundprint” and NPR’s “World of Opera,” was also acting as a spokeswoman for the October 2011 group that has since become affiliated with Occupy DC, the Freedom Plaza contingent.

Simeone was not an employee of either WAMU or NPR. She says, and the stations confirm, that she is a freelancer. Also, NPR’s “World of Opera” is confusingly named because it is produced by an NPR affiliate in North Carolina and not NPR. “Soundprint,” on the other hand, is no longer produced by WAMU but continues to air on the station on Sunday nights.

Simeone today told the blog “War Is a Crime” that she had been fired as the host of “Soundprint,” an independently produced documentary program.

“I find it puzzling that NPR objects to my exercising my rights as an American citizen — the right to free speech, the right to peaceable assembly — on my own time in my own life,” Simeone told the blog. “I’m not an NPR employee. I’m a freelancer. NPR doesn’t pay me. I’m also not a news reporter. I don’t cover politics. I’ve never brought a whiff of my political activities into the work I’ve done for NPR World of Opera. What is NPR afraid I’ll do — insert a seditious comment into a synopsis of Madame Butterfly?”

OK, she’s got a point, except that, um, NPR hasn’t fired her. … Well, not yet.

“’Soundprint’ has nothing to do with us,” NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher tells HOH.

As far as Christopher knows, Simeone had not been fired from NPR’s “World of Opera,” at least as of this afternoon.

“As far as I know, the conversations between the producer of that show and NPR are ongoing,” she says.

We should also point out that NPR’s code of ethics is not limited to reporters who cover the news. Because NPR has such a strong code of ethics, Christopher tells us, many shows and stations affiliated with the brand adopt NPR’s code as their own.

The conflict of interest section is concerned with how the station’s coverage and an individual journalist’s actions may conflict.

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