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Juan Williams Signs Book Deal

Former NPR news analyst Juan Williams has signed a "two-book deal with the Crown Publishers imprint ... at Random House," The New York Times' ArtsBeat blog reports.

The first book is due next summer and Crown tells the Timesthat it will "focus on free speech and the growing difficulty in America of speaking out on sensitive topics."

That means he'll surely address the national controversy over the ending of his relationship with NPR.

Williams' contract with NPR was terminated in October after he said on Fox News Channel, where he provided commentary, that "when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

He also said that it's wrong to brand all Muslims as "extremists," but NPR managers concluded he violated the organization's editorial standards and practices -- and not for the first time. Williams would go on to say, however, that he had been fired because "I appear on Fox" and that his comment had been taken "totally out of context."

NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard has written that Williams' dismissal was poorly handled and hastily made. "A more deliberative approach might have enabled NPR to avoid what has turned into a public relations nightmare" and given Williams a chance to explain himself before action was taken, she said.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.