WASHINGTON – When Ben Bernanke makes history today as the first Federal Reserve chief to begin a series of regular news conferences, his tasks will be simple:

Make no unintended news. Defuse critics of Fed policymaking. Say nothing that might spook investors.

“If he succeeds, he will not make any impact whatsoever” on bonds, stocks or the dollar, said Timothy Duy, an economist at the University of Oregon.

The historic news conference, the first of three this year, is part of a long-standing Bernanke campaign to make the central bank more transparent and publicly accessible. His efforts, which have included town-hall meetings and appearances on “60 Minutes,” have followed criticism that the Fed was for too long secretive and unaccountable.

After giving an opening statement, Bernanke is scheduled to take reporters’ questions for 45 minutes. He’ll do so less than two hours after the Fed issues a statement outlining its latest policies. The Fed is expected to say that its benchmark rate will remain near zero and that its $600 billion Treasury bond-buying program will end in June.