Friday, January 13, 2012

Arthur Brisbane, the public editor at the New York Times put his foot in it.  In a post titled, Should the NYT be a Truth Vigilante? he asked "whether and when news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."

The deluge of universally exasperated comments lasted only briefly before the comments were closed, but it also stimulated a fair amount of chatter in the blogosphere, from Joe Romm to Glenn Greenwald and James Fallows

I was happy to see that my own two cents, in the form of an irritated comment, rose to the #5 slot among the "readers picks" at the Times.  I noted:
If the purpose of the NYT is to be an inoffensive container for ad copy, then by all means continue to do nothing more than paraphrase those press releases. (Though I'll spend less and less of my time reading it.) If you have ambitions to be a newspaper that practices journalism, then practice journalism - even if that's harder. You might find there's an audience for an actual functional news organization.
Brisbane and his editors have been backpedalling frantically and trying to explain what he really meant, but I hope that they take to heart the overall tenor of the responses they got, and take seriously the intense frustration that their audience is expressing about the current state of this flagship of US journalism.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your comment and totally agree.
    I am both a full time journalist and a reader of the Times. I read it because it contains real reporting, which is not easy to find these days. Sometimes I think the news media are no more than lackeys for publicists., actually I KNOW they are lackeys for publicists.