On Monday night the New York chapter of Society of Professional Journalists convened at the Waldorf to honor the year’s star performances in reporting. They should have saved a toast for fact-checkers.
Club president and Journal News editor Rebecca Baker began the ceremonies with a moment of silence for late photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros. The moment was spoiled somewhat when the image projected was captioned “Chris Condros” and was in fact a photograph of Hetherington’s Restrepo collaborator Sebastian Junger.
The late Sidney Harman had been asked to introduce keynote speaker Tina Brown; his widow former Congresswoman Jane Harman was an impromptu stand-in.
“I was in New York anyway for the birth of my fourth grandchild,” she said.
Keynote speaker Tina Brown declined to give a keynote speech, opting instead for a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly.
Former Congresswoman Harman demonstrated her family’s continued support of Ms. Brown’s Newsweek/Daily Beast, touting growth in and pages and traffic and prompting Mr. Kelly to later compare their patronage to New York magazine’s Wassersteins.
“Our thoughts go out to those who are suffering in the flood plains near the Mississippi, but that’s not the only natural event in this country,” the former congresswoman said. “Tina is her own hurricane and she hit this town sometime back, and she has blown through a number publications and now here she is trying to do something, that is, save Rebecca Baker’s job.”
At the end of their softball Q & A, Mr. Kelly asked Ms. Brown to predict who will win the 2012 election. She predicted President Obama would best the GOP’s “cast of pygmies.”