The Mystery of the NYTPicker Perseveres: Who’s Behind The Times Torturer?

the nytpicker The Mystery of the NYTPicker Perseveres: Whos Behind The Times Torturer?Fans (or detractors) of the goings-on inside the New York Times love it. Many within the Times—especially those who find themselves in its cross-hairs—despise it. The Times spokespeople refuse to talk to it. No matter what your feelings are on it, however, the question remains: Who’s behind the New York Times torturing blog, The NYTPicker? And now, another arises: Why did they stop?

trans The Mystery of the NYTPicker Perseveres: Whos Behind The Times Torturer?The NYTPicker—an anonymous blog dedicated to documenting failings and inside politics of the New York Times—has resulted in (among other things) Times writers being fired, and the credibility of Times pieces being called into question. For a while, they were relentless, calling out anything that appeared even remotely amiss within the paper. They steadily produced a stream of questions that clearly indicated help from within the Times‘ newsroom. And still, despite plenty of people both in the building and outside of it trying to uncover the identity of the site’s author, nothing has come to fruition.

Today, Jim Romensko of Poynter asked: Why have they gone silent? And still: Who is it?

The query was revisited because the typically prolific blog hasn’t posted since March 27th.

One Romenesko tipster noted the status of an old NYTPicker suspect, David Blum. Mr. Blum is a Columbia professor and former Timesman who also edited the Village Voice and New York Press, culled from a reader email:

“In January 2011, he started aseditor of Kindle Singles. While the NYTPicker’s last post was in March, as you note, you’ll see that regular activity on the site dropped off at the end of last year, just before Blum assumed full-time work with Amazon.”

When questioned by the Times of being behind the site in 2009, Mr. Blum at first didn’t respond for comment, and then, publicly denied it when Times reporter Rebecca Ruiz openly accused him of it on the Times site, who then deleted the original post on the matter.

The NYTPicker—who has also deleted their own posts on occasion—never remarked on the accusation, but the name “David Blum” appears numerous times in NYTPicker comments.

Embattled New York Times tech columnist David Pogue clearly thinks it’s David Blum.

And a Times newsroom staffer we heard from this morning told the Observer that they and many others—with an emphasis on ‘many’—think that NYTPicker is indeed the work of Mr. Blum.

Emails to two email accounts of Mr. Blum’s were not returned. For now, the mystery behind the NYTPicker perseveres, but if you know any more? We’d love to hear it.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek