Times Business Editor Larry Ingrassia to Ombudsman Arthur Brisbane: How Closely Do You Read the Times?

brisbane Times Business Editor Larry Ingrassia to Ombudsman Arthur Brisbane: How Closely Do You Read the Times?Times public editor Arthur Brisbane criticized the Business Day section’s investment in DealBook in his column this week, and business editor Larry Ingrassia shot back in an internal memo intercepted by Romenesko.

DealBook, the Andrew Ross Sorkin-founded Times blog which now claims a few pages in the print section, focuses on reporting deals hours before they would have been announced and chronicling the lives of Wall Street players like a gossip column. It serves the investors’ appetites, not the public interest, according to Mr. Brisbane.

It struck the Times ombudsman as a foolishly pre-2008 editorial strategy, now that macroeconomic issues dominate business headlines, and now that Wall Street is a downgraded player in international economics.

“I was left wondering whether The Times should have spent its money not on expanding DealBook but on enlarging its stable of journalists aimed at the wider subjects of international banks and sovereign debt,” he wrote.

In response, Mr. Ingrassia sent the following letter to Mr. Brisbane, and cc’d the business staff, according to Poynter:

Art,

Your column left me wondering how closely you read the Times – or at least our financial coverage. There is far more financial news, of all kinds, than ever before. Not less, as your column strangely asks.

On the coverage of the European debt crisis: We have written several hundred stories explaining its origins and implications over the past year and a half, and dozens of them ran on the front page. A number of these stories delved into the very questions you wondered about – including the dangerous ripple effects in the financial system if the problems aren’t solved. And other stories have explained how derivatives sold by banks both helped disguise the extent of the debt problems in some countries like Greece, but also pose concerns going forward. Maybe you missed these, but we reported them.

On DealBook: The addition of reporters has enabled The Times to expand its coverage of finance, not just the stories that you cited about what’s happening on Wall Street but public service journalism stories as well – like the banking industry’s aggressive lobbying against some of the stricter regulations approved by Congress in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown or the battle to limit the power of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to name just a couple of important running stories to which DealBook reporters have made major contributions.

Sorry, but when you start with a wrong premise and ignore the record, you end up with a wrong conclusion.

Larry Ingrassia
Business editor
The New York Times

 

Bummer about Romenesko quitting, huh?