While the New York Times Guild battles company chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. over frozen pensions, Times reporters are putting their copy where their mouths are, producing conversation-starting stories despite tighter resources.
Sure, there’s the occasional first-person cat training memoir, but there are also blockbusters like Amy Harmon’s “Navigating Love and Autism,” an intimate portrait of Jack and Kirsten, two college students on the Autism spectrum in love.
“This piece is an important example of why big journalistic institutions like The New York Times are such a vital part of our society,” media reporter Seth Mnookin wrote on his science media blog.
In the comments section, Jack’s father, John Elder Robison (the author of a bestselling Asperger’s memoir), praised Ms. Harmon’s reporting as well as the work of staff photographers and videographers.
“Their dedication is most impressive,” he wrote, “and it makes clear why the Times remains The paper of record.”
The Times is so committed to its watertight reporting, in fact, that it did not allow a slip-up about a character on the cartoon series “My Little Ponies: Friendship Is Magic” to mar her otherwise flawless 5,000-word piece.
Describing the therapy Kirsten undergoes in hopes of making her relationship with Jack more stable, Ms. Harmon wrote:
“When she found herself in a bad-mood rut, she had agreed with her therapist, she would visualize Fluttershy, the nerdy intellectual character in the animated children’s show ‘My Little Pony’ — of which her knowledge bordered on encyclopedic and whose goofiness made her laugh.”
But, as any self-respecting Brony will tell you, Fluttershy is the kind, animal-loving Pegasus pony character. It’s actually Twilight Sparkle, the Ponyville librarian and Apprentice of Princess Celestia, who’s the brainy one.
“As an adolescent with Asperger’s myself, all I can say about this article is they got the pony wrong,” joked Times commenter Ganondox, from Brazil.
It appears the Times’ new commenting system (trusted readers only) is paying for itself already. Today the following correction was appended:
“A previous version of this article misidentified the “My Little Pony” character that Kirsten Lindsmith said she visualized to cheer herself up. It is Twilight Sparkle, not Fluttershy.”
“I hate to get anything wrong, but I confess to some enjoyment in finding the right way to phrase this one,” Ms. Harmon wrote The Observer in an e-mail.
“I heard from one My Little Pony fan by email who praised the story but wanted me to know this for my own edification,” she continued, “and at least one other called the Times and spoke, I gather at some length, with an editor who handles calls from readers.”