Around the town
stop and shop
Since 2010, the AP’s been safe-keeping the scoop that an American man who went missing in Iran in 2007 had ties to the CIA. At the government’s request, they kept the story unpublished—until yesterday. “In the absence of any solid information about [the missing man]’s whereabouts, it has been impossible to judge whether publication would put him at risk,” AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll said. (Huffington Post)
Dowd But Not Out
If you’re not covering the upscale department store racial profiling story quickly enough, be prepared to endure fiery wrath of the New York Daily News.
In an editorial published today, the tabloid slammed The New York Times for waiting until yesterday to cover the profiling allegations against Barneys and Macy’s that the News has been relentlessly pushing for a whole week.
Don’t expect Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times‘ public editor, to join those calling for columnist Maureen Dowd to be axed over what they charge is a serial pattern of inaccuracy.
The Observer reached out to Ms. Sullivan to find out if she planned to weigh in on Ms. Dowd’s latest controversy: significantly misquoting a mayoral candidate’s wife so a policy-laden argument had the aura of a political cheap shot.
Department of Complaints
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan takes on the tricky issue of Anthony Weiner coverage on her blog today. Although the disgraced former congressman’s mayoral campaign kicked off with a soft, April 14 cover story in Times Magazine, Ms. Sullivan, reflecting, found the Times‘ coverage has gotten stiffer as the campaign roll-out progressed.
The summer travel issue of T, the Times‘s luxury magazine that was included in this Sunday’s paper, drew some reader criticism, public editor Margaret Sullivan noted today in a blog post.
The cover showed a rather slender model dressed in a lace one piece, with wet hair and a leather jacket slung over one shoulder and the accompanying feature, which was a round-up of models in black bathing suits and leather cover ups, promoted readers to declare the model too thin and too young, and the feature too bondadge-y.
Social Media Missteps
The New York Times’s public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote a post yesterday in which she took the paper to task for running Larry David’s satirical Op-Ed about the Boston bombing in the Sunday Review. The piece, which was based on last week’s press conference where the mother of the alleged Boston bombing suspects insisted that her sons were innocent, was a fictionalized Q&A in which Mr. David imagined what his own mother would say in similar circumstances.
But was it inappropriately soon after the attacks for humor? Ms. Sullivan ultimately decided that it was, a sentiment that was shared by many of her readers—one of whom was the well-known author Joe McGinniss.
The Fray Lady
Social media sure causes a lot of problems over at the Times–but add the Middle East, and it gets even trickier. Newsroom watchdog Margaret Sullivan once again had to weigh in on Times reporters’ tendency to share their unedited opinions on the Internet.
“Start with a reporter who likes to be responsive to readers, is spontaneous and impressionistic in her personal writing style, and not especially attuned to how casual comments may be received in a highly politicized setting,” Ms. Sullivan writes. Burn! Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren is that reporter.
Imagine your first two months as an editor at The New York Times.
You sell your house and car in Buffalo, move to the Flatiron District, plunk down in the Times newsroom and one by one take public swipes at your new colleagues—the incoming CEO, the celebrity profiler, the foreign desk in war-torn Libya, the nation’s most popular political forecaster.
“The role of public editor isn’t to be a friend,” Margaret Sullivan, the Times new public editor and first woman to hold the title, told The Observer from her office in the third-floor newsroom.
In a short time, Ms. Sullivan has taken what was previously a low-profile emeritus post for pre-retirees and transformed it into a bully pulpit of sorts. Rather than filing biweekly print columns like her predecessor Arthur Brisbane, she is tweeting, blogging and interacting with commenters. She has modernized the role of the public editor—a curious job, to be sure—and put more than a few ink-stained noses out of joint.
Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times public editor, is not amused by golden-boy statistician Nate Silver’s latest antics.
This afternoon, the FiveThirtyEight blogger and Times writer challenged Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough to a 21st century type of duel. The terms? If Barack Obama wins, Mr. Scarborough will have to pay up. If Mitt Romney wins, Mr. Silver will pay. The wager? A $2,000 (it was raised from the original $1,000) donation to the Red Cross. The method for laying down the challenge? Twitter, of course. It is 2012, after all.
The final installment in Dan Barry’s five-part, 14,000 word series about a diner in a small Ohio city ran in today’s paper, and public editor Margaret Sullivan used today’s column to commend Mr. Barry on a job well done.
Last year, Times executive editor Jill Abramson encouraged all staff members to go find real Americans and tell their stories, according to Ms. Sullivan. And boy, did Mr. Barry ever!
The good people of Elyria, Ohio, gather over coffee at Donna’s Diner to talk about their struggles to make ends meet. They arrange classic car shows against all odds. They have hopes and dreams and hard times. They are Americans.