Department of Complaints
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.
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.
Social Media Missteps
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.
The Fray Lady
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.
Following last week’s Twitter brouhaha, Andrew Goldman will not be writing for the Times Magazine for the next month.
“In light of his recent comments on Twitter, Andrew will not be contributing the Talk column to the Magazine for four weeks, beginning Oct. 28. He’ll be back with the column after that,” said Hugo Lindgren, editor of The New York Times Magazine through a spokesperson.
Last week, newly appointed public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote about what she now calls “the insulting and profane Twitter messages” that Times freelancer Andrew Goldman tweeted at author Jennifer Weiner. Ms. Sullivan ended the post by calling for a clear social media policy at the paper of record.
Looks like they are now clearing it up. It is actually fairly simple: don’t be a jerk to readers.
Bestselling novelist Jennifer Weiner started a Twitter fight with New York Times writer Andrew Goldman after she read his “Talk” feature in the Sunday magazine. Mr. Goldman asked actress Tippi Hedren, the star of The Birds and the subject of a new HBO movie about her relationship with Alfred Hitchcock, if she had ever been tempted to help her career along by having sex with directors. Ms. Weiner tweeted “Saturday am. Iced coffee. NYT mag. See which actress Andrew Goldman has accused of sleeping her way to the top. #traditionsicoulddowithout.”
Now that Arthur Brisbane is no longer holding The New York Times accountable as the public editor, he is publicly looking back at his two year tenure at the paper of record. Mr. Brisbane served as the fourth ombudsman — the readers’ representative — a position created in the wake of the 2003 Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal.
In an interview with Craig Silverman at Poynter two days after his time at the Times came to an end, Mr. Brisbane spoke about his experience.
“I’m trying to decompress,” Mr. Brisbane told “Yesterday and today are the first two working days that I haven’t had to worry about the e-mail queue and what’s coming in and what’s in the paper, and you know what? I am enjoying it.”
Mr. Brisbane expects to be remembered for his “infamous” truth vigilante post, where Mr. Brisbane questioned whether it’s a reporter’s job to challenge statements presented as facts by sources rather than just reporting it – especially by politicians during an election season. The post got a lot of attention, which came as a bit of a surprise to Mr. Brisbane.
“For better or worse, it’s probably the goddamn fact checking thing,” he said.