May 12, 2003
All the news that's ... aw, fuckit.
Well, somebody had to post it.
"The New York Times continues as before. Every morning, stacks of The Times are piled at newsstands throughout the city; every morning, newspaper carriers toss plastic bags containing that day's issue onto the lawns of readers from Oregon to Maine. What remains unclear is how long those copies will carry the dust from the public collapse of a young journalist's career."
So, what do people think? Is the Times' reputation irrevocably sullied by Blair's ignominious stain? Are other news organizations any better? Is this a watershed moment in newspaper journalism?
Posted by tmonkey at May 12, 2003 01:45 AM
and on the same day (or so) that Stephen Glass's Fabulist came out...
though there's a different elephant in this room.
i read that entire piece in the Times -- it was like a monk scratching with his hairshirt. plus, Jayson was bold and wily as hell -- and then of course, you read that he was trying to sell a book proposal when it was all going down, and you realize the layers of ambition.
two things struck me most: a) i think glass, finkel, or blair ("Blair Witch Project" has to be the stupidest headline on Google news right now, btw) are sort of martyrs to the expectations of print journalism these days -- which is to say, more story breaks, scoops, details, and style pyrotechnics in an effort to fend off television. we're all supposed to be Woodward and Bernsteins. Well maybe not Woodward.
b) and then the black factor. how contradictory was this graph, way deep in the self-flaggelation:
"Mr. Blair's Times supervisors and Maryland professors emphasize that he earned an internship at The Times because of glowing recommendations and a remarkable work history, not because he is black. The Times offered him a slot in an internship program that was then being used in large part to help the paper diversify its newsroom."
doesn't the second sentence undo the first?
i guess i'm one of those people that thinks it's fine for the Times to troll for good, minority reporters, since the newsrooms are traditionally so male and white. it's not about double-standards, because as anybody in a workplace knows, there are countless standards: talented people who are lazy, disciplined people without much talent, good reporters/bad writers, etc. a good ethnic mix -- particularly for a media-company supposedly reporting on communities -- is vital. the NYT, i say, on a practical level needs diversity more than, say, Microsoft. we've gotten in this post-PC handcuff where seeking out diversity is bean-counting, and everybody has to get very righteous and confused about it.
I got the impression that The Times was actually diverse to the point where you can regularly read a black man writing not about black communities but mainstream movies, a black man writing about the telcos and the technology industry, a chinese guy writing about latino and black communities in the Metro section.
Reminds me of a Chris Rock joke:
"You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to go to war."
I guess in reality, though, the Times newsroom is, according to "one Times staffer", "horribly undiverse." And I guess Arthur, Howell, and Gerald can't spell for shit either.