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 Post subject: This and that
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 7:54 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 4655
Location: New York City
The Times ombud on Jayson Blair, 10 years on. Bonuses include: 1. The irrelevant comparison [whether you're making money or not, fraud is fraud, and the paper never threw up the now-common "we have fewer editors" defense]; 2. You'll be glad to hear that readers are getting better at pointing out your missteps, but that shouldn't be the standard, either; 3. Clyde Haberman's superlative, which is accurate, because the Times fired Haberman for his fakery more than 36 years ago; 4. The high journalistic standards that remain as high as always: Don't hire anyone who has killed more than 29 people.

Much has happened since, and The Times is in its second round of new editorial leadership. But even now, when newspaper companies are preoccupied with long-term survival, it is still a touchy subject.

“You have to always believe that something awful could happen again,” the executive editor, Jill Abramson, told me last week. Both she and the managing editor, Dean Baquet, pointed out that the particulars of the Blair problems — repeated fabrication and lying in articles — would come to the surface much more quickly in the age of blogging and Twitter.

“The world is better at checking us and challenging us,” Mr. Baquet said. “But it would be arrogant to say something couldn’t happen.”

Clyde Haberman, the celebrated reporter and columnist who retired recently, called the episode “without question the worst period in my 36 years at the paper.” As bad as it was, though, he said that it underlined for him a continuing virtue of the journalistic world: the importance of trust between reporter and editor, and between the paper and its readers.

Mr. Raines voiced this idea too, and drew a parallel with the case of a New Jersey hospital nurse who admitted killing more than 30 patients: “Any important institution is vulnerable to sociopathic behavior. You don’t manage for the killer in the hospital or the liar in the newsroom.”

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