Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It's Time For The New York Times To Investigate The New York Times

The New York Times Building
Photo: Flickr/samchills
If you search the New York Times website for articles about the unceremonious ouster of Jill Abramson you'll come up short. There's a very good piece from David Carr and a couple of other related articles, but that's about it.

No one expects corporations to air their dirty laundry in public. But the Times isn't just another corporation. It's America's paper of record, and millions of us rely on them to cover the news. And as uncomfortable as it might be for Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the Jill Abramson story is news.

It's actually a messy story.

Was she fired because she was angry about pay and lawyered up?

Was she fired because she was "pushy"(whatever that means)?

Was she fired because of conflicts with the business side?

Was she fired because of bad office management and hiring mistakes?

Did this incredibly frank piece of self-assessment of the Times' digital gaps have anything to do with it? (If you can't read the whole report, Digiday published a primer here.)

We certainly know she wasn't fired because she was bad at her job. On her watch the Times won eight Pulitzer Prizes.

So as hard as it may be to do, it's time for Dean Baquet to put some ace reporters on the case and publish a full reckoning of what exactly happened and why it happened. If the "church/state" separation between the business of the Times and the news is real, it's already underway.

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