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Posts Tagged ‘Arthur Brisbane’

Margaret Sullivan on Being New York Times’ Public Editor: ‘I Always Find Something That Seems Compelling’

We’re fans of Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times’ public editor. Since taking over for Arthur Brisbane, she has been making her voice heard. That’s a good thing, even if people sometimes disagree with what she says.

In an interview with Poynter, Sullivan talks about what it’s like being the public editor and discloses that her desk is near the obituary department, which we found sort of oddly fitting. Below are some highlights from the piece.

On relating to Times staffers:

It’s a little bit like covering the police beat from a desk in the cop shop. You can be friendly, you can get to know people, but you probably can’t really be true friends. So far, I think everybody is striking a good balance.

On making her voice heard:

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Arthur Brisbane is Still Cool with Wondering if New York Times Should Tell the Truth

Arthur Brisbane is no longer the public editor of The New York Times, and in an interview with Poynter, he refelcted on his time at the paper. When Brisbane was asked which of his columns would be remembered the most, he replied, “For better or worse, it’s probably the goddamn fact checking thing.”

Yes, “the goddamn fact checking thing” — in which Brisbane hilariously wondered if the Times should tell the truth — will definitely be his most recalled piece, basically because it was terrible.

But Brisbane still sees nothing wrong that column, as he wouldn’t cite it as a mistake during his tenure:

I don’t really have, I don’t really look back and say, ‘Well, shit, you know that was a fundamental mistake. I mean, to the extent that there are shortcomings that one might identify in my term, I don’t think there are shortcomings of my strategy, my tactics. They might be shortcomings that one would identify in my mindset, reporting skills, whatever … You bring your best to the job, you do the best you can, and you know, I’m satisfied when I look back.

You have to love Brisbane for going out like this. He wrote a column that was blasted by pretty much everyone, yet he still won’t admit it was a mistake. Instead he’s riding off into the sunset with both middle fingers raised at the media world.

New York Times Public Editor is a Fan of Facts

Arthur Brisbane, the New York Times’ public editor who wackily questioned if the paper should publish facts, has moved on. Margaret Sullivan is now in his spot, and notably, her first blog post deals with the handling of truth. Sullivan is overwhelmingly in favor of telling the truth and making sure the paper gets things right, so we can all exhale.

The new public editor praises some pieces that have challenged the validity of reports, thanks Jay Rosen for making fact-checking a big issue, and then — well, then she takes a tiny jab at Brisbane:

Whatever the conclusions, whatever the effectiveness, of challenging facts, the idea that we have to debate the necessity of doing so strikes me as absurd.

Right on.

New York Times Public Editor Says Lolo Jones Piece Was Too Harsh

The New York Times is still getting grief about its Lolo Jones hit piece, and so the paper’s public editor, Arthur Brisbane, has posted a letter to those readers who have complained.

Brisbane says because it was under the Times’ “In The Rings” section, it was an opinion, though one many disagreed with. He adds that he believed the article to be too rough:

In this particular case, I think the writer was particularly harsh, even unnecessarily so…

I believe writers like Jere Longman, who does have a long and worthy track record at The Times, should have some room to express their hard-earned perspective. But this piece struck me as quite harsh and left me, along with others, wondering why the tone was so strong.

New York Times Interviews Final Candidates for Public Editor

The New York Times is in the final stages of selecting their new public editor. Poynter reports that there are 10 candidates currently being interviewed for the job.

Not many details are known other than that, but Glenn Kamon, the Times’ assistant managing editor for enterprise, said there are two women among the finalists, and the paper is placing an emphasis on web savvy.

The person selected for the job will succeed Arthur Brisbane, who is leaving the Times in September.

Arthur Brisbane, New York Times Public Editor, to Leave Paper

Arthur Brisbane, The New York Times’ Public Editor, is leaving his post in September. The Washington Post reports that Brisbane made the decision to leave last fall. Brisbane was the fourth Public Editor appointed by the Times.

Brisbane will surely be remembered for his ridiculously awful column that asked if the New York Times should report facts. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and go back and give it a read. It’s truly an amazing piece.

Arthur Brisbane Responds to Critics

A couple hours ago we pointed out how absurd the article Arthur Brisbane recently posted on the New York Times’ website was. Brisbane has now responded to all of his critics. He told Jim Romenesko:

What I was trying to ask was whether reporters should always rebut dubious facts in the body of the stories they are writing. I was hoping for diverse and even nuanced responses to what I think is a difficult question… I was also hoping to stimulate a discussion about the difficulty of selecting which ‘facts’ to rebut, facts being troublesome things that seem to shift depending on the beholder’s perspective.

Hmm… Okay. We think we can (again) answer Brisbane fairly quickly.

Nuanced answer: Yes. Facts are facts. They are not difficult things. For example, the capital of North Dakota is Bismarck. That is a fact. It doesn’t “shift” because the FishbowlNY editors have never been to Bismarck.

Hope that clears things up.

The New York Times Isn’t Sure About That ‘Telling The Truth’ Thing

Oh boy. If this article by New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane — which essentially asks if the Times should call out lies — wasn’t on the paper’s site, we’d think it was a parody. But nope! Brisbane really wrote a piece wondering if Times reporters “should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.”

Here’s some more:

Another example: on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America,” a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing that politics has advanced to the “post-truth” stage.

As an Op-Ed columnist, Mr. Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie. My question for readers is: should news reporters do the same?

That sound you hear is everyone, everywhere, screaming “YES!” The last time we checked, a journalist is supposed to always report the facts. That’s not being a “truth vigilante,” as Brisbane calls it. It’s doing your damn job.

Forgive us Tim Tebow, but lord almighty, please give Brisbane a clue.

Decoding Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson has been Executive Editor of The New York Times for just under a week now, so it’s time to start overanalyzing every single thing she says, just like we used to do with Bill Keller. Over the weekend, the Times’ Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane, interviewed Abramson, so let’s check out some of the more interesting quotes. Followed — of course — by what she really meant.

Brisbane: Will the public see a change because a woman is now in charge?
Abramson: Do you think any readers noticed it when I was a managing editor and had a major role in the play and picking of stories online and in print? The idea that women journalists bring a different taste in stories or sensibility isn’t true.
What Arbramson wanted to say: That’s a stupid question.

Brisbane: The legendary Times executive editor A. M. Rosenthal once told a colleague he felt the need to steer The Times to the right to compensate for the leftward political leanings of some staff. Will you do that?
Abramson: I sometimes try not only to remind myself but my colleagues that the way we view an issue in New York is not necessarily the way it is viewed in the rest of America.
What Abramson wanted to say: The rest of America is usually wrong. But, yeah. I guess.

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New York Times Business Editor Lashes Back at Public Editor

Everyone loves a good drama, right? Well here’s one to start your week off with. Yesterday, The New York Times’ Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane, attacked the paper’s Business section and DealBook for not including enough information for the general public. Instead, Brisbane wrote, the section functions like a tabloid and gives way too much credence to our economy, which isn’t exactly powerful anymore.

As you can imagine, this stung the Times’ Business Editor, Lawrence Ingrassia. Romenesko intercepted a letter that Ingrassia fired off to staffers in which Ingrassia says, “For the first time, I felt that a public editor column was so absurd and so poorly reasoned that I felt compelled to write a response.” Alright! Fighting words, right?

Ingrassia then follows the note to staffers with his letter to Brisbane. He begins the latter with, “Your column left me wondering how closely you read the Times – or at least our financial coverage. There is far more financial news, of all kinds, than ever before. Not less, as your column strangely asks.”

Head over to Romenesko for the entire memo. We’ll let you know who wins the inevitable thumb wrestling match.