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NYTimes, Heal Thyself

By Brian | May 9, 2005 | Share on Facebook

Kudos to the New York Times for this:

Times Panel Proposes Steps to Build Credibility – New York Times

In order to build readers’ confidence, an internal committee at The New York Times has recommended taking a variety of steps, including having senior editors write more regularly about the workings of the paper, tracking errors in a systematic way and responding more assertively to the paper’s critics.

I think all of these are good things. As someone who doesn’t believe I have the facts straight until I’ve read at least two accounts of something, any discussion of how the author reached his conclusions can only help to identify biases (both in the author’s writing and in the critics’ complaints about the writing). A discussion about how & when errors were made (including a dressing down of people who wrongly criticize an article) also tends to clarify the facts – typically by proving that the mistake wasn’t as sinister/politically motivated as many would have us believe.

I’ll also note that blogging is noticeably absent from the list of recommended improvements. It says the Times “should make it easier for readers to send e-mail to reporters and editors,” which reads to me as a tacit rejection of allowing reporters to blog, or establishing an official blogging strategy for the paper. E-mail, after all, is so 20th century…

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UPDATE! Jeff Jarvis points out that the dead-tree edition listed several recommendations, including the idea of starting a “Times blog.” Odd that they’d leave that part out of the online edition, huh?

Also, the full report from the committee is now available online here.

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