No Disclosure By NYT Public Editor

In his latest column New York Times Public Editor Arthur S. Brisbane catalogues some of the major reader complaints and journalistic challenges the paper faces in a new-media world.

Brisbane starts with the blending of opinion with news, moves on to the shape-shifting of stories online, and then addresses loosened reporting standards for the Times website:

Indeed, taking sufficient care on the front end of reporting and publishing is one of the most difficult challenges for The Times as news consumption shifts rapidly to digital venues like the Web, tablets and cellphones. The newspaper scored a clear victory in this respect with its handling of the WikiLeaks material. With its deep roster of experienced reporters and computer-aided reporting expertise, The Times carefully mounted a responsible assemblage of coverage.

Floyd Abrams, the prominent First Amendment lawyer, gives The Times’s WikiLeaks work very high marks. And he notes that the stakes are huge, given the peril that news organizations face when dealing with secret material — dealings that could potentially subject them to prosecution under the Espionage Act.

At which point maybe Abrams could represent the Times in court again, as he’s done in the Pentagon Papers and Judith Miller cases. But Brisbane doesn’t mention that the paper has been (and will likely be again) Abrams’ client. That’s a strange omission from someone whose objective is, in part, transparency at the Times.

As of now, there are no references to the non-disclosure among the 29 comments on the piece.

But there will be one when I post mine.


Here’s the aforementioned comment.

Campaign Outsider
January 9th, 2011
10:34 pm
Why is there no disclosure in this piece that Floyd Abrams has represented the Times in the Pentagon Papers and Judith Miller cases? Wouldn’t that be appropriate in situations where Abrams praises and/or endorses the way the paper handles potential legal issues?

See… more.

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