Sunday, June 7, edition of the New York Times first seem clumsy colossus, who processed the materials, and carried out internal changes at their own intellectual pace, suddenly demonstrated the agility acquired in the Internet era: the newspaper announced that editorial page editor James Bennett (James Bennet) left his post after publishing a highly controversial article written by Senator Tom Cotton (Tom Cotton) describes the reaction of the Federal authorities to mass protests.
In just four days, the newspaper the New York Times managed to publish this controversial article in the section views and comments; to face a sharp negative reaction; to try to defend the article; again to try to defend it; to disown article; to conduct an official meeting on this issue; summer Sunday to take action at the level of high leadership.
“James is incredibly talented and principled journalist who believes deeply in the mission of The New York Times, noted publisher A. G. Sulzberger (A. G. Sulzberger) in a statement. Under his leadership, the section opinions and reviews has undergone significant transformation, it has expanded the range of opinions that we publish, and implement new formats such as video, audio, and graphic materials. I am grateful to him for his great contribution”.
Jim Dao (Jim Dao), Deputy editor of the editorial page, too, will leave his post and be appointed to a new position in news Department, which reports to another user. Katie Kingsbury (Kingsbury Katie) will be acting editor of the editorial section until the completion of the presidential elections in November, as reported in the information sheet published by the newspaper.
The resignation of Bennett was the culmination of the storm, which erupted inside The New York Times and which has generated an avalanche of comments on Twitter. After the cotton called for the deployment of the armed forces (“the country needs to restore order, the army is ready,” reads the subtitle of the column of cotton), the staff of The New York Times and many others said that this column puts African Americans at risk. Wednesday, June 3, Bennett tried to defend this article, writing on Twitter that she encourages discussion and that the role of his section is to present different points of view. The next morning, Sulzberger wrote to the staff the message that he sounded almost the same arguments. Thursday, June 4, Bennett outlined the arguments previously published by him in Twitter in a separate article dedicated to this topic.
But already by Friday, June 5, they both gave up. During the meeting, Sulzberger said that the article of cotton should not have to publish. By the time Bennett also ceased to protect her. The focus of the discussion has shifted to measures to redress a situation and Sulzberger emphasized the need to review the procedures and the role of the speakers opinions and comments in The New York Times. Sources said that the first step may be to reduce the size of the column by one-fifth.
The cotton added the editor’s comment, which States that it does not meet the standards of The New York Times and what it was not supposed to publish. In his Sunday service message is addressed to colleagues, Sulzberger wrote:
None of these changes should not be regarded as a refusal of The New York Times from his obligation to help people learn about different viewpoints from a wide variety of public debate. Today this role is more important than ever. Our country is polarized, and its unified understanding of the world any cracks. The New York Times and journalism in General play a crucial role to understand what is happening, reflect on the events of the past that led us to this, and to help society to pave the way forward. This requires without any fear to analyze a variety of ideas across the political spectrum, especially those with whom we disagree. And these ideas — like everything what appears on our pages should meet the highest standards of accuracy and presented with due respect to our readers.
In a situation with an article of cotton the credibility of Bennett suffered when the former editor admitted that he did not read the article before publishing it. To read completely all articles published in section views and reviews, is an extremely difficult task for any editor, but Bennett was still carefully and slowly read an article in which cotton has advanced so inadequate proposals. In his Sunday message, addressed to colleagues, Sulzberger referred to “serious faults” in the mechanisms of editors. Sulzberger noted that this is not the first such failure. Examples include hasty decisions and the error related to the editorial article Sarah Palin (Sarah Palin), which entailed legal consequences.
“James and I agree that we need a new team, capable to carry out the Department through a period of dramatic change,” said Sulzberger in his address to colleagues. Quite possibly, the publisher shuddered when he wrote these words because he has long supported the work of Bennett in The New York Times and even expressed their support, sincerely, according to sources, at a meeting on Friday.
On Friday on the page of the Erik Wemple Blog on Twitter there was a discussion that the guidance in section views, you may want to pay attention to how it gets a response and answers to the speakers opinions. Under the former guidance section of opinions and comments were created by something called Op-Discuss, representing a pretty impressive list of electronic addresses, where to send drafts of articles to receive in response to some backlash. It was bulky and clumsy mechanism, but he did allow a wide range of opinion, according to informed sources, it has been involved about 30-40 editors to promote or to give up on the articles depending on their advantages and disadvantages. When Bennett mechanism Op-Discuss was suspended.
Bennett goes to work, which has become more complicated and tense. Trying to defend his decision to publish the article of cotton, he emphasized on the fundamental element of the dogma of journalism of opinion — this is what he wrote Wednesday on Twitter: “the Times Opinion Section is supposed to show readers various counterarguments, especially those with which people are empowered to choose the course.” Apparently, the era of trump undermines this principle.
The full text of the message of the publisher A. G. Sulzberger addressed to the editorial staff:
I write to inform you that James Bennett resigned as editor of the editorial column. Jim Dao, Deputy editorial page editor responsible for the section of opinions and review, will also leave his post and be appointed to a new position in news Department.
Last week we faced a serious malfunction of our editorial processes, and this failure was not the first over the last few years. James agrees that we need a new team, capable to carry out the Department through a period of dramatic change.
Kathy Kingsbury will serve as the acting editor of the editorial pages until after the presidential election in November. These changes take effect immediately.
James and Jim — great journalists, true to his principles, which was committed to the mission of The New York Times. They developed a culture of innovation, expanded the range of opinions that we publish, and implement new formats such as video, audio, and graphic materials. I thank them for their significant contribution.
Katie played an important role in the transformation section of opinions and comments from the moment when, in 2017, she moved to The New York Times from the Boston Globe, where she was managing editor and won a Pulitzer prize for his editorials. In the coming weeks and months it will lead the process of implementing changes in the work division of opinion and how decisions are made. I will work with Katie to support these changes in the work of the division and take other measures to guarantee that our work will meet our high standards. Besides, there are also unresolved questions about the evolving role of opinion journalism in a digital world, and we will begin to create a new format that will help readers to understand why we publish certain arguments and how they fit into the national debate.
None of these changes should not be regarded as a refusal of The New York Times from his obligation to help people learn about different viewpoints from a wide variety of public debate. Today this role is more important than ever. Our country is polarized, and its unified understanding of the world any cracks. The New York Times and journalism in General play a crucial role to understand what is happening, reflect on the events of the past that led us to this, and to help society to pave the way forward. This requires without any fear to analyze a variety of ideas across the political spectrum, especially those with whom we disagree. And these ideas — like everything what appears on our pages should meet the highest standards of accuracy and to be set forth with respect to our readers.
Since last few days we face questions about our core values, I want to say briefly and clearly: as an institution we oppose racism in all corners of society. We stand against injustice. We deeply believe in the principles of justice, equality and human rights. These values permeate our news coverage and our speakers views and comments.
Although this week was painful for the company, it led us to start urgent and important discussion. In tough questions at meetings, in the countless conversations that I had with many of you, I heard a sincere commitment to the mission of The New York Times.
We have made real progress over the last few years, becoming more diverse and inclusive, however, we must exert more effort to make our newspaper has become a place that welcomes, supports and values the contribution of all our employees. The guide will provide you with a list of steps the company will take during the month.
Thank you for your desire to help us work in accordance with our highest ideals.