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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New York Times treats its Jerusalem Bureau Chief like an intern

I didn't agree with everything she wrote from Gaza last week either, and I still think (and I believe she would agree) that she has a lot to learn about this region, but treating a reporter - a bureau chief no less - like this is unfair. Making that treatment public is even worse.
Now The Times is taking steps to make sure that Ms. Rudoren’s further social media efforts go more smoothly. The foreign editor, Joseph Kahn, is assigning an editor on the foreign desk in New York to work closely with Ms. Rudoren on her social media posts.
The idea is to capitalize on the promise of social media’s engagement with readers while not exposing The Times to a reporter’s unfiltered and unedited thoughts.
Given the spotlight that the Jerusalem bureau chief is bound to attract, and Ms. Rudoren’s self-acknowledged missteps, this was a necessary step.
The alternative would be to say, “Let’s forget about social media and just write stories.” As The Times fights for survival in the digital age, that alternative was not a good one.
There is, of course, a larger question here. Do Ms. Rudoren’s personal musings, as they have seeped out in unfiltered social media posts (and, notably, have been criticized from both the right and the left), make her an unwise choice for this crucially important job?
On this, we should primarily judge her reporting work as it has appeared in the paper and online. During the recent Gaza conflict, she broke news, wrote with sophistication and nuance about what was happening, and endured difficult conditions.
Mr. Kahn described her reporting over the past month as “exemplary.”
The constant refrain I hear is that the reporters write the truth and the Times' editors back in New York edit it to fit their preconceived (anti-Israel) notions. Yes, I read Jodi's Facebook page last week (I haven't asked to friend her and she hasn't asked to friend me, but I did follow the feed), and while I found some of what she wrote less sympathetic to Israel's plight than I would have wished, I thought it was refreshing to hear what a reporter had to say without going through an editor. At least Jodi didn't do what this guy did in the paper!

I think the Times is being a bit childish about this. Would they have done this to Ethan Bronner or Debbie Sontag?

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2 Comments:

At 12:34 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

The previous Public Editor also questioned whether Ethan Bronner should be reporting from Israel (he was the previous bureau chief) because his son was in the IDF. So I think they would have done the same thing to Bronner. I also agree that it's ridiculous. And notice whose complaints Sullivan is responding to - Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss!

 
At 3:54 AM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

She's doing an endrun around their subscription based advertising driven business model. And oh, she's a tool of Hamas too.

 

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