Wednesday, April 06, 2005

NYT Unbecoming

The NYT today published a 'correction' -- more like an apology -- following their decision to accept a deal from Columbia University whereby they would get the results of the University's Ad Hoc Committee's investigation into allegations of harrassment of pro-Israel students on campus as an 'exclusive,' on condition that they do not interview any of the students who made the complaints.
Under The Times's policy on unidentified sources, writers are not permitted to forgo follow-up reporting in exchange for information. In this case, editors and the writer did not recall the policy and agreed to delay additional reporting until the document had become public. The Times insisted, however, on getting a response from the professor accused of unacceptable behavior, and Columbia agreed.
Frankly, the 'did not recall' line is ridiculous; this is an issue of journalistic ethics and not an issue of the Times's specific policy. In addition, the paper knew enough to insist on a response from the professor; that they did not insist on a response from the students as well, as SIW says, 'speaks volumes.'
As I said previously, the whole thing is puzzling because we're not exactly talking about an earth-shattering scoop here. In any case, kudos to CampusJ for breaking the story and following it up so effectively.

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