Monday, December 22, 2008

NYT to Nytpicker: "The editors do not believe there to be a rationale to include a mention."

In an 12:02 p.m. email to The Nytpicker, New York Times senior vice president and chief spokeswoman Catherine Mathis responded to our questions, raised in an email to the Times this morning and an earlier post, regarding the friendship between Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Caroline Kennedy. We asked Mathis two questions:

1. Given that the Times now covers Ms. Kennedy on a daily basis in the course of her campaign for the Senate, does the Times plan to disclose that friendship to its readers in its news coverage, or on the editorial page?

2. Aternatively, does the Times believe -- and can it explain to readers unfamiliar with the workings of a newspaper, who might assume otherwise -- that such a friendship does not influence the nature or quantity of its coverage?

Here's the Mathis reply, reprinted in full:

Dear NYTpicker:

In this case, the editors do not believe there to be a rationale to include a mention. With regard to your second question, when The Times was acquired by Adolph Ochs in 1896, he said that the definition of journalistic integrity for newspapers is "to give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect or interests involved." This definition is as relevant today as it was when it was written more than a century ago. We strive to maintain the journalistic independence and integrity of The New York Times in all our coverage. As part of that, the publisher does not tell reporters or editors what to write in the news columns. It is left to the judgment of our journalists.



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