Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sam Sifton, NYT's Culture Editor, Describes His Staff As "Work Horses" and Show Ponies."

At an otherwise straightforward discussion of arts journalism on March 12 at Christie's, the NYT's culture editor Sam Sifton offered a disturbingly glib short-hand comparison of his staff to four-legged creatures under his firm control.

"We have reporters and we have critics," Sifton explained. "Think of them as work horses and show ponies. You can put reporters in saddle and get them to do everything. With the critics, you offer them sugar cubes and some ribbons."

The audience tittered, and moderator Sree Sreenivasan -- the affable new-media guru at the Columbia Journalism School -- took note of the gaffe.

"Do you have to go back to the office tomorrow?" Sreenivasan asked.

Sifton could not be deterred from his animal analogy. "They know it's true," he insisted.

It could not be learned what Robin Pogrebin's reaction was to the news that Manohla Dargis was receiving regular rations of sugar cubes, while she continued to subsist on Sifton's diet of water and hay.


Anonymous said...

How would I feel if I were considered either a work horse or a show pony? I would be happy to have a stall with water in this economy.

Seriously, anyone with a brain should know why John Prine wrote, "Dear Abby". You are what you are and you ain't what you ain't.

So NYTPicker, stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood.

Anonymous said...

But NYTPicker doesn't work at the New York Times. Or does he/she? Wouldn't that be funny.

Anonymous said...

Sam Sifton is the NYTPicker. He's trying to throw us off the scent.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that the NYTPicker has access to the Internal NYT website where the photos of the editors and writers can be found. (The copyright issues and privacy issues shouldn't be dismissed lightly even though it's all in fun around here.)

Anonymous said...

If your head shot has run on the web, it's generally available to the public. When you willingly make yourself part of the so-called "conversation," privacy becomes a dead horse.
Mr. Sifton, for example, did "Talk to the Newsroom" a while back and there it was, for anyone who wanted it, click and drag, bingo.

Anonymous said...

So we're agreed, NYTPicker works at the Times. Who is it? Carr? Sifton? Stelter, maybe?

Anonymous said...

Paying attention always helps.

"Available to the public" means that any Tom, Dick or Harry with an Internet connection can grab the pictures. The computer can be anywhere one can read the NYT online. Even people at the Post can do it.