Why did the NYT just take down the most recent question-and-answer from Week In Review deputy editor Dave Smith's "Talk To The Newsroom" feature?
Was it something he said?
During one of our periodic checks of the weekly web feature this afternoon, we read a posting in which a reader announced his great love of the NYT, and said he would happily pay to use the paper's online content -- and that he hoped the NYT would survive its current business problems.
"From your mouth to God's ear," was Smith's simple and heartfelt reply.
When we returned to the web feature a few minutes ago, we discovered an odd development; not only were there no new questions for Smith, but that last question-and-answer had been taken down.
What could be the reason for this? Did Smith's reference to God offend someone at the NYT? Did his seeming embrace of a reader's desire to pay for online content -- an ongoing topic of debate at the NYT's highest levels -- seem inappropriate? Did the questioner turn out to a representative of Howard Stern?
We've written to the "Talk To The Newsroom" feature ourselves, asking what happened. By the way, we should mention that we don't possess a photographic memory, so we don't recall the precise words of either the question, or Smith's response. But then again, we never expected the NYT to quietly remove the Q&A as though it never existed.
We'll let you know if we hear anything. As usual, don't hold your breath.