All right, Teri, fair enough -- that does narrow it down a bit.
Rogers's rules transgression -- the Times policy specifically warns reporters to use anonymity only as “a last resort when the story is of compelling public interest and the information is not available any other way” -- comes only two weeks after Public Editor Clark Hoyt blasted the NYT for its continued dependence on anonymity in lifestyle stories.
In Hoyt's piece, NYT standards editor Craig R. Whitney declared: “The bar should be far higher than it is before a reporter puts an anonymous quote in and before an editor lets it stay in.”
Oh, well. Maybe next time.
This time, Rogers interviewed an Upper West Side couple who were considering "gaming" the system to ensure that their child would get into a public school. Rogers justified this compelling disclosure to readers by saying he was remaining anonymous for "obvious reasons."
Obvious to whom? Maybe to Rogers and the editor of the Real Estate section, but not obvious to readers in this context:
A man who lives in the same school zone as Ms. Knafo says he is prepared to do whatever it takes to get his son into a preferred kindergarten.
“I will certainly consider some alternative way to game the system by gaining a different address,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. “This is my child, who is a really smart kid, and he’s not going to my crummy zoned school. That’s just not going to happen.”
When he and his wife bought their $1.6 million six-room apartment a year and a half ago, they had envisioned his alma mater, a prestigious private school, as the place to send their son. . He and his wife both still have jobs and could probably scrape together the tuition. But their financial optimism has dimmed.
“I think it’s all part of the end of the wishful-thinking era, where you just think you’re going to grow into your expenses,” he said. “We’ve had successively bigger mortgages and we say: ‘It’s always a stretch. That’s all right; in a couple of years we’ll have more money.’ But now we’ve had to get a little more real.”Indeed, the boom-inflated price of the real estate they occupy has worsened the situation. “I think of my father, who had three kids in private school when I grew up,” the man said. “His home probably cost him two or three times his income. So there was some money left over for school. But that math doesn’t work anymore. Most people I know own apartments that cost five or six times their income. And most people are spending so much money on their apartments there is nothing left for private schools.”
Did Rogers really need to allow "the man" to remain unidentified so he could wax eloquent on his theories about the "wishful thinking" era? That can't be what Whitney meant by raising the bar.