Friday, November 13, 2009

NYT's David ("Not A Reporter") Pogue Gets A New Title. From Now On, Please Refer To Him As "New York Times Visionary."

Readers may remember the media kerfuffle a few months back, when NYT technology columnist David Pogue told an interviewer that he was "not a reporter" and declared in exasperation: "Since when have I ever billed myself as a journalist?"

Well, how about this for billing? In the online brochure for the Kids@Play summit at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next January -- where Pogue will be speaking -- Pogue's bio offers up a new official title:

"David Pogue, technology columnist, New York Times visionary."

This is presented not as marketing hype, but in the official listing of titles and bios for the event's speakers. It appears alongside other official titles, such as" Warren Buckleitner, Editor, Children's Technology Review" and "Jim Gray, Ed.D., Director of Learning, LeapFrog Enterprises."

In Pogue's case, the new title is followed by his official bio, reprinted word-for-word from his website.

Which raises the question: is this a new title that Pogue has bestowed on himself? Will it officially replace "reporter" and "journalist" on his NYT business card? Either way, it must be a comfort to NYT editors to have a official visionary in the building. Not that he ever drops by, of course.

[UPDATE: We received a statement Friday afternoon, in the form of a posted comment, from Robin Raskin, the creator of the kids@play event whose brochure identified Pogue as a "visionary."

"Not to bore you with the details, but the mistake was totally on our side of the fence," Raskin wrote. "David's name/bio and the word visionary came from an overzealous intern."

Before that we had received an email from Pogue about it. He described "visionary" as "definitely not a title I would ever use for myself." Pogue's email blamed the mistaken title on the organizer of the panel he was to appear. He named the organizer and suggested we contact him. But since the "overzealous intern" explanation comes from the event's creator, we'll accept that as the official version of what happened.

By the way, a note to commenters: Relax! We like David Pogue. We think he's funny and good at what he does. Our post doesn't accuse Pogue of wrongdoing, or attack him in any way. We made it clear that we didn't know if Pogue had been involved in the "visionary" thing or not. We were only reporting on the existence of the brochure, which was readily available on the Internet.]

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

maybe mr. visionary can come up with a way for the times to achieve continued profitability.

Roberto said...

Best card in my Rolodex, picked up in Moscow shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union: Leonid N_________, whose title was ... Expert.

Anonymous said...

You think that's bad, check out Nick Bilton:

Design Integration Editor and User Interface Specialist

I learned a long time ago that job title doesn't mean jack for most people and usually comes loaded with pretension.

Anonymous said...

everyone seems to be a specialist nowadays.

robin@robinraskin.com said...

Hi. I'm the creator of Kids@Play. Not to bore you with the details, but the mistake was totally on our side of the fence. David's name/bio and the word visionary came from an overzealous intern.
Sorry that we gave you something to talk about.
Robin Raskin
www.kidsatplaysummit.com

Anonymous said...

"...an overzealous intern..."

Yeah, right! Thank god for the unpaid, anonymous interns who can bear the blame for someone else's screw-ups.

Pogue and Pals sure are fun to take potshots at. They're so cute when they're waxing all Teflon defensive!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you post David's reply? Seems a bit unfair to take shots and not post the rebuttal.

meatbrain said...

NYTPick.com is staffed by cowards. Pass the word.

Anonymous said...

a columnist is someone who writes a column in a paper - usually based on expertise in a specific area. It's a long-standing term. A reporter is someone who investigates a story and reports what they found as assigned by an editor or publisher. As for visionary, that's an opinion that Marketing people throw around for you.

THE NYTPICKER said...

We've just posted a full update to the item.

Anonymous said...

Then why don't you let him post his response?

"Nytpick.com posts an attack on me--then refuses to post my reply. For shame! If you can't stand the heat, don't permit comments!"

http://twitter.com/Pogue/

j_hallgren said...

And where is there any proof whatsoever that David himself created or requested that billing? You don't have that and besides, it's not the NYT itself but an outside event so why do you even care? Isn't this blog supposed to be about NYT only?

Also, based on his tweet, it seems you don't want him to reply. That's not allowing the full story to be told. Shame on you!

bigshotprof said...

Strikes me that an update completely invalidating the original post should be posted above the original, not after it--or better yet as a complete retraction of the original, since you erroneously inferred that because the content of his bio was word-for-word from him so must have been the "honorific." Of course as is usually the case with people who dedicate their energies solely to finding fault with others, you would not bother live up to the same standards you demand from your target.

Anonymous said...

"As is usually the case with people who dedicate their energies solely to finding fault with others, you would not bother live up to the same standards you demand from your target."

Well said, bigshotprof. Seconded.

Josh said...

Concur with bigshotprof. I'm some kind of bewildered that this site has even close to the kind of chutzpah necessary to claim to have been "reporting on" anything. You were speculating on whether or not David Pogue had "bestowed upon himself" the title of NYT visionary.

For a site that seems to really want to play up how NYT (a paper that I have zero investment in whatsoever) reporting is lacking something, you kids sure seem to have a loose definition of the word.

Maggie Dwyer said...

With everything going on in the world, what was it about David Pogue labeled as "visionary" that chapped you enough to bump this to the top of the jeremiad list?

How about doing the math before launching into the blog post? If Pogue's text is copied word for word except that the word "visionary" was added, that seems a simple thing to work out. And dismiss.

Anonymous said...

This blog is a John Stewart/Daily Show wannabe but you will never be as entertaining as their ongoing skewering of Faux News.

I am pleased to see you at your best/worst with this expose of David Pogue, pinko commie high tech visionaire. I do not need to visit this site again.

Thanks for the memory,
Tinker

Anonymous said...

These Pogue defenders are a thin-skinned bunch. Didn't seem like that tough an item to me.

Anonymous said...

Douché, Anomymous!

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? Do you really think that Pogue or anyone for that matter gets to pick their own title at the NY Times? Yeah, that's the way it works.

Get over it people. It's The New York Times, there's a committees of people deciding peoples titles, not just random tech reporters deciding to call them X or Y. Maybe you should pick a fight with the powers that be rather than the people who are just doing their jobs.

DavidNYC said...

Very surprised at the manner in which this post was updated. It wound up being completely wrong. It therefore merits a correction at the top, and an update to the title.

Anonymous said...

How gutless. You labor to find grounds to criticize, and when it turns out the attack was completely baseless, you don't have the balls to withdraw the item and apologize. Get a spine.