Friday, October 1, 2010

Huh? Executive Editor Bill Keller Quotes Anonymous Source In Announcing New NYT Magazine Editor.

"Casual reliance on unnamed sources...corrodes our credibility and, in cases that are rare but not rare enough, may abet journalistic malpractice."

--Bill Keller, NYT Executive Editor, "Talk To The Newsroom," January 30, 2009

Reprinted below is the full text of Keller's email to NYT staff announcing the appointment of Hugo Lindgren as the new editor of the NYT Magazine -- which, for no apparent reason, quotes an anonymous source praising Keller's choice for the job.

To the Staff:

Our search for the next editor of The New York Times Magazine has taken us to some of the masters of the genre and introduced us to some exciting dark horses. We have considered strong candidates within the paper and without, and enjoyed much discussion of what this journalistic treasure should be in its next incarnation. I'm quite delighted to report that the search ends now with Hugo Lindgren - a gifted editor who has helped breathe new life into two magazines and is fully ready to run his own.

It is something of a homecoming. Hugo worked at our magazine, helping invent "The Way We Live Now" franchise. He was lured away by Adam Moss when Adam moved to New York magazine. In March he assumed the executive editor job at Business Week after that troubled book was bought by Bloomberg and began a revival. He has written (extremely well) about business, architecture and pop music.

Hugo, who is 42, grew up in Manhattan, attended Trinity and Duke, and lives here with his wife, the writer Sarah Bernard, and their twin daughters.

"He's very smart, wildly creative and charismatic," says one editor who has worked closely with him. "People like him and want to do their best work for him. He just has a great magazine head."

The search took longer than I anticipated because there were so many credible candidates, but I could not be happier about the outcome.

Hugo will move in October 25.

I want to particularly thank Gerry Marzorati for keeping the magazine on form during our successor search while simultaneously taking up his new role as the newsroom's master entrepreneur and, not incidentally, blogging the U.S. Open. This Sunday's issue, with the cover on Glenn Beck, is a reminder that Gerry will be a hard act to follow. And my gratitude extends to Alex Star and the rest of the magazine staff for their energy, devotion, high standards and patience during this protracted process.

Best, Bill


Anonymous said...

To insert a quote like that in an announcement is ridiculous, anonymous or not. Does Keller have so little faith in his own opinion that he has to find someone else to corroborate it?

Anonymous said...

Please, no more stories by Daphne Merkin about her depression.

Anonymous said...

The always-anonymous NYTpicker has a great sense of irony.

Anonymous said...

Not to defend NYTPicker, because I think they should admit (proudly) who they are intead of being anonymous. But there's a difference between an anonymous blog and a newspaper quoting anonymous sources.

To "Anonymous" @8:55, the irony would be if NYTPicker quoted or based its stories on anonymous sources. Which they don't seem to do very often.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is a "great magazine head"?

Anonymous said...

Also, #3, there's a distinction between anonymity for people worried that attribution might get them fired and anonymity for somebody complimenting a coworker.

Anonymous said...

Don't know about the NYTpickers' motives for remaining anonymity but doubt it has to do with pride or lack thereof, or even fear of getting fired. It might have to do with not being naive about the lengths to which a few would go to shut voices that hold the Press to its own standards.

The few and their goon squad. What kind of world do they want?

Anonymous said...

Please no future stories glam rocking closet pedophiles and pharma chic.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh.... the real irony here is that every single commenter so far is "Anonymous" ... hmmm.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of a dialogue in an episode of Doctor Who.

Andred: But you have access to the greatest source of knowledge in the universe!

The Doctor: Well, yes, I do talk to myself.

Perhaps Mr. K put in anonymous because he didn't want everyone to get into a fight over whether he's sublime or just perfect.

Anonymous said...

As to: "Ahhh.... the real irony here is that every single commenter so far is "Anonymous" ... hmmm."

The quickest way to lose a job in journalism -- or in a lot of other fields -- is to open your goddamn mouth and speak honestly (not in a hate-filled lunatic manner, but in a manner that is anything other than ass-kissingly obsequious).

I NEVER comment anymore on anything if my name could be determined.

Christopher Gray said...

"The quickest way to lose a job in journalism -- or in a lot of other fields -- is to open your goddamn mouth and speak honestly...."

As someone once said, "If all the commenters on this blog had signed the Declaration of Independence, there would have been enough room at the bottom for the Treaty of Paris."

Christopher Gray

Anonymous said...

Umm, maybe I'm missing something, but since when do the standards for journalism apply to internal company emails?

Anonymous said...

NY Times "internal company e-mails" have a habit of becoming public.

Your Mother said...

but he was saying that anonymity in journalism is the problem... this wasn't journalism, it was an email to his staff. uhhh... you often do some fine work, this, meh.

Anonymous said...

Insecurity breeds insecurity, he's spreading his anxiety like syphilis with insecure internal memos and the citing of unnamed references.

Anonymous said...

The publication of an internal-and perhaps intended as confidential-corporate communication should be taken severely in the context of professional misconduct. Without solid proof of the personal identity of the suspect of the regular leaks, the illegal financial transaction that took place between the NYObserver and the suspect is meaningless, even though it clearly doesn't jibe with business common sense. But business trumps formality, and if employee(s) wÏll be fired for substandard performance then the leaks might continue to irritate.