Tuesday, May 10, 2005

All the News That's Fit to Print and More

If you missed it, yesterday's New York Times reported on some additional steps the paper was taking to help restore its credibility with readers. The Times story can be found here (you need to register first, if you haven't already) http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/09/business/media/09paper.html.

Personally, I still find the Times highly credible (despite the recent scandals), but I applaud their effort. Here are some of the initiatives the Times will be putting in place:

  • Make reporters and editors more accessible to readers (on our side of the fence perhaps we need to be more accessible to them as well)
  • Use fewer anonymous sources
  • Consider the creation of a New York Times blog (I presume written by the ombudsman, but they don't say in the report)
  • Confirming accuracy of stories with sources and seeking feedback on stories.

But something else in the list really got my attention, and if you're a practitioner it should grab your attention, as well. The Times says they plan to post on their web site transcripts from interviews used in the writing of stories. They also will provide links to source material. It's not clear if that will apply to all stories or only to investigative or controversial pieces, but it's a hell of a step forward in transparency. So next time the Times conducts an in-depth interview with your client be prepared for the possibility that the whole conversation can appear online. If we're doing our jobs the right way that can be a very good thing. What do you think?