• June 29, 2017

    Columbia Journalism Review looks at the breakdown of the wall separating news and advertising at the New York Times. In examples that range from Times articles about conferences that don’t mention the paper’s financial interest in them, to weekly meetings between section editors and the advertising department in order to find mutually-beneficial projects, Jeff Gerth explains why some journalists are concerned about the changing culture at the Times. Gerth notes that the publication’s 2014 “innovation report” recommended keeping advertising “walled off” from editorial. “Today, the paper is actively ignoring some of those recommendations,” he writes, “amid increasing signs that one of the last remaining firewalls in journalism is crumbling.”

    Copy editors at the Times have written an open letter asking executive editor Dean Baquet to increase the amount of jobs that will be left after a reorganization of the copy editing department. “We are, as one senior reporter put it, the immune system of this newspaper, the group that protects the institution from profoundly embarrassing errors, not to mention potentially actionable ones,” they write. “We are one of the crucial layers of review that you seem so determined to erase, as the sudden removal of the public editor role shows. We are stewards of The Times, committed to preserving its voice and authority.” Baquet responded with a letter of his own, stating that only one element of copy editing is being eliminated, and that most of the employees will find new work. “After this restructuring, we will continue to invest far more in editing than any of our competitors do,” he writes. “That is because we value meticulous editing.”

    Michael Bond

    Michael Bond, the author of the Paddington Bear series, has died at the age of ninety-one.

    ProPublica examines Facebook’s secret internal rules governing what gets classified as hate speech on the site. On one Facebook training slide, a quiz asks “Which of the below subsets do we protect?” with three options: “Female Drivers,” “Black Children,” or “White Men.” Because of an arcane rule about “subsets,” the correct answer is that only the “white men” category is protected. As Monika Bickert, a global policy manager at Facebook points out, “The policies do not always lead to perfect outcomes.”   

    At Lithub, Victoria Redel recalls working as an assistant to Adrienne Rich in the 1980s: “Among the many gifts of those Wednesdays, I learned a lesson that has served me well: I learned to be careful, especially with efforts done for others.”

    Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz has officially signed on as a contributor at Fox News. His new job will start July 1, one day after he resigns from Congress. At Vanity Fair, Tina Nguyen points out that besides offering a larger paycheck, the new job “will also give Chaffetz the opportunity to finally return to what he did best: make Hillary Clinton’s life a living hell.”

    Tonight at 192 Books in Manhattan, Nicholas Fox Weber will read from and discuss his new book, Freud’s Trip to Orvieto