Sunday, September 26, 2010

Timesman explains move to Huffington Post: "old conventional notions of fairness make it hard to tell readers directly what's going on"

From Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz's Media Notes, headlined Huffington snags N.Y. Times star:
In the latest sign that Web sites can compete on an equal footing with media giants, a top reporter for the New York Times is defecting to the Huffington Post.

Peter Goodman, until recently the paper's national economic correspondent and now a writer for the Sunday business section, has just signed the deal. And his reasoning helps explain why he would leave the high-profile platform of the Times.

"For me it's a chance to write with a point of view," Goodman says in an interview. "It's sort of the age of the columnist. With the dysfunctional political system, old conventional notions of fairness make it hard to tell readers directly what's going on. This is a chance for me to explore solutions in my economic reporting."

Goodman, who spent a decade at The Washington Post before his three years at the Times, says he will still rely on facts and not engage in "ranting." And while he was happy at the newspaper, he says, he found he was engaged in "almost a process of laundering my own views, through the tried-and-true technique of dinging someone at some think tank to say what you want to tell the reader."
(Emphases added)

Sometimes the problem is conventional notions of fairness--consider the not-uncommon frame in Atlantic Yards coverage of "jobs and housing" vs. "scale and traffic" (while ignoring or downplaying the sweetheart deals in the background).

Sometimes it's just lazy reporting, such as the Wall Street Journal's coverage of Forest City Ratner's quest for financing via the EB-5 visa program.

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