Monday, June 27, 2011

Atlantic Yards down the memory hole: Times web site erases attribution to Public Editor Byron Calame's call for the paper's full disclosure of ties to Ratner

Yesterday, New York Times Public Editor Arthur S. Brisbane devoted his column, On NYTimes.com, Now You See It, Now You Don’t, to the vexing question of how to track and manage the many changes and periodic corrections in regularly updated digital news.

His conclusion:
My preference would be that The Times do more to document and retain significant changes and corrections like those I have described.

...I realize there are other priorities. But more attention to this issue would bring two clear benefits. First, The Times could offer more transparency to its readers and stem the erosion of trust that occurs when readers don’t understand mysterious content changes. Second, by more carefully retaining important published material, including all corrections, The Times could reinforce to its staff the importance of accuracy and full disclosure when errors happen.
The problem, it seems, is worse than even Brisbane thinks, since it applies to the Times's inability to properly attribute work to a succession of Public Editors.

The Times and Bruce Ratner: need for disclosure


On 6/29/05, then Public Editor Byron Calame, in a blog post headlined Full Disclosure of Ties with Bruce Ratner, made in important point:
The New York Times, I believe, has an obligation to alert readers when they are reading substantive articles about a company or individual with whom the newspaper has some business or professional relationship.

This obligation wasn’t fulfilled Sunday when the chatty “Questions for Bruce Ratner” in The New York Times Magazine failed to mention that the real estate developer and the parent company of this newspaper are partners in the construction of the The Times’s new headquarters in Manhattan.
However, the Times's content management system now attributes all Public Editor blog posts to the current occupant of the seat, so an unsuspecting reader likely would credit Brisbane with the insight. (Brisbane's separate bio, off to the side, indicates he began work in August 2010.)

(Click on graphics to enlarge)


A look at the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, which crawled the page in December 2008, attributes the blog post to Calame's successor, Clark Hoyt.

No comments:

Post a Comment