Saturday, September 23, 2006

New York Times Design Changes Mean Softer News

Under Bill Keller, the New York Times is not the paper it was. And that was only further confirmed this week, when the NYT announced "design changes," that mean, so far as I can understand them, that we are going to get less hard news, in favor of analyses, profiles, appraisals, memos, and so forth.

The strength of the NYT over the years has been that it has been a newspaper of record. It's always had features, but, of late, these features have been taking over. The newspaper also has become too introspective, constantly explaining why it has presented news the way it has. Its "public editor," now, Byron Calame, is at the forefront of such efforts to rationalize what the Times is doing. He is often guilty of misjudgments.

The overall result often is that the Los Angeles Times, while it has cut back its news hole substantially under the Tribune ownership, often does a more straightforward report on a specific story than the NYT. This used not to be a common case, but it is now.

The explanation of the design changes on Page 2 ot the NYT of Wednesday, Sept. 20, was a confusing description of articles under different names, both for the news and opinion sections.

The paper used to be a better news operation. Now, it has become liberalized and flabbier. It hasn't got a successful Pentagon correspondent, despite the fact the country is involved in two wars at once. It has columnists like Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert and Frank Rich who are dreary and predictable. They give us a constant dirge of criticism of the Bush Administration, without making any constructive suggestions for a new policy. The paper has taken to concentrating overly on shortcomings of U.S. anti-terrorist interrogations, which make it seem dubious of the American war effort. It's become like the ACLU.

The paper was liberal under the former executive editor, Howell Raines, but also much more informative. The papers after 9-11 were filled with pertinent information published, for weeks, under a special section. Since Raines was ousted, when he should not have been, it has deteriorated.

The paper now needs a rejuvenation. It might start with a new, harder-nosed publisher, and a new executive editor.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

you clearly know nothing about the New York Times, so your attacks on distinguished editors and writers at the paper of record only show green eyed jealously.

9/24/2006 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous commenter, I would ask: How can one be jealous of something of which one knows nothing? Isn't a working knowledge of the object of envy a requirement in order to be envious of it in the first place?

But, that aside, I think that Ken knows all too much about your "distinguished" (ha!) rag.

9/29/2006 6:01 PM  

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