In case you missed it---The Washington Post finds no concerns with the work done by Kendra Marr over her two years with the paper. The Post undertook the review after Marr’s bosses at Politico last week revealed that she had borrowed from the works of others.
So where does that leave the story? That’s a question for Politico. Though the Web site disclosed seven stories in which Marr had violated Politico’s journalistic standards, it’s not clear just how much of her archival work is getting vetted. Regret the Error’s Craig Silverman tilted at this issue in a recent column, saying that more accountability, more details are needed here.
Silverman takes particular aim at Politico’s position that its editor’s note disposes of the issue:
“I’m going to let the release speak for itself,” they tell journalists.
Not acceptable. We in the press would push for answers. Politico would push for answers.
This is no different. If we won’t be accountable for our failings and worst moments, then we lose the legitimacy to demand accountability from others.
●Columns from ombudpeople, I’ve been conditioned to conclude, should be about 600-800 words; they should lay out the allegations against a news outlet; and they should take a quick position on the matter, then go home.
With this piece, Edward Schumacher-Matos blows up all such conditioning. The NPR ombudsman addresses whether NPR has been unfair or biased in any way in its coverage of the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal. He notes charges by Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, who wrote, “Unsurprisingly, Fox-hating National Public Radio has eagerly embraced” the phone-hacking scandal.
He also takes account of a piece by Mike Gonzalez in the National Review:
NPR’s media reporter, David Folkenflik, was dispatched to London posthaste and is treating this story as the second coming of Watergate. Murdoch, like Nixon, must roll. So dizzy has NPR been that they gave full airing to what we now know was a false Reuters report on how News Corp. does not pay taxes.
Schumacher-Matos moves on to blast all these arguments, clearing NPR of any misconduct, tilt, slant, bias or lurch in its coverage. Even though it takes him 9 million words to accomplish the task.
Gotta say, though: Busting out Graham and Gonzalez in this case is a fish-in-a-barrel exercise. As for Graham’s slam that NPR has “embraced” the story: What outlet on earth didn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t? As I’ve written before, the stretch of July spanning the revelation of the Milly Dowler phone hacking through the Murdochs’ testimony before Parliament was one of the great news mushrooms of our time. Every day there was hard news to latch onto, be it an arrest of a big-deal News Corp. operative, the announcement of some investigation, or the revelation that someone new may have been hacked. The real scandal would have been failing to “embrace” the story.
As for the Folkenflik-to-London critique, that allegation marks a low point in the back and forth over media conduct. Like the act of traveling and moving quickly to report a story serves as a component of bias. Be nice if we could move back to a place where the journalism determines how the journalism gets evaluated.
●Number of people paying for digital subs for the Times (U.K) jumped by 10 percent over the past three months, to 110,000 subscribers.
The figures, released by News International, confirm that the rate of growth in new subscribers is slowing and now stands at 3,000 a month compared with 7,000 a month the previous period the company reported which was for the four months to July.
When the Times launched its high-risk pay-wall strategy 15 months ago, industry opinion was divided on its chance of success. Many thought it would fail to attract subscribers to general news, which is so widely available elsewhere on the internet for free.
More good news on the pay-for-journalism front comes from the stateside Times, which reports a spike in “unique users” even though the paper introduced a paywall. That news comes from Jim Roberts, the paper’s assistant managing editor for digital, at the World Editors Forum in Vienna.
“I really worried that we’d lose a lot of our younger readers who we had really aggressively courted with a bunch of innovative ideas, social media use, etc. I worried deeply they would flee, worried there would be an impact on our advertisers, if our readership shrank.
“Well I’m here to tell you I was wrong. The good news for the New York Times is that while it is still very early in our experiment, it has been largely good, I even think I can say it has been successful.”
In relation to traffic in particular he said worries within the newsroom “were greatly exaggerated”.
●Salon does a thoughtful and thorough investigation of why The Post used a photo of a man apparently tackling a police officer during the Occupy Wall Street protests. Turns out the guy could have been merely falling and not trying to take down the officer.
●Philadelphia Daily News columnist takes some heat for fondness for Media Matters.