Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How the New York Times and the Press Serviced Client No. 9

This is have to read the whole thing. The NYT is the one who broke the Spitzer story, but the Spitzer camp is the one who dictated how it would be done. The NYT asked their permission or got their approval before they published anything.


The e-mails total 1,300 pages, and we're still reading through the stack of paper. Any other interesting finds will be going up in subsequent posts. But what we've seen so far has been surprising: You'd think that, with blood in the water, the traditional coziness that develops between official flacks and the beat reporters who have to talk to them every day would break down into some kind of last-man-standing slugfest. But in the Spitzer case, the opposite happened. The revelations upended the worlds of both reporter and flack alike, and the uncertainty, long hours, and breakneck pace of the scandal actually seemed to throw them together as they worked toward what seems, if you read the e-mail exchanges, like a common goal of getting the news out and behind them.

This first installment documents the shocking amount of control that Keller's Times allowed Anderson, a former Good Morning America producer and PR veteran of the Clinton White House, to exercise over his paper's coverage. After bringing Anderson's world down around her head by breaking the story, Times reporters previewed portions of their stories with her before publication, asked for her permission before contacting sources, and let her tell them how to characterize its reporting in the paper.

No comments: