Accuracy in Media

The New York Times is expanding its standards department, according to a memo written by executive editor Dean Baquet, managing editor Joe Kahn and editorial page editor James Bennet.

The memo reads as follows:

Today we’re taking the next step by merging the Reader Center’s mission into a significantly larger and more empowered Standards department. This investment will take a standards operation that is already one of the largest in journalism and roughly triple its size.

Standards already plays an important role in setting guidelines for our journalism, training journalists, weighing in on ethics, fairness and style before publication and addressing any issues or concerns after publication. The department will now review significantly more stories before publication; provide greater oversight and consultation in areas beyond traditional articles, including social media, audio, video, TV and newsletters; substantially expand training; and update and expand our stylebook and Ethical Journalism handbook.

According to the memo Phil Corbett, the standards editor will now also oversee the opinion department and the newsroom and will work to maintain standards of “accuracy, fairness and integrity” in both departments. Up to know as at most newspapers these departments have been separated at the Times.  The memo said the change would actually help the paper  maintain a “strict separation between our news and opinion journalism.”

The Times says that this move will also make the paper more public-facing, but they have been making changes since 2017 when they eliminated the public editor position to shield themselves from public interaction and this latest move appears to follow the same pattern.

 




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