June 28, 2005


PDF: Assuring Our Credibility: Bill Keller has responded to the Credibility Committee's report with a variety of measures. (Bill Keller, June 23, 2005, NY Times)

Even sophisticated readers of The New York Times sometimes find it hard to distinguish between news coverage and commentary in our pages. While The Times is and always will be a forum for opinion and argument as well as a source of impartial news coverage, we should make the distinction as clear as possible. [...]

Of course, diversifying the range of viewpoints reported — and understood — in our pages is not mainly a matter of hiring a more diverse work force. It calls for a concerted effort by all of us to stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation, to cover the full range of our national conversation. This is second nature for many of our reporters, especially on the national staff, and there have been some exceptional successes — the coverage of conservatives by David Kirkpatrick (including the splendid piece on evangelicals in the class series) and Jason DeParle, and a number of recent Magazine pieces. I intend to keep pushing us in this direction.

I also endorse the committee’s recommendation that we cover religion more extensively, but I think the key to that is not to add more reporters who will write about religion as a beat. I think the key is to be more alert to the role religion plays in many stories we cover, stories of politics and policy, national and local, stories of social trends and family life, stories of how we live. This is important to us not because we want to appease believers or pander to conservatives, but because good journalism entails understanding more than just the neighborhood you grew up in.

This is not the end of the conversation. But it is, you will be relieved to learn, the end of this manifesto.

Bill Keller

It's odd; Bill Keller has written most of the few insightful words the Times has run about George W. Bush -- especially Reagan's Son (BILL KELLER, January 26, 2003, NY Times) and God and George W. Bush (Bill Keller, NY Times, 5/17/2003) -- but seems to have no idea how to cover conservatism or religion generally. David Kirkpatrick's pieces lend themselves so easily to caricature that he's considered a joke.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2005 11:11 PM

The whole idea of a credibility committe has been ridiculed fairly effectively across the blogosphere.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 29, 2005 12:51 AM

NYT and credibility? Isn't that like matter and anti-matter?

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 29, 2005 6:12 AM