Ed Driscoll

Great Moments in Self-Awareness

“It is not my fear that newspapers will die,” Dean Baquet, managing editor of the New York Times tells students at Sandusky U Penn State. “My only fear is that the craft of witnessing and reporting on the truth will die.”

Dean Baquet, Pulitzer Prize winner and managing editor of The New York Times, spoke at the HUB-Robeson Center last night about the changing world of journalism as part of the Foster-Foreman Conference of Distinguished Writers.

Baquet spoke about how journalism is transforming and what effect the changes will have on young journalists.

“The web has been a transformation for journalism and I think multimedia is creating a new way to experience journalism,” he said. “The speed of the web has confronted new organizations with big decisions that we’ve never had to confront before and it’s exciting.”

The development of the Internet has presented a new range of important decisions that need to be made, but the tools that young journalists will learn from making these decisions will be worth it, he added.

While the Internet has proven to be beneficial in many ways for journalism, there are also some consequences, Baquet said.

“It is not my fear that newspapers will die,” he said. “My only fear is that the craft of witnessing and reporting on the truth will die.”

You and me both, brother. So, how’s that “reporting on the truth” stuff working out for old media? Let’s review a random sampling of headlines we’ve spotted here over the past few years:

“Politico to Media: Ignore ObamaCare Launch Problems.”

Big Journalism, September 28th, 2013

“Climate Change: Get Over Objectivity, Newspapers.”

— Column in liberal MSM industry house organ Editor & Publisher in 2007.

● “‘So AP, you #StandWithWendy?’ Associated Press takes sides in Texas abortion debate.”

— Twitchy.com, July 13, 2013.

“Did New York Times Scrub ‘War On Coal’ Quote By Obama Advisor?

— Ed Driscoll.com (aka, us) June 25th, 2013.

● “Environmentalists to news networks: cover climate change more, skeptics less:”

— The Daily Caller, April, 2013.

● “Just a ‘local crime’ story: Floodgates open on demand for Gosnell mass murder trial coverage.”

— Twitchy, April, 2013

“CNN Celebrates Obama Stimulus With a Birthday Cake.”

— Newsbusters, February of 2010.

“We Are All Socialists Now.”

— Newsweek cover headline, February of 2009.

NYT Columnist Tells Romney, ‘Stick That in Your Magic Underwear.’

— Ed Driscoll.com, February 24, 2012.

And of course, this classic moment from the bridge of the Times itself, which contained more than a Pinch of Orwell:

The web is abuzz after a quote from the New York Times’s future executive editor, Jill Abramson, in a Times news story on her appointment was missing in an updated version of the piece.

Abramson was quoted by Jeremy Peters on Thursday as saying “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.” In later versions published online, the quote had been removed. A spokeswoman for the Times said the quote was removed for “space” and after new quotes were added to the story.

POLITICO used the quote in a news story on Thursday as did Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto. Blogger Ann Althouse notes that all the publications that linked to the story, and used the quote, were in left in a bind — having excerpted a quote from a story that no longer contained it.

—”NYT quote removal sparks web buzz,” the Politico, June 3rd, 2011.

Old media witnessing and reporting on the truth? I think it would be a very good idea, to paraphrase Gandhi.

Or at least to paraphrase whichever blogger I read who recently paraphrased Gandhi. (Not something I frequently do, for obvious reasons.)

Related: “We Are Googling The New York Times To Death,” Megan McArdle writes. “Couldn’t happen to a nicer biased publication,” Glenn Reynolds insta-quips in response.

McArdle’s column appears at Bloomberg.com, a Website that itself often has issues reporting on the truth. “Unexpectedly,” of course.