DC Trawler

NYT reporter tells the truth about his boss

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What a silly goose! Nick Denton’s Internet Tendency Gawker has the details:

A few weeks ago, New York Times science and health reporter Don McNeil sent out a scathing email to colleagues attacking Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. for piloting a “ghost ship” and running off to the Himalayas with a management guru while the paper founders.

The email, sent out to roughly 150 Times reporters and editors in the midst of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the paper’s management, lays out the case that Sulzberger—a scion who inherited his role as publisher from his father—is an easily distracted dilettante who’s more interested in trendy leadership “philosophies” than newspapering…

“So where is Arthur these days? At the small dinners he is having with staff, he offered an answer: He has found a new management guru, Michael Useem. And he is going trekking with Mr. Useem in the Himalayas soon…. A Nepal trek is very Arthur, since he’s a rock climber and Outward Bound tripper…. But to learn leadership? Shouldn’t a 60-year-old corporate chairman already know whether he’s a leader or not? Shouldn’t that have been decided by age 35 or so? And a trek now? In mid-crisis? We put out a great newspaper every day. But outside the newsroom, at the corporate level, we’re sailing on a ghost ship.”

Considering McNeil’s candor, we can probably overlook the fib about “putting out a great newspaper.” Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to say all that in a staff e-mail, but it’s good to see somebody at the NYT direct some of that “1% vs. 99%” rhetoric back inside the building. Wonder how Pinch will reward him for his honesty?