True Confessions of The New York Times

Abstract
On the morning of May 26, 2004, New York Times readers found a note from the paper’s editors on Page A10. The headline read “From the Editors—The Times and Iraq,” and the 1,000-word article that followed served as a disclosure that the Times had failed in its duty of both aggressive information gathering and careful reporting with a critical eye. Response to the note was fast and widespread as newspeople across the country commented on the paper’s public admission of its flawed coverage. The editors’ note, together with the responses it generated, provides a glimpse into the state of American journalism and the way those enmeshed in it understand and expect the practice to operate. Beyond serving a descriptive purpose, however, the texts can be used to start a discourse in the normative realm, to offer suggestions for how our understanding of journalism perhaps ought to change to better reflect the reality of what is truly a human institution. This paper provides both a descriptive and normative analysis of themes that emerge from the case, and it prompts both journalists and citizens to reflect on the practice and then continue moving forward through a landscape in constant flux
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