The Atlantic is using a company called NowThis News, and it’s a bunch of young kids and it’s real snappy and clever and fast-paced and quick. And it’s interesting. It’s along the lines of Huffington Post — very young. But you think about that for The New York Times, and that doesn’t feel right for us. We want to be quick and clever and interesting, but how do we do it in a way that leans into the web without being disrespectful to our audience?
‘Newtown forced us to ask ourselves some questions and tighten up our practices,’ Ian Fisher, the assistant managing editor in charge of the newsroom’s digital report, told me. Mr. Fisher said there would be more reluctance to attribute an important fact to other media organizations, as The Times did when it identified Ryan Lanza as the gunman instead of his brother.
In addition, he said, breaking stories may include ‘cautionary language’ that clearly tells the reader that some facts aren’t yet known. In addition, a more streamlined editing process should reduce the internal confusion that resulted in what Mr. Fisher called ‘some self-inflicted wounds.’ In short, he said, ‘We took it very seriously.’
When I first got here and was watching the page one meeting, I’d watch them decide what were going to be the six most important stories in the western world for the following day’s paper. Meanwhile the web’s above their heads, where all stories are becoming interchangeable. I thought, ‘Oh, this is so silly to blow a whistle and say, “Stop! These are the stories worth your attention.’”
But now that I’m bathed in information every single day and stuff is wooshing by me, I kind of love the full-stop arrangement of stories on The New York Times. A lot of times I wake up and think about the day that’s just passed and wonder, ‘What was that? What happened?’ A lot of stuff, and I can’t really tell which part of it was important.
Anthony died as he lived — determined to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East and to testify to the suffering of people caught between government oppression and opposition forces. He has spent much of his storied career chronicling the Mideast; his empathy for its citizens’ struggles and his deep understanding of their culture and history set his writing apart. He was their poet and their champion. His work will stand as a testament.
The total customer experience here is haphazard at best, and, at worst — I hate to say this because I am still friendly with many people at the company, but in truth there’s no way around it — it’s insulting. It shows a certain amount of disrespect to customers for a company to choose not to present a full accounting of available offers, displayed plainly and in an easy-to-compare chart, so that anyone can fully understand all of the options and decide quickly.
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