After newsroom protests, The New York Times opinion page editor and the top editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer have resigned – Nieman Journalism Lab…

Posted By on June 10, 2020

The editor of The New York Times opinion section, James Bennet, and the top editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Stan Wischnowski, faced crises in their newsrooms over an op-ed and an offensive headline, respectively, last week. Over the weekend, both men resigned.

At the Times, Bennets resignation followed an uproar over an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton that called for an overwhelming show of military force to stop civil unrest.

Publisher A. G. Sulzberger, who had initially defended the decision to publish the op-ed, told Times media reporter Marc Tracy that he and Bennet both concluded that James would not be able to lead the team through the next leg of change that is required.

Sulzberger also noted in a memo to staff that the significant breakdown in our editing processes that led to the Cotton op-ed was not the first weve experienced in recent years. The Times had to issue an apology for an anti-Semitic cartoon last year and faces a defamation lawsuit from Sarah Palin about a passage that Bennet inserted into a 2017 editorial, and has issued corrections and editors notes over fallout from columns by Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist hired by Bennet. (A correction last year, for instance, began: An earlier version of this Bret Stephens column quoted statistics from a 2005 paper that advanced a genetic hypothesis for the basis of intelligence among Ashkenazi Jews. After publication Mr. Stephens and his editors learned that one of the papers authors, who died in 2016, promoted racist views.)

A lot of (digital) ink was spilled over the shakeups, especially the Times decision to cut ties with Bennet, who was seen as a possible successor to executive editor Dean Baquet.

Back in 2017, when she was the managing editor for digital at The Boston Globe, we published Kingsburys account of the traditional wall between The Boston Globes newsroom and opinion section coming down for stark, furious coverage of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Youre taught in Journalism 101 some fundamental tenets: Be accurate; be fair; dont make yourself the story. By these measures, maybe Make It Stop had crossed some lines, had gone too far. Maybe.

But there are other responsibilities that we as journalists hold dear: Be a voice for the voiceless. Tell essential truths. Hold the powerful accountable.

Marty Kaiser, the former editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, often talks about how, at the end of the day, even journalism organizations must have thresholds to allow for moral outrage. For the Boston Globe, that threshold was a group of young people at a nightclub, enjoying themselves, being mowed down in cold blood.

We cannot shrug our obligation to call out these atrocities as ones our community and our news organizations will not abide.

See the article here:

After newsroom protests, The New York Times opinion page editor and the top editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer have resigned - Nieman Journalism Lab...

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