I don’t know what to call this other than annoying and dishonest. I read Maureen Dowd’s latest piece in the NYTimes two days ago, thought it was good, thought she was working the New Hampshire beat. Spefically the small hamlet of Derry.
No. Turns out a couple of her little under-roos worked the beat. She was in, of all places, Jerusalem. Even though the dateline reads Derry, N.H.
What’s a “dateline” you ask?
A dateline is a short piece of text included in news articles that describes where and when the story was written or filed, though the date is often omitted. …Datelines are traditionally placed on the first line of the text of the article, before the first sentence. Source: en.wikipedia.org
What’s the big deal you ask?
I expect more than this from both the NYTimes and Ms. Dowd. If I write something implying I was at a race, that means I was there. Otherwise, I have someone else talk about it or I rely it third person.
TPM has a much better (as per usual) write up than the likes of me could ever put to paper.
It appears to be standard practice at The Times. Columnists have assistants who do reporting for them but don’t get any credit. Life is good if you’re a top-shelf political columnist.
Dowd did spend some time in New Hampshire, it turns out. Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis confirmed to me that Dowd had gone to Jerusalem, noting that Dowd had been in New Hampshire before heading abroad. What about that “Derry, N.H.” dateline? Not an issue, Mathis says. Times dateline policy dictates that the reporter spend some time in the place identified, and doesn’t require the reporter to be there all the time or file the piece from that location.
The thing is, anyone reading this piece would assume that Dowd had hoofed it to the victory party to lament Hillary’s victory firsthand. Instead, she was apparently filing this New Hampshire-datelined piece from Jerusalem. Times policy may say this is okay, but it seems like a bit more clarity couldn’t hurt — if only because it would prevent folks from thinking Dowd was at the party and had done the work of talking to the voters she quoted, when neither of these things apparently happened.
“If she was in Jerusalem, and the dateline says New Hampshire and there’s local color from New Hampshire, there’s an issue,” journalism prof Jay Rosen told me. “There may not be any violation, but it’s fair to ask questions about these kinds of practices.”
Why not stick around for the whole story? And anyway, even if there’s more pressing news that demanded her attention, a campaign piece datelined Jerusalem would not have lacked for dash and flair.
Read more: www.talkingpointsmemo.comby