Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Notes on Felicity Barringer (New York Times) replies to the May 15th article

I wanted to make a few comments on "Felicity Barringer (New York Times) replies to the May 15th article."

I'm not going to refute her, I had my say, she had her say.

She may be right and I may be wrong.

Regardless, she has every right to weigh in.

When Dallas phoned me today about Barringer giving her permission to be quoted, I called two friends who are former Times employees. Ideally, I would have preferred to run Barringer's comments with "Felicity Barringer responds . . ." in one statement and then let her have her say.
But we have noted that reporters currently working for the Times have written prior. Some of those reporters have stated that they are not responsible for what appeared in print bearing their byline. They feel that what they wrote was altered, changed or, in one person's words, "slaughtered." Because of that, we do try to note here that a byline does not mean the work appears at the person credited wrote it or intended it.

In addition, we have noted that some who e-mail to complain are happy to pass on gossip about co-workers. (We haven't passed on any of that gossip here.)

Daniel Okrent wasn't the only one from the Times who has read entries posted here. And a friend at the Times has advised that "Who's been leaking?" is a question raised in regard to this community.

When speaking to two friends this evening, who had worked for the Times, I was attempting to figure out what needed to be stated, if anything, to make sure Barringer did not get fingered at the Times as a "leaker."

For Barringer, and only for Barringer, it's been noted that what is posted is the one and only time she's contacted this site. (Even her permission went through Dallas.) I will not note that in the future. Doing so could lead to past e-mailers being outed or zeroed in on.

It was important to note it for Barringer because no other reporter has been willing to be named or quoted. (That's not complaining on my part. And Times reporters can continue to respond in private e-mails as often as they feel the need.)

Should any other Times reporter elect to share something on the record with the community, we will not note if they've written before or not. That's really not the business of the Times. But with Barringer being the only one to have gone on record, it was felt that if a note was not added prior to her comments, she could be blamed for the actions of others.

One friend offered that there was always at least one lackey that you could count on to go running off with a print up of Barringer's remarks and say, "It's her!" Both agreed that a statement had to be added prior to the entry because a lackey is not going to provide another entry with Barringer's. So should the entry be printed and carried to upper management, it needed to state that Barringer had never written prior (or since).

Such a note will not occur again should any Times reporter elect to share their comments with the community. But since she was willing to go on record, she shouldn't have to suffer fall out for what others had written before her.

I had assumed she wouldn't weigh in so I'd tried to respond to her via the interview with Beth. (I've done that before but no reporter has ever been e-mailed a link to such a post prior to Barringer.) Had I known she would be willing to go on record, I wouldn't have done that. I had my say here, she's had her say. (And if she wants her say again, she's welcome to have it.)

There were no edits in her remarks (she gave permission for the full entry to be posted). The only time edits would occur is in the case of the words such as "f**k" being typed out by the sender in full. As noted many times prior, a friend got written up for going to a site and reading something with the f-word in it. (A Washington Post article on Dick Cheney's use of the word.)
We don't use the f-word or the s-word (rhymes with it) here. That's not a reflection of my language which is quite frank. And we don't supervise the entries linked to here. But if someone pulls this site up at work, they shouldn't have to worry about a write up.

For that reason, it is the policy to edit those words when quoting someone.

Whether you agree with her or not, she made a point to share with the community and I hope that will be appreciated.

She won't get preferential treatment as a result (nor, I'm sure, does she expect it). She shared what she thought. Not to slam others who have had their reasons for not sharing with the community; however, it should be noted that she went on the record.

Her words stand as her words. I'm not going to weigh in on them. If members wish to, I hope they will realize that she chose to enter this community and treat her as respectfully as she did the community in responding to her comments. (Her comments. If you see an article by her that you want to complain about or praise, by all means do so however you desire. But in terms of anyone who wishes to respond to what she's stated here, please attempt to treat her as you would a guest at your own home. She wasn't paid for weighing in nor did any member have to pay to read her comments.)

I'll say thank you to her for sharing. And note one more time, this isn't a slam on anyone who has elected not to share. I do realize that their are guidelines you operate under as an employee of the Times. And, as I've noted many times prior, you don't have to choose your words carefully when replying in private. Say what you want in whatever language you like.

Should there be another person wishing to go on the record (or should Barringer wish to go on the record again) there will be no note preceding it other than to provide a link to what s/he is replying to. There will also not be a follow up post by me.

I'm sure I'm repeating myself throughout this but let me repeat one more time, Barringer has written one time and one time only. That is what is posted. Those are her remarks in full. No one should have the impression that she's a "leaker" or that she's written prior.

Her remarks have been added to the May 15th entry as well.

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