While Margaret Sullivan’s job is to hold the feet of her colleagues to the fire when necessary, she also sits in the newsroom with them and is employed by the newspaper, which creates an inherent conflict of interest.
One thing that Tesla’s’ battle with the New York Times has reinforced is how the balance of power has shifted in media now that everyone — companies included — has the ability to publish their side of a story.
The public editor for the New York Times has provided some fairly dramatic evidence of her independence by questioning whether the newspaper should still be naming former BBC director general Mark Thompson as its new CEO, given his involvement in a scandal at the broadcaster.
In the latest episode of journalistic plagiarism, a Canadian newspaper columnist has been accused of taking content from others without credit. The response from the newspaper and the editors involved speaks volumes about how much traditional media outlets have to learn about how the web operates.
The firestorm of criticism that erupted over the New York Times public editor’s question about whether reporters should be “truth vigilantes” is a sign there is still a huge gap between what the mainstream media thinks its job is and what readers think.