The NYT’s Critique of Mark Thompson Positive for Media Giant

This is a story I had to read a few times. Firstly, because I didn’t know a lot about Mark Thompson or the extent of the cultural force of Jimmy Savile and the BBC in Britain.

Read a better summary than the one I will probably give here via the Independent. Basically, Mark Thompson is nearly set to be the CEO of The New York Times in November. While at the BBC, Thompson employed a man named Jimmy Savile whose sex-abuse allegation was shelved many years back. A pretty bad one too with, as the Independent reports, could have been over 300 victims. The reason there is talk is because shelving this story may have been intentional as Savile was quite the popular guy. Savile has sinced died, but the story of a “Newsnight” investigation grew louder since the beginning of October.

Anyway what is important to us is that both the New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan and esteemed columnist Joe Nocera wrote pieces questioning if Thompson was suitable to fill this role or the obligation New York Times Company has questioning this decision.

Interesting. If you think about it real fast it seems like the New York Times questioning its own appointments and decisions would destroy the trustable fabric with disarray and disunion. Companies generally have a “company line” that they don’t often stray from especially in times of scandal.

Yet here are two very public faces of the company doing just that. By speaking out they may be endangering public opinion toward the new CEO and the NYT Company as a brand. Still, it is very important they do so because while news organizations are brands they are more than a product. The New York Times should be self-critical because its influential position in modern culture, politics, foreign news, and domestic issues should be treated as delicately as if it were a public official.

Some people think that the power of news organizations is a bad thing. I understand that argument. Something that controls the spread and nature of information for most of a country is a bit frightening. That is why this sort of inward criticism preserves the integrity of the established media. It does not solve all the problems, but it certainly makes me feel more comfortable about the media giant.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment!


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