Dean Baquet Answers Readers’ Questions on Editing in the Newsroom

“We have to change our editing system to accommodate the changes in journalism,” said Mr. Baquet, The Times’s executive editor.

Comments: 196

  1. I truly value The Times, but I also read the almost constant number of corrections that appear online after stories are initially published. Your supposed "need for speed" and the lack of those extra eyeballs can only make this worse. Sure, we want breaking news quickly. But more than that, we want it to be correct. There are a million broadcast and online outlets that produce those down and dirty reports, but there is only one New York Times. Please don't mess it up!

  2. I see the "constant" corrections as evidence of transparency and credibility. Other news sources make as many or more mistakes but don't have the same culture of honesty. One of the many reasons to trust the New York Times.

  3. Yes, Clyde, and thank you! Corrections seem to be an integral part of each story these days. Some are corrections of corrections, no less. Some are simple misspelling of proper names or incorrect dates (an easy double check!). Many of them could easily have been avoided with a little Google search, for heaven's sake. I am a big fan of the Times, but these often sloppy miscues are embarrassing, especially in light of the attacks on the free press we are experiencing from Washington and Moscow. Yes, NY Times, please don't mess it up!

  4. I have found a significant disconnect between the typical anti-trump headline and what the article actually says.
    Bold assertions are made in the headlines, such as "WH in disarray," or "Trump aides struggling,,.," or "Military officials not informed of Trump decision to ..," and then when you actually read the full story there is often nothing there to back it up, other than some generic anti-Trump quotes from retired bureaucrats who have no current knowledge of the matter.
    I have seen this time and time again and the only conclusion is that most readers only read the headline and then quickly jump on the comments section with their anti-Trump rant of the day.

  5. How much does video contribute to either income or readership vs text (print or digital)?

    How can you say that "somehow" the Times lost reporters? Will you be saying that "somehow" the Times lost editors 5 years from now?

    And why is there no longer a public editor?

  6. I agree with Siobhan's point of view here. You say you want to respond to your readers, but the fact is we want copy editors and we wanted the public editor. She asked the kinds of questions we have, but had the resources to get the kinds of answers we don't. Plus she had the space to speculate and to offer measured reactions to the explanations of other editors. I see an awful lot of obfuscation in Mr. Baquet's comments. He says it's "healthier" for him to answer questions than for the public editor to do so, but he is understandably defensive. The Times created a valuable position and now has eliminated it and other positions that serve as friends to readers.

  7. At The NY Times who calls the shots?

    Which individual or group decided to endorse Clinton BEFORE the primaries were underway and BEFORE the people's voice could be heard?

    Who decides thing like, we will portray Clinton's lead on the front page in charts and graphs, day after day, as seemingly insurmountable by counting super delegates favoring Clinton as votes that had already been cast?

    Is it too much for a citizen to ask exactly who it is that wields the ultimate influence over such decisions that affect the fabric of our families lives?

    Or is the most important question where transparency ends?

    This article, by Michael Cieply, a 12 year veteran of the Times, who also spent time at the LA Times, has the answer. The uppermost editors set "the narrative," and task reporters with filing stories consistent with the narrative. "Backfielders" shape those stories to conform to, wait for it, "the narrative."
    Baquet, with his answers, and his actions, has chosen the narrative and its shapers, backfielders, over copy editors and objective editing for grammar, accuracy, style and fact checking.

  9. The Times (I know people who have worked there since 1929) has always been top heavy with management fat. (To be fair to the NY Times, many other corporations are too).

    To be fair and efficient, these are the general rules when cutting.

    1-If you cut union staff, cut the mgt. fat that goes with it.
    2-Offer any person cut a chance to work in another job or if not a fair buyout.
    3-Never cut to the bone, ie eliminating critical worker or mgt. jobs.

  10. While I understand the concerns over quality expressed by many readers, and in the symbolic action taken by the staff, I'm more concerned by the ignorance of the economics of media that they reveal. As you well know, it's easy to say "don't do it", but much harder to figure out how to pay for it. Unfortunately, much of the news staff, and many readers, have long been sheltered from the economic reality of the news business. I was in "the biz" for over 50 years (including 26 on the business side of The NYT), and I remember this going on 35 or more years ago. Don't mean to be overly harsh, but it is impossible to operate today in the same way the business operated in the "glory days".

  11. Yes, how to pay for what we say we are committed to is the big question. I ask, what are you paying for now, and how much are you paying? I venture to guess that certain execs and celebrity writers are getting big bucks, and those doing the needed grunt work, not so much. It's the same all over. Until we're willing to pay for what we say we value, and cut the bling, we'll never have a high-quality Times.

  12. Stevevelo:
    That is a hard argument to make when less than a year ago, the Times had $30 million in disposable cash to buy internet RATING SITES The Wirecutter and Sweet Home.
    To show that I am mathematically competent, assuming that the salary plus benefit cost of each copy editor is, generously, $200,000 per year, then for the price of two ratings services, all 50 copy editor positions could have been fully funded for three years.
    Don't forget that this is the same Times whose "business sense" impelled it to shell out an astonishing $700 million for the Boston Globe, which it eventually sold at a yuge loss.
    So just be careful to whom you impute an "ignorance of the economics of media," stevevelo.

  13. Trump's next and predictable tweet, "The failing Fake News NYT forced to cut jobs. Sad!"

  14. It is heartening to see The New York Times making these kind of (very) difficult decisions aimed at making sure it is able to produce first class journalism long into the future.  In fact, I have been worried that it hasn't been moving fast enough to navigate the digital world. It would be nice if there were enough resources to keep decades old structures in place and do what is necessary to meet the quickly evolving needs of the audience.  But, like all news organizations, those resources aren't there. It would be a real loss for its readers and our society if The Times faded away because it wasn't strong enough or bold enough to change. 

  15. I feel compelled to comment here. While I fully understand the need for the NYT to respond more quickly to the ever-changing news cycle, I hope that these funds that are freed up will be devoted to exanding their international reporting. I visit the 'world' section of the paper every day and to be honest it feels increasingly thin. I realise it is hugely expensive to maintain foreign bureaus but there is very little reporting on places like my home country, South Africa, for example, Given that South Africa is still the biggest economy on the continent I find it weird that so little of what happens here is reported in the NYT. If Americans are relying on the NYT to give them a fulsome picture of what is happening in the world each day they are only getting a very slim slice of the whole story.

  16. Every journey to any destination begins with a single step.

    Sadly, in this case, this is a misstep that will inevitably lead to a less professional product. Many of us subscribe to the NYT because it is seen as a last bastion of professional ethical journalism. If the Times loses that edge, it will lose readers.

    If speed is the motivation, then more people to do the work is the answer. Cutting out steps is not in keeping with NYT's longstanding tradition of excellence. No matter how your wordsmiths spin it, it is an economic decision and a very bad one.

  17. Mr. Baquet danced around directly answering the question of whether he ever considered taking a pay cut. I see he's not eliminating the dodgeball dept.

  18. This is the slow death March of the times. I see many factual mistakes everyday and sloppy/lazy reporting. You gave up New York coverage. Real Estate section is one big infomercial. Magazine is written by verbose wannabe novelists. Videos look they are made by summer interns trying to make a 90 second movie.
    You blew the election coverage by your arrogance.
    The Times has some very good reporters but making these cuts is killing what was a good New York newspaper. RIP NYTIMES

  19. Content editors/line editors are incapable of copyediting to the same standards as a trained copyeditor. There will be more errors, period. I catch typos in the Times daily, and that doesn't even include factual errors.

  20. You are fine just the way you are. Don't change anything.

  21. As a longtime reader of NYT, I can accurately say that editorial errors are far more common today than they used to be. Speed is important, but the Times prides itself in being the "newspaper of record." Today, I read articles that have words missing from sentences! Send me an email address that I can use to report these serious lapses, and I'll gladly fill in for your missing editors when needed.

  22. The third paragraph of the answer re alternative cost-saving measures is a great example of text that could use a proper edit. Editing brings clarity and concision that are also vital in our tumultuous times and fast-paced lives. I'm not convinced this is a good choice.

  23. I notice that Mr. Baquet completely skirted the issue of taking a pay cut, as the Times cuts jobs.

    It isn't that I expect him to do so. It is that I expect him to answer the question.

  24. A Public Editor would have supplied an answer. Baquet is just playing the politician here and changing the subject.

  25. This column is a job for the Public Editor.

  26. Mr, Baquet can speak for The Times' management, of course. But it seems obvious that he's far different from an independent and experienced journalist who has direct access to management and who can ask tough questions that a Times executive might not think (our want) to lask.

    How much money does The Times save without a Public Editor? What's the financial loss if readers' confidence suffers in a newspaper without its own oversight?

  27. I applaud what you are doing. America has become the most unAmerican of developed Western countries. America was supposed to be about perpetual and constant evolution. America is failing because even its so called liberals are reactionaries and don't want to evolve. I trust the NYT to keep the best of the new and discard what doesn't work.

  28. I retired after 48 years in journalism. Copy editors saved us every day; but push comes to shove -- it is reporters, good reporters -- that a news organization most needs.

  29. Let me guess -- you were a reporter. I bet if were to ask a retired editor with 48 years of service, you'd hear about another anchor of quality, fine editors.

  30. I was a reporter for 10 years. You need stories so editors can edit. Without stories, well . . .

  31. Mr. Smith: My older brother is in his 41st year as a copy editor at the Baltimore Sun, with about 5 years prior experience in North Carolina and western Pennsylvania.
    He sent me this article by 12 year Times' veteran correspondent and editor Michael Cieply.
    What is your veteran opinion about his credible claim of the difference between the bottom up, reporter driven journalism of the LA Times, where he also worked, versus the top down, editor driven journalusm of the NY Times?
    As an adjunct question, doesn't Baquet's decision to keep backfielders while cutting copy editors confirm Cieply's thesis? After all, the backfieldes "shape" fit "the narrative," right?

  32. Do not pretend this is about anything except money.

  33. Notice he dodged the question about whether he considered taking a pay cut.

  34. The number of typos and grammatical errors in the Times these days is astonishing. When I was a kid, it was said that to read the Times was the equivalent of a freshman college course. That was never quite true, but did say something about the high regard in which the paper was held. No one would ever say that today.

    Sorry, not buying the elimination of the Stand-Alone Copy Desk as a reader service. I'd rather get the story 10 minutes or even an hour later with fewer distracting spelling, typing, and grammatical errors and hopefully, no factual errors. That this would be the first stated justification is insulting to our intelligence.

  35. Dear Lifelong...beg to differ. As of today, I don't see any drop in NY quality of any kind but stayed tuned after this move....the jury is out....

  36. Today, for much of America the New York Times is the newspaper of the elite. For much of America and for too many the Times is the newspaper of the PhDs and other overeducated know it alls. I have been reading the Times for 65 years because my uncle had the Sunday NYT delivered when Montreal did not have a Sunday paper.
    The cynicism that permeates American society is not the fault of the NYT. Because my eyesight is now less acute that gives me empathy for lapses in grammar and punctuation in a world that moves far too quickly.
    I can live with those errors because the NYT is still a bulwark against "Fake" news and opinion masquerading as fact.

  37. I don't know how much time is needed to carefully fact-check and copy-edit a fast-breaking story. I wonder whether The Times could do what at least one technical publisher does: release early "Rough Cut" editions that are rushed out with the clear understanding that more polished versions are coming soon? Of course, there's ahead the chance that sooner "fake news," typos, etc. will sneak in to an early edition. But a list of updates made to the Rough Cut -- even updates after those updates -- could give readers an industry cut at the news from an experienced reporter-on-a-deadline as well as a useful demonstration of the fact- and grammar- checking that go in after the initial release.

    With a transparent system like this, it seems to me that everyone wins: Readers get (typically accurate) breaking news quickly, The Times has a chance to double or triple-check, and readers have confidence that errots are shown and are being corrected.

  38. Informative. Thank you. I'd like to know how editors work with younger reporters who are used to texting in shorthand and whose use of slang may define their style. How do you 'clean up' modern writing without making it impersonal and generic?

  39. Re the lack of a public editor, you state, "I actually think it is healthier for me to have to answer these questions. I value our readers. It is good for me to speak directly to them."

    The point is not what is good for you. The point is what is good for your readers and for journalism. You cannot be objective. The public editor would have critiqued and evaluated your answer. She would have put your answer in context, and, in many cases, the views of other editors would have appeared alongside your own. It was unconscionable to eliminate the ethical voice from your system of checks and balances.

  40. True that. Is Baquet offering weekly question and answer sessions with readers? Somehow, he avoided answering my question about the proliferation of anonymous sourcing on his watch, despite the fact that, when it was less prevalent in October, 2014, he admitted to Margaret Sullivan allowing more than we (the editors) ought to.

  41. Mr. Baquet, it's a peculiar argument that extols the calibre of The Times's journalism while defending the elimination of a component that the news reporters say is critical in achieving that excellence.

    The fact that this is, as you say, a shift in resources from editors to reporters doesn't guarantee the reader that there will be more legitimate and relevant journalism. (I recall reading a decision from the Times to cut back on local news reporting.) Unfortunately, this decision reinforces the impression that the commitment to probative journalism is losing ground to money-making pap masquerading as news reporting.

  42. Short-sighted view, Mr. Baquet.

    At a time when facts and clarity are under fire, and journalists face tougher time pressures, editors are vital. How much do copyeditors cost, anyway?

    Penny wise, pound foolish.

  43. No matter how thin you slice it, it's still baloney. Or would a good copy editor make it "bologna"? My husband was once a copy editor. Some of my best friends are (or were copy editors before their papers downsized), so I admit to a pro-copy editor bias. Nevertheless, I can with complete certainty based on observation that reducing the number of eyes looking at each story WILL increase the number of errors great and small. Maybe the Times should get back to the basics of journalism and speed less time and money on video production (and this is from a one-time CNN producer) and other whiz-bang nonsense,

  44. Editors must be more stringent in removing opinion from what purport to be news stories.

    By the way, to write that "when a reporter crafts a story" is a regrettable turn of phrase. Reporters should not "craft stories". Get back to "who, what, where, when and why" without speculation and bias.

  45. I wish that you had directly answered this question:

    How much would online-only subscription rates have to be increased to save the 50 or so copy desk positions slated for elimination?

    You might not see this as a cost reduction measure, but frankly, I would have preferred a greater amount of editing even before this change. My subscription fee of $15/mo is a pittance in comparison to the paper's importance, and I would gladly pay a bit more for more editors.

    As for your comment about SC decisions, I respectfully dissent. I would rather wait for proper analysis. If I want instant, ill-informed shouting, there's cable tv for that.

  46. How about you stop your extreme leftward tilt and come back more towards the center? How about you stop allowing your reports leftward bias to seep in to their news articles? Maybe just maybe you could stop being so obvious about your agenda and do away with all the advocacy journalism and go back to being the great newspaper you once were. Yes I know readership is up and the Times is making money but you know what? So is the National Enquirer. Its either get back to fairly reporting the news or continue to sink into irrelevance and be merely an echo chamber for the far left.

  47. The Times isn't really leftist. It is faux liberal, like the people they champion: the Clintons, Liz Warren, etc. etc.

  48. An "extreme leftward tilt" that went to great lengths to disparage Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton? A leftward tilt that editorially endorsed the disastrous Iraq misadventure? I don't think "extreme leftward tilt" means what you think it does.

  49. What is the point of a "Reader Center" if the editor's responses are 100% self-approbatory and defensive, as they are here? Bring back an effective public editor (i.e., Margaret Sullivan).

  50. Role of the Public Editor
    "I actually think it is healthier for me to have to answer these questions. I value our readers. It is good for me to speak directly to them."

    Ostensibly and in some cases actually, the Public Editor had some real independence from the paper. You have no independence from yourself.

  51. Mr. Banquet should understand that all fake news stories will eventually be exposed in this new era of social media. Take the Russia conspiracy lie. There was never any evidence that Trump colluded with Russia but that did not stop the NYT's from pushing this "reporting" every day for weeks and weeks. It turned out to be a big nothing burger. Retraction? We are still waiting. Don't hold your breath. The once lapdog public relies less on the NYT's take on events mainly because we have a President that reminds us each day that this publication is fundamentally dishonest at its core. True or not it certainly has some merit. This grates the media but that have been hoisted on their own petard.

  52. You appear to have missed that fact the Russia collusion situation is still under investigation by the federal government. You can call it a "nothing burger" but that would just be the lie that you choose to accept and spread.

  53. I suggest you get on over to Lawfare, and read the self-exposed formerly anonymous source, Matt Tait, who was specifically recruited by the Trump campaign to collude, likely with Ru$$ia.
    "Nothing Burger?" I'm going to go with a no here.

  54. If by "almost constant number of corrections that appear online after strories are initially publisher" you mean the errors in spelling a name or mis-presenting a title, that is and has always been a problem from the basic level of reporting that no editor can possibly catch. Calling someone a mayor when her correct title is supervisor is such a case. And relatively minor. And appreciated here for accuracy when it's fixed. The bigger problems are inaccuracies in broader analysis and interpretation of facts. I'll give these changes Baquet is describing a chance.

  55. I have often emailed the news desk when poor spelling or a factual error gets through and is published. This doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it is disturbing. Most recently, an article about the Gal Gadot Wonder Woman movie stated that it was set in World War II, when a 30 second check would have revealed that it is set in World War I. Are you planning to have your readers be your freelance volunteer copy editors and fact checkers?

  56. @Bethynyc: I think the answer to your last sentence is: YES.

  57. Yeah, but I don't get how those typos remain after more than 5 minutes, when surely even many Times employees would have read the article. They DO read the paper, right?

  58. Interns, who as subscribers will pay for the opportunity to serve.

  59. So many errors in the decks of stories now, such as "After years of crimes & mental problems, Alexander Bonds, snapped." Too many to count on Twitter feeds. Seems like you need more copy editors, not less.

  60. "... you need more copy editors, not less."

    Fewer. Fewer. Fewer!!

    A triumph of substance over style?

  61. Mr. Baquet, who is supposed to be a journalist and the company's top news executive, was as evasive as any other CEO in any other industry when he was asked why senior management didn't take salary cuts so a few jobs could be saved. This has always been the hypocrisy of journalism, where senior news or business executives demand their reporters get the truth from others, but not from their own organizations.

    With that said, The Times must do what it must do to survive. I can't imagine what life would be like without The Times or The Washington Post in the Trump era. They must be preserved, even if we don't always agree with their management policies.

  62. "Mr. Baquet, who is supposed to be a journalist and the company's top news executive, was as evasive as any other CEO in any other industry ...'

    Remember the Judith Miller (phony weapons of mass destruction stories spoonfed by high-placed D.C sources) and Jayson Blair (plagiarized articles) era? Day after day, questions were answered by a NYT spokeswoman who was in full crisis-management mode. The tone was the same as here.

    The Times has never recovered from that annus horribilis of 2003. It may have been a good thing because it taught us once again to question authority and to keep on questioning it. Compared to other news outlets, overall, it's an excellent paper, which is why I read it, but it has feet of clay and I don't like being talked down to like some kind of uneducated, uncritical Trump supporter.

    And bring back The Public Editor. The readers need an independent advocate.

  63. Good luck -- but I really hope this doesn't lead to the NYT becoming the mess that so many other newspapers are running stories that have misspellings, grammatical errors and worse, stories lacking structure or that forget to answer the obvious questions of who, what, when, where, and why.

  64. I've seen headlines I thought were misleading. Who writes these and why do they sometimes change?

  65. Copy editors write them, usually, and sometimes backfielders. They change as the story develops and the reporter adds content or for search engine optimization. Including keywords in the headline allows people to find the story more easily through places like Google, but they're often clunky or too long. On the other hand, print headlines are confined by space and so sometimes the most accurate headline just won't fit. A lot of compromising goes on.

  66. Read all of this as a substitute for the precipitous elimination of the Public Editor.

    As well, the entire exercise reflects the heat that the NYT feels from the open letter that copy editors sent, plus the walkout protest.

    At many colleges and universities an office of the ombudsmen exists to handle such expressions.

    While it surely is worth reading what Mr. Baquet has to say, the NYT should recognize that its devoted readers -- and most of all its loyal subscribers -- believe they have a vested interest in its day-to-day operational practices.

  67. The Reader Center is a pitiful substitute for the Public Editor.

  68. To be perfectly honest, I'm still smarting from the switch to color from B&W. The paper lost its gravitas when it went to the USAToday look. I'll eventually get over it.

    But I do wish that the Times would have covered the Sanders campaign better. Perhaps it was tainted by the overtly biased Op-Ed page (which needs a real liberal in there... not more center-right-wingers), but the news coverage came off as being rather dismissive.

    The Times is still the best paper in the world. The international journalism and science sections alone put it head and shoulders above all others. But one must read it for what it is– a paper from the financial capital of the world. The general slant always has that baked in.

  69. I don't expect the Times to be the fastest with all--or any--stories, but I do expect that all Times stories are correct. I rely on the Times for accuracy, not speed. Haste makes waste.

  70. You exactly distill my feelings on the subject, Mr. Berner. Thank you.

    Mr. Baquet is appallingly tone deaf if he thinks the Times is competing with television or instant, often erroneous, web outlets. The Times fills a niche: detailed, accurate, investigative journalism. Instant gratification sites on the web are a dime a dozen, yet Baquet wants to abdicate being newspaper of record to be just another fast outlet with accuracy problems.

  71. Thank you, Mr. Baquet, for thoughtfully sharing management's perspective on changes in copy editing.

    A glaring weakness in the answers, however, comes in Mr. Baquet's response to the question about the eliminated Public Editor position. It's evasive and disingenuous to suggest that the executive editor substitutes for the paper's previous and best accountability mechanism.

    Politico ran a lengthy feature on Mr. Baquet last month, describing how he chiefly values narrative "sweep" in this paper's content. The Public Editor defends against this "sweep" overstepping good reporting and driving the media agenda rather than following the news.

    I love the New York Times, but attitudes like this one toward the former Public Editor undermine trust with readers. With no check on any ideological ax the paper wants to grind through the "sweep" of its reporting, I can't read it (especially political content) without suspicion.

  72. Given that The Times is clearly interested in maintaining its world coverage, will there be a push to hire copy editors with specialized foreign language skills? I have noticed that the rush to post a story often results in poorly translated quotes that make the original speakers seem inarticulate or simple. Obviously reporters posted around the world can't be expected to have native-level proficiency in each country they must report from, but copy editors could then improve reporters' rough translations. The Times does its foreign sources a disservice in these cases, and taking the time to do a deep copy edit would improve this situation.

  73. Would you be willing to share the decision-making process that led to featuring as the principle story in the Times a story about Chelsea Manning that included photographs of her that resembled a fashion shoot and credits for hair, nails, etc.? Did your editors err in letting such a bizarre piece slip through, and do you not think it is degrading to women to assume that women who are public figures are ipso facto preoccupied with their physical appearance? That piece seems a perfect example of a piece that could have used several more pairs of eyes and some serious reconsideration since it was ostensibly about a very serious national security issue.

  74. We are told there are no cuts, merely an integration of copy editors into the editorial process. Then it is acknowledged around 50 copy editing jobs will be slashed because more specialized online skills are required. No cuts or cuts. Which is it? Proof positive that we need an independent Public Editor.

  75. There seems to be no doubt that the 50 or so copy editors who are not ip to the Times' Hunger Games reinterview process will be out of work.
    Why do I think that the incoming reporters and video jockeys will be younger, less experienced, more naive and, of the utmost importance, cheaper?

  76. I am definitely seeing more minor grammatical errors (a dropped "a" there, a missing "the" there, repeats of sentence fragments, etc.) in the online edition than were there before. I don't know how the process of getting articles online differs from getting them into the print edition (someone once said you have large ranks of typists in India generating transcriptions for the web, an account I dismissed as urban legend), but certainly, given the time-sensitive nature of much of the web-based content, there would seem to be a greater likelihood of errors slipping through. Is there any difference in the copy editing process between print and web versions? Does web content receive more cursory attention?

  77. Typically the web version is published first, early on in the morning or afternoon, after at least one editor looks at it. Then if it's supposed to appear in the newspaper, the story is copy edited again, and potentially updated, for the print version that is published the next day. So the print version does receive more time and attention than the online version does, in general, especially if it's breaking news that needs to be online ASAP.

  78. I care a lot about reliability. With less oversight of reporters and the reporting process more mistakes will occur. Better for the news to come to me more slowly and be accurate than for it to come very quickly and involve numerous errors. The Times should keep its editors, hire more reporters, and raise subscription rates. If I want fake news, I can read Donald Trump's Twitter posts.

  79. Baquet keeps talking about video. Perhaps strangely, I am here because I like to read articles. I don't care about video "content" (I'm under 40). Stick to writing; it is your core product. Devoting resources to video is taking away from what you're good at.

  80. I'm an older reader. Forty was a lifetime ago. The Times has many older readers and many of us cannot deal with videos that have no captions. The videos are worthless to me without language. Pictures are not always worth a thousand words.

  81. I feel EXACTLY the same way. A video on the Times is just a block of space on my screen that does not have text I want to read.

  82. Martha:

    The point of M. Davis's comment was to tell the Times that although s/he is under 40 (and part of the younger demographic the paper seeks as readers) even s/he is not interested in the video content. There's a stereotype that Generation X-ers and especially Millennials can be reached only through the images.

    In other words, you and s/he agree.

  83. To keep up in the digital age without sacrificing quality, you should be hiring more (and more experienced!) editors at every level, not cutting some! The Times needed a public editor, for example, because of poor higher editorial judgment that prompted reader outcry. You keep having layoffs and waves of buyouts that are eliminating the most seasoned layers of the newsroom. Now you're cutting back on the watchdogs that could serve as a check on the inexperienced. Why not just give on being the paper of record?

  84. the NYT is necessary to our democracy. you have a vital role to fill.

    please keep that in mind every day as you make changes.

  85. The Times has played catchup for decades and the Publisher has acknowledged the print edition is fading mainly due to lack of ads.You remember the Help Wanted Section on Sundays? So,while they have to try new approaches,they are vulnerable without a Public Editor to internal bias.Readers should closely watch the new Editing system and tell the Publisher when it is not working well.

  86. This is the proverbial "throwing out the baby with the bathwater" scenario. The NYT needs a public editor to be what the excellent Margaret Sullivan called "a burr in the side of the powers that be..." for both management and star reporters alike. While Sullivan's replacement seemed not up to the task a new replacement should have been found. I predict in several years or less there will be another Jayson Blair type scandal here. The NYT will take a hit and the far right will use whatever slipped past the more scarce editors as proof that it is "fake news". Also Mr. Banquet, if someone asks you if top management took pay cuts to keep others employed - and you put that question out there for readers to see - you ought to consider giving a direct answer the question. A lot of side stepping and dodging here - that doesn't inspire confidence.

  87. I've been reading the NYT since 1959. I also computerized a major publisher in 1980. Word processors pick up and correct typos and grammatical errors. What the NYT has been trying to do is become 90% digital, selling pay-per-click ads that interrupt the flow of reading since the ad after every paragraph is distracting. The writing has suffered because of the "I" stories -- I was walking down the street of war-torn Syria when I realized ..., although the "I" began years ago. The NYT used to be just news, not news about a journalist. More, weekend news to Monday is half week-old articles except when we have a G20 Summit or Trumpism. The NYT is supposed to be factual, compressed, no "I's," and insightful. When I worked as a freelance writer, the work involved investigation, research, writing, checking for spelling and potentially defamatory remarks, and, finally, flow, a/k/a readability. One still uses those tools but the word processor and search engines (for fact checking) do a great deal of the shoe work. When I computerized that publisher, editors kept sabotaging it, afraid of their jobs. And perhaps the most important person does IT, setting up metatags, SEOs, bots to optimize Internet reach and thus pay-per-click value. Next to him is the Trumpism: the Twitter at 3 a.m. or when he, as usual, moves from the teleprompter to a bipolar rant. Trump reports bring us downward in a country woefully undereducated. The NYT used to represent the intellect's morning spur.

  88. I agree that the first-person point of view stories can get tiresome, but you are incorrect that word processing systems catch all errors. Even the After Deadline column, which discussed grammar and style errors in the Times, had a recurring feature: "When Spell-Check Can't Help."

  89. Not trying to be cute or clever, but this comment could have used a lot of editing. As a reader, I found myself wading through it like a flooded basement.

  90. What a bunch of corporate double-speak. If a politician were uttering these words The Times would take that person to the proverbial woodshed. The Times, like other newspapers, seems to be slow slide to mediocrity just at the time we need serious, well-edited journalism the most.

  91. The NYT has sold its soul, as have so many others, all for the sake of adjusting to a world where we don't want to wait a nano-second for anything, including news. Now there are many grammar errors in your reporting and your op-eds. The NYT repeats the same articles in your digital edition, day after day. A few items may change, but many remain. Where is the freshness? (Same thing happens with other online publications.) And PS, Mr. Baquet, you never did answer that question about whether you had considered lowering your own compensation packages in order to afford the copy editors. Sad to say, but the Times has lost its stature. Now I look to weekly magazines for in-depth reporting, and the Daily News for what's happening on the street. (And your Sunday edition is filled with ads for things from shops that most of us can't afford. RIP, NYT.

  92. While high quality copy editing is an important concern I would much rather see Dean Baquet's views on the obligation the NYT has to discuss editorial policies with its readership. The one time the subject was broached in print Public Editor Magaret Sullivan airly dismissed the propsect with a nod to senior executives who didn't want to get "bogged down" in discussions of editorial policy with readers. This reader would very much like to get "bogged down" on the most important decision making process the newspaper makes. During the 2016 election we got a pretty good look at the editorial policy of the NYT towards the Trump candidacy -- a rare peak behind the curtain. For years I have been agitating for some engagement from the NYT on its evident editorial policy on China reporting -- 95% negative from what I can see -- right down to the photo editors' selection of accompanying photos to set the appropriate mood which have almost become a parody of themselves -- in China it's always grim, overcast and grimy. No question there is much negative news to print on China but where the NYT failed its readers over the last 5 years or so is in providing them even a modicum of balance on the country the US must better understand over the next 20 years. Mr. Basquet what is your view first on discussions of editorial policy in general and 2nd on the antagonism towards China any content review of your coverage over the past 5 years would reveal? It seems purposeful. Is it deserved?

  93. The emphasis of this change seems to be on the need for speed. Personally, I'd rather see the Times 'print' accurate, in-depth stories, than to be the first one on the block to shout out what's happening. The basics of who-what-when-where-why seems to get lost in the rush, leaving the reader feeling like there is more to the story.

  94. Baquet just said essentially the same thing over and over. Not convincing.

  95. He could use a good editor.

  96. As a professional author (fiction and non-fiction, including several local newspapers here in central NJ), I have a sort of love/hate relationship with editors. I know my work will not be published without going through an editing process, but as the creator of the work, I would prefer my words to be rendered in the paper the way I submitted the article.

    I, for one, look forward to the NYT approach to editing and I am more than willing to give you a chance. I first read the NYT as a teenager in high school when my father brought his copy home from the city every day and I well remember those heavy Sunday editions. As I have lived around the country and in Europe through my life, I read the NYT whenever I could. For many years now, I have read only the online edition. The NYT is the only paper for which I am willing to pay a fee for online access. It does seem that there are fewer stories than there were several decades ago, although I could be wrong.

    I would rather the NYT change to keep up with new world order and new technologies than die because they would not adapt.

  97. If you're going to talk about the Times's marvelous editorial judgment, how did a series like "Couch" run as long as it did?

    It was a parade of columns by narcissistic, immature therapists and psychiatrists who appeared to be blatantly violating the confidentiality and/or privilege of their clients and patients, not to mention tarnishing the image of their field. More than once I asked The Public Editor to interview ethics experts about it and write a column.

    I don't even know where to report the errors I see. There used to be an "After Deadline" column, but the editor would never provide an email address for readers despite my requests in the comments section.

    Don't kid yourself. You're not that reader-friendly.

  98. I miss "Couch." Introspection and reflection are not the same as narcissism.

  99. I expect accuracy and clarity from the NYT, not speed. This is simply budget cutting where the money always is - the people. As the number of writers and investigators shrink and their competence decreases along with salaries so will the quality of NYT journalism.

  100. I have been a subscriber to the Times for many years. I cannot think what it would mean to live without it. There are two issues, however, concerning the Times and journalism in general. At the bedrock of these issues is trust, and confidence.
    Like many Americans I am skeptical of the news media, of politicians, of celebrities, of reportage in general. On the other hand, we counter that skepticism with a degree of faith brought on by our historical relationship with these very same conduits. What other choice do we have?
    Over recent years that faith has been shaken. Whatever your political or social perspective, you cannot fail to be dismayed by the media coverage of events like the UVA rape, the various black and white shootings, the presidential election and Trump related "news."
    Your article here reads like a finely crafted disclaimer to a cost cutting move. A critic would say: if you not longer care about the veracity of your reporting, why worry about the style?

  101. My problem with the Times news section (the opinion pages are another story) has nothing to do with the reporting and editing of stories, all generally excellent, but on the stories it chooses to tell.

    Certainly there are real events occurring around the world with significant ramifications that must be covered. And I get that the NYT wants to publish articles on events it's readers want to hear about - it's a business after all.

    But there are a disproportionate number of stories on certain topics that I suspect are serving top editors or managers agenda.

    Just to take four examples:

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Climate change

    Transgender rights

    Discrimination against Muslims in America

    My point is that even when nothing monumental is happening, the Times will find stories to write about several times a week on each of these topics.

    What I would like to know who is making those decisions and how are they made?

  102. I would add that the Times obsession with Trump helped propel him to the presidency, and too often focuses on trivial matters.

  103. Except that virtually all of the topics listed are on-going and it's not unreasonable to regularly update these events on a regular basis. That's what national papers do and what local papers cannot do. Perhaps you might be better off with another paper, "Junior Scholastic," for instance.

  104. Those issues get lots of coverage because they are IMPORTANT

    And they're NOT the top in the list of story counts - just the ones you seem to focus on for reasons of. dare I suggest bigotry on a reader's part?

    One who is offended by Muslims. Jews/Palestinians/Israel. the LGBT 'agenda' mythos ( my LGBT friends and acquaintances tell me their 'agenda' is to be treated as what they are and secretly have been for millennia - just other human beings - using the old Kinsey<sp?> studies, one out of every 10 of your neighbors is gay . They're just tired of living in closets, just like Jews and Muslims who changed the family name so they might hide from bigotry.

    The articles that have caught MY eyes are the countless lies and insults told by Donald Trump, where the lede hasn't been The President lied again in his early-morning "tweets" - this time (for example) denying the growing popularity of a morning talk show, and claiming one host came to one of his parties "bleeding from a facelift."

    As usual, he chose the female half of the pair to accuse of "bleeding", and needing to improve her looks.


    I'm somewhat sure you would call THIS bigotry - an error because it is directed at one person, who has shown himself the nastiest, most ignorant and destructive monomaniac ever to hold the post, not an afine of humanity.

  105. "within minutes", "analysis not too long afterward", "video on the history of the case", and "multimedia analysis" are exactly the kind of things I look elsewhere for. I come to the Times (constantly, mind you) for thoroughness. If the Times is going to do what the rest of the internet does, it will have to do it that much better. So far, I find the Times's non-text and breaking news features significantly worse that at other outlets like Vox and the Atlantic. And please, for the love of god, stop shoving the moronic briefings and podcasts in my face. Build an opt-out feature into my profile settings so I can permanently sift away the kind of content (which the administration seems to be hot for recently) that doesn't interest me or that is done much better elsewhere.

  106. Good luck, NYT. This is a gold standard, world-class organization and brand.
    It seems almost funny that the Trump brand is even bigger, but it is yet possible for the old grey mare to go 'round the track a few more times before the WaPo takes over.
    As much as i loath the personal bias/opinion-style of current 'news reportage' much of the general interest reportage remains world-leading.
    Wish you well, but.

  107. In the long run, it is us, the readers, who will judge the effectiveness of this new plan.

  108. I find it humorous that the editor implies that although 'not anyone' can become a photographer or videographer, apparently anyone can be a copy editor.
    His reasoning is suspect also because if the paper wants to post news more quickly, all it has to do is do it. I.e. the reporter posts it and it's cleaned up later. Or the assignment editor reads it and posts it and then the copy is gone over more thoroughly (this apparently already happens).
    One thing that makes the Times' webpage stand out is the quality of the headline writing. Don't tell me assignment editors can spend time both scrutinizing stories for holes and then turn their attention to writing clever headlines for a variety of media (print, web, mobile, etc.)

  109. I recently emailed a reporter who was one week off on the date of Eids al Fitr. Since the article ran eight days after Eids, a knowledgeable editor should have caught that error, but clearly there was not such an editor for that piece. A further reduction in editors does not bode well for the factually accuracy of the NYT on issues both large and small.

    BTW, the reporter never responded.

  110. Thank you for correcting (albeit, very very quietly) the bogus but often repeated claim that "All 17 national security agencies have unanimously agreed that Russia meddled in the election..."
    There were only 4 agencies that provided input and not all of them completely agreed with the assessment.

  111. As a long time digital subscriber, I have come to rely on the NYT for breaking news the way some people rely on CNN or Fox. I had never stopped to think about the seismic shift this rush to accommodate readers like me must have had on staffing assignments. I appreciate the thoughtful analysis here and will look forward to continued accurate up-to-the-minute reporting.

  112. The Journalists duty is to strictly adhere to the correct forms and uses of language as that is our only defense from dogmatic politicians and mendacious use of the Press. You can say anything but if one has to use correct grammar the deficiencies of anything you say are more clear and mendacity more easily seen.
    The answer to a readership whom is less well educated and apparently ignorant of the fact of how important correct language use is is not to pander to that deficiency.

  113. Every day, I read comments from readers asking the Times to please cover more stories, to do more investigative journalism, to uncover the mis-deeds of our political oligarchy. So the Times hears these demands, & hires more journalists. In order to do so, it claims it must cut a layer of copy editors. The equation: more journalists = fewer copy editors.

    But who determines this equation? Owners. How much are they willing to spend on the people who actually do the core work of producing the paper's content? Apparently, not much.

    What most people wonder is, if both journalists & copy editors are important, why doesn't management/ownership take cuts in order to retain lower-tier employees in their key jobs?

    But they don't. How odd! Everyone, from journalists & copy editors, to management & owners would like to keep their incomes!

    But someone has to go. We're sorry, but it's a dog-eat-dog world.

    So management pits the journalists against the copy desk, while those who take the most profits out of a business, yet produce the least amount of its product, get to stay & drain it.

    In capitalism, the bottom line is: make a profit for the owners. They are the most important, the top of the food chain. Never mind that they don't actually produce the content everyone agrees is so vital to preserving democracy. We live in an age when nothing survives if it's not monetized to the max so that owners can live well.

    Every American worker has seen this sorry tale over & over again.

  114. Yes, capitalism is designed to make a profit for the owners. Profits are the bottom line. Profits for the owners are essential to the well-being of employees. Without profits, not just some, but all, of the jobs and wages disappear. Without profits, no one has a salary. Owners don't "produce the least amount of its product," they produce all of the product, as without their capital the output is zero. Employees are essential too, as without them the capital couldn't be put to work, but employees don't share in losses and bashing owners and capitalists for risking their money in the business and maybe making profits is wrongheaded. It is their money and their decision as to what to do with it - pay higher salaries or keep it for themselves - and they suffer the consequences of that decision if the employees feel shortchanged. Wise employers make sure their employees are relatively satisfied, and wise employees hope their employer makes obscene profits and becomes filthy rich.

  115. Sorry, Mr. Baquet, but this sounds as vague and smoke-screens as any politician avoiding addressing what is really happening. You seem to repeat yourself over and over again, as if that will make things more clear or palatable, but it seems obvious that this is merely cost-cutting and that the Times is running scared. To that end, you are choosing to go for some kind of speed over level-headedness and perhaps accuracy. And you jump right over the whole issue of whether or not video is actually that important in a newspaper, be it print or virtual. Perhaps your institutional research reveals something that lights a fire underneath, but I can honestly tell you that I almost NEVER look at the videos on the Times' website. I want to READ. I can get those videos anywhere else, and the ones that are house-produced aren't worth what you are investing in them. You're all going down a slippery slope here, and if you look at the comments, a lot of your readers aren't swallowing the reason for it.

  116. I've never been much for Times videos but decided to give them a try. I just finished watching some.

    What they are is a vehicle for Goldman Sachs ads. There us one at the beginning if every video I saw.

    And the videos themselves are often simplistic at best. One I saw had the director of Wonder Woman describing a scene from the movie as I watched it. The one phrase I remember is "homage to Superman."

    Some of these videos have 3, 4, or even 5 people named as the creators.

    This is not why I come to the Times.

  117. I don't like the videos and I don't watch them. I do understand the Times desire for them, however, since they are another medium for advertising revenue that the Times, and other papers, desperately needs. If, in order to pay for high quality reporting and analysis, I have to put up with the videos which pay for what I read the Times for, then I'm ok with that.

  118. Some of those videos are superb!

  119. OMG you are so right about that! I thought the same and therefore never look!

  120. If only the Times journalists were as honest and circumspect as many of these Comments' writers. I recently cancelled by subscription because there's no longer enough quality in the Times. After I sent the cancellation email the Times sent me three printed letters asking for payment. Finally they sent yet another letter (by mail) telling me they received my cancellation and please pay for the two print copies of the paper I'd been sent. Did they ever simply reply by email to my email, and then update my payment obligation on the website? No wonder they're in trouble financially, if they can't figure out how to do the simplest things by email. For reasons of nostalgia I'm sorry to be without the Times. But the walk to the local library to read it periodically will do me good.

  121. In my question to Mr. Baquet I posited the idea that his canning of the public editor and a large reduction in copy editor positions were linked. My question, unsurprisingly, wasn't picked by The Times for Baquet to answer. See, I like to think my question gets at "the soul & heart" of The New York Times and not to just the paper's technological peripheries. It's like writing with a ballpoint vs a fountain pen. Just something cool about knowing The Times was ( once?) a feisty and tough enough organization to have people, not computers, watch over her work, just to insure she got it as close to right as humanly possible. That's an art only people like copy editors & public editors can do.

  122. [[The Times will use the savings from these cuts to bring in more reporters and other journalists who can build a report that acknowledges the changing world of journalism.]]

    OK, so you've finally called them "cuts," which I think is what mattered to the editors themselves and to others in your newsroom.

  123. Too much TV. Your readers read.

  124. Case in point: There is a typo on the Trump-Putin video running right now. Will have to find yourself. :) It's a main production item for the newsroom today, is my assumption. Scary, from the New York Times.

  125. We do not want news "within minutes and analysis not too long afterward."

    We want to understand. Deeply.

    “I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

    Leave the tweeting, lasers and glowing white teeth to Fox and Friends.

  126. my thought exactly. i am sick of these pseudo know-it-alls telling me what i want.

  127. I urge the Times to focus on its core strength, journalism, and cut the fluff. The Times, can't and shouldn't be all things to all people and trying to be simply dilutes your strength. Too much style, food, TV, and such. While I am a print subscriber, I spent a lot of time each day reading on my phone where it is near impossible to avoid the fluff.

  128. I think that it is easier to focus on exactly what you want to read when reading the digital version. You can click straight on the section you want and read only that. Also, if you want to track the news specifically about, say, a particular country, simply enter it into the search bar each morning. And an ad blocker gets rid of the interruption of advertisements. I never thought I would say this, but the print version is now superfluous to me.

  129. David,

    With the mobile app you can select the sections you most want to see. You can sign up for email newsletters put out by sections you care about. Google News might allow you to get to the Times stories you want faster without the distraction of the fluff. You can also create alerts in Google for stories that interest you.

    I know the paper has to make money and appeal to a wide range of readers, but I, too, am sick of the lavish style, food, and real estate sections. We didn't need the "Watching" section, but I guess covering streaming video is cheap.

    I hate that every day there's a "Smart Living" feature that links to recycled old stories, pieces that read like Lifehacker at its weakest, and offer suggestions from Sweethome and The Wirecutter, the product blogs the Times bought last year. The danger of a conflict of interest was obvious.

  130. Senior management should cut their compensation to stay in the same boat with the folks they tried to force out. Otherwise, it feels like the ending scenes of Titanic! Everyone runs for their own lives!

  131. The failing New York Times. Sad.

  132. I am not convinced that I am hearing valid reasoning, or clever excuses. Another commenter mentioned "cost-cutting" and "running scared". I am inclined to lean toward his version until I hear something more substantial........

  133. Thanks for all these comments. I offer a couple of replies.

    You state repeatedly that you want to fire editors in order to hire more reporters. I don't WANT more reporters! You produce far more than a person can read already. The quality of your written output is paramount to me - not video, not interactive doohickeys, not 360° things that I can't properly see on my screen. Print. The thoughtful well-composed well- edited written word is what makes the Times valuable.

    Second, you state that it's better to have you reacting directly to the readers, rather than having an independent Public Editor. This is, frankly, nonsense. It's the fox guarding the hens. You dumped the role that would have been most useful in critiquing your actions first, thereby making it easier for you to gut the editing staff now. It's all a bit too strongman dictator-ish for my taste.

  134. I already find typos and grammatical errors in the online version of the Times every day. Cannot imagine that this change will result in fewer errors. The concern should not be avoiding more errors but rather reducing the already absurd number that persist. How they want to structure it- independent desk vs. none- is up to them, but they should definitely not reduce the number of editors. If anything, they should be hiring more!!!

  135. The number of errors and typos in the NY Times goes up by the month. I have worked as a copy editor on books and for law firms, and the errors just about jump off the page at me, day after day.

    About videos, let me say that I HATE the instant-play videos on the Times - the rapid-cut editing is a visual assault in some (behind-the-scenes-at-the-ballet, for instance!); in others the lack of context and absence of captions are infuriating. Do it well, or don't do it.

    The Public Editor job needs to be revived & filled, and this article is a good example of why a Public Editor is necessary - including Mr. Baquet's failure to answer the direct question of whether he considered cutting his own salary. How hard is it to ANSWER THE QUESTION, Dean? Very, I think!

    Finally, there is the move away from hard news (such as coverage of what happens in NYC, for which I look to the NY Daily news), and toward what I consider "filler" material, such as most of the Style Section.

    If you're trying to tilt the newspaper toward the hyper-rich, congratulations, because that's how it reads. I don't care about trendy shops, and $5 million-and-up apartments are fantasy for most of us. The glossy, heavy Style Magazine is the FIRST thing I toss out.

    NYC (and Manhattan in particular) is undergoing what someone has termed "demographic cleansing" - making NYC unaffordable for ordinary working people - but I'm sorry the NY Times, in its "fluff" coverage, is such an avid participant in this process.

  136. Agreed!

  137. L,

    Hear, hear!!!!

    agree wholeheartedly

  138. Regarding the Public Editor's role, you write: "I actually think it is healthier for me to have to answer these questions. I value our readers. It is good for me to speak directly to them." It may be good, Mr. B. but it's no substitute for the Public Editor.

    Forgive me, but this sounds uncannily like the WH trying to bypass the media wherever possible. The Public Editors were able (some better than others) to fill a critical role, where warranted. Self-criticism can't be relied on from anyone, let alone a person in authority.

  139. @mancuroc: Exactly!

    And while Baquet says "I actually think it is healthier for me to have to answer these questions" he absolutely isn't interested in answering the one about cutting his salary - which proves your point that self-criticism can't be relied on from a person in authority!

  140. I agree that the role of Public Editor should return to the Times if only that readers have a resource. Moreover, if there are recurring or systemic problems, then management has a resource from which to correct those problems of which they would otherwise be caught unaware. Bring it back.

  141. Dean Baquet ,

    The main problem with the Times is your bias.The public editor needed to be eliminated because it exposed you as a reporter with an agenda.
    Why give a soapbox to Qatar without a chance to rebuke him.Qatar is a supporter of Hamas and their TV channel is full of anti US leanings.

  142. I am near 70 years of age. When in high school, I was a school newspaper editor and attended the Coumbia Student Journalism Meetings at Columbia each Spring. That was in the mid 1960's. Journalism was the 4th estate. That was before the Government had educated protests against their Vietnam War policies.

    Then, they initiated a change in the Draft laws to exclude student of Teaching. That was how Hippies entered the education field; they destroyed education, which is what the government wanted, and now, there are masses of ignorance that can barely read. Now, illegal wars go on for decades with not real protest.

    The invention of the I-phone, hailed as a work of genius, has kept people trapped in the space between their hand and eyes. Sesame Street was protested against by educators as a way to force learning via the 30 second commercial format. Eductors said that student would be unable to discern when faced with commercials on tv, This created the Consumer Age.

    Educators protested the hand held calculator. We learn math to learn problem solving not just numbers totaled.

    Journalism has not changed. The journalists have changed. Keep th eolder writers and editors and kick out those who cannot spell or use grammar correctly. Stop cow-towing to the decadence of our times. Push reading and writing, save handwriting, save us from a torrent of idiocy, please, and keep the format that you are using; you mirror the Newspaper that employs you. Do not be fooled.

  143. Pretty disappointing answers, or should I say non-answers.

    Most of the questions were dogded, glossed over, or given answers that obfuscated the reality that 50 people were being fired to save money (if it's not about saving money, why not keep these copy editors and hire the additional reporters as well?).


    "In fact, we are the only paper with such an elaborate system of editing."

    1. Did you ever stop to think that maybe this level of editing is why people subscribe to your paper? It can't really be the Paper of Record if it's littered with errors.

    2. You have something that your competition doesn't have, and so now you're going to get rid of it. Bravo.

    Looks like my paper will now be the Washington Post.

  144. Think twice.
    1. Ownership issue.
    2. Terrible, nasty comment sections.

  145. I'm willing to give the NYT the benefit of the doubt. The goal is to get more reporters in the field, which is important. Having fewer layers of copy editors makes sense to me. I was once a copy editor, and usually I was the only one editing an article. If the Times has two editors reading articles, that's one more than most papers. Perhaps I'm being simplistic, but a graphic may explain the change by showing (before the change and after) how many editors read a story before it goes online or into print.

  146. It seems to me that all videos here should also have a story in words. If the story would be too trivial or boring for publication that might provide editors with an important clue.

  147. This looks like a race to the bottom. Don't join it--there already are too many contenders and all of them will lose.

  148. Dear Mr. Banquet,
    I have subscribed to the NYT for many years, and I will continue to.
    Thank you for this very helpful and thorough piece. May I ask, did YOU write every answer posted in this story, or did someone, who is very familiar with your voice and opinions do it?

  149. The most important thing to me: that The New York Times survives as a healthy, relevant media organization.

    Like many others, I, too, have noticed in recent times an increase in grammatical and style errors. This is regrettable, and I'm sure that the elimination of a freestanding copy desk will exacerbate the problem.

    But sometimes hard choices must be made. The Times is not a charitable organization, and it does not have infinite resources. My bottom line is that management is doing the right thing in a changed landscape to streamline for efficiency and in favor of having more reporters doing more journalism.

    Viva La Times!

  150. I pay for quality journalism and read primarily on my phone. I have never watched video from the Times on any of my devices. No stats reported for article vs video views, would have been nice to see the numbers.

  151. I don't read the Times because I need instant gratification or instant analysis. I can look at other media to see the "hot topic" of the moment and then I have always been willing to wait for the Times to produce the in-depth and detailed analysis and reporting that make it valuable. Increasing audio and/or visual formats will not provide a useful tool for me in an environment where I can't or don't want to wear a headset or earbud. The rush to produce a story without the time to process it is what makes other news outlets less worthy and less valued. Fewer eyes means less processing, less verification.
    Another reader commented that more reporters aren't needed and I agree. Better vetting, fact-checking, verification of sources and sound editing are what make The Times my preferred choice, not knee-jerk "fast-food" journalism.

  152. THese comments say it all as far as I'm concerned. I can wait for an indepth article, knowing it has been carefully written and carefully checked before going public. If the TImes feels it must compete with "instant news" - publish a news brief with the caveat, "full story to come." A newspaper, whether online or hard copy. MUST fill in the many gaps left by the instant news that is all too often not accurate or complete. A hastily written and published news item is dangerous for our understanding of an issue, and ultimately, for our democracy. We can get all that other hoopla of videos etc. elsewhere if we REALLY want it.

  153. I'd like to suggest making your reporters and news commentators take a mandatory course in proper grammar, punctuation, and usage. I know each story, no matter how fast it needs to be published in the digital Times, will be checked for these matters, but sometimes errors slip in. I cringe whenever I see incorrect grammar, incorrect agreement of subject and predicate, incorrect use of pronouns, and other errors that someone like me, who long ago took an invaluable grammar course in college, would not make. I learned from a master, whose fist-pounding rule was "The verb To Be does not take an object" and other memorable rules of grammar. And I started my career as a copy editor for a book publishing company, then spent the next 30 years as a manuscript editor and, later, publisher, but I always revered the rules of grammar, as I thought the Times did. But your standards have been slipping in the last 5 years or so, and I wonder if the new crop of reporters has a good enough grounding in the standards the Times has always valued.

  154. For the record, I saw two copy mistakes this past week -- the first one I don't recall what it was, but the second one was a period before the next sentence, so there were two periods in a row separated by a space. .Perhaps I'm just seeing copy errors now that I'm looking for them.

  155. The errors are rife. There was a ridiculous error in New York Today just yesterday:

    "On this week in 1971...."

    I pointed it out in the comments. They didn't bother to correct it. Either people are too busy to attend to such things, or worse, they simply don't care.

    You'll forgive me for being dubious about how the Times is going to work smarter with fewer people when there are already many problems.

  156. What about author bias that is obvious in the articles? The solution for bringing the masses back to believing the MSM is to get back to "just the facts, ma'am." Have the editors remove all judgmental descriptions (e.g. 'draconian health care bill') unless those judgments are directly attributed to a source. It must be clear that the author of a news article has no in-bound bias on the story.

  157. How true.

  158. When i see/read the new additional reporters i'll believe your words. Which sound more like a marketing ploy than a journalistic concern. Sorry 'bout that.
    But i still miss david carr.

  159. I don't know about all of the other sentiments, whether more or fewer copy editors will take the Times into the 21st century, whether print will survive much longer [hey, we are all here on digital], more reporters v. copy editors. And what is the difference between an editor and a copy editor?

    One thing I do know: I too miss David Carr. What would he have said about Donny Trump; the mind reels.

  160. I will never forgive Carr for his vicious disparagement of the fired Jill Abramson, which he did by granting anonymity to sources IN THE TIMES' OWN NEWSROOM.
    I held no brief for Abramson, but the Times' own standards read "we resist granting anonymity for opinion, speculation and personal attacks." Carr's coverage of the Abramson firing, on his own and with Ravi Somaiya, violated all three dicta.
    So Abramson was a difficult boss to work for. Have none of the 2013 generation of Times' employees heard nothing of the rule of Abe Rosenthal?

  161. This is disingenuous. He says the newspaper will still copy edit, but the copy editing will be done by people who have many other duties. Having been both an editor and a copy editor, I can tell you that it's impossible to see the big picture and the small picture at the same time. And not every assigning editor is capable of copy editing. Copy editing, by its nature, needs to be done as a separate task if it is to be done accurately. Bring back the copy editors.

  162. I agree, Wondering. I spent 35 years in daily newspapers, doing a variety of newsroom jobs. "Backfield" editing (as the Times calls it) and copy editing are two different skills. It's not unusual that someone who is excellent at one is not so good at the other. I realize the Times can attract the industry's top people, but I believe they will find that the person who can do both jobs well is rare. I'm actually sure they already know this, but have decided that all of the work will get done well enough. I hope that is true.

  163. Credibility erodes in direct proportion to the number of errors published in print or online. Crowdsourcing an increasing amount of the editing process hardly inspires confidence in a loyal readership that cares about details.

    Rather than sugarcoat this choice by the current Times management, why not just call it what it is? Dumbing down.

  164. Wow! Those were A LOT of questions! I think it makes sense to restructure the newspaper to ensure the news reporting is fast enough to be timely. Three and four editors sounds like an excessive amount of editing. At the same time, I value the accuracy that comes from regular fact-checking.

  165. Who among us actually asked for or wanted video and 360 degree features? They strike me as out-of-touch-with-the-readership decisions made so that editors can tell their bosses they're "integrating technology" or something else equally buzzword-y.

    They're gimmicks and take away from the reasons I read NYT in the first place.

    Egregious typos and factual mistakes are a huge distraction from what is actually important.

  166. I think it's valuable to experiment with new technologies and see how they can improve the readers' experience. Sometimes, experiments fail.

    To cease innovating is to die.

  167. Not me, love 'em...
    all grammatical errors are a distraction, true

  168. Yes, yes, yes. If I wanted flashy, superficial videos I'd turn on the TV.

  169. Mr. Baquet,
    As you state, "[t]he goal, of course, is to have no typos or structural errors — and certainly, no more than we have today. While we are eliminating the free-standing copy desk, we are not eliminating copy editing. The main news desks will have increased numbers of editors so they can make sure that The Times remains the best-edited news organization in the world."

    Lofty sentiments. However, when the second sentence of an article on Rodin carries the cringeworthy phrase "cast in marble," one has to suspect that the writer's background - not to mention that of all those layers of editors - must be as hollow as one of the sculptor's bronzes.

    Speaking as a reader of some five decades, I do expect a little better of the Times when it comes to assigning appropriate writers. This ranks well below rookie-grade, and unfortunately it's not even funny.

  170. Just in the last week I've seen grammatical errors and typos that Times editors previously would have caught. Maybe there should be a public comment section specifically for language, letting your readers sound off when you abuse the Mother Tongue.

  171. The Standards Editor, Phil Corbett, used to run a blog once a week, called After Deadline. It was a rundown of stylistic and grammar points, often raised by readers, It had a vibrant comments section.

    It was discontinued a year or so ago.

  172. I care a lot about there being correct grammar, word usage and spelling in the Times but that's been getting worse steadily. Twenty years ago I would look hard for any errors in the paper NYT because asking my teen-age daughter how she would correct them was the main way she would pay attention to my gammar suggestions. Now something like the recent headline about Senators LAYING Low.....leaps out, no search required. So no matter who is editing, you need some experts on these matters.

  173. I agree. Sentence structure is abysmal. Whole stories are told in one looong paragraph with incorrect punctuation. It seems as though the editor's editors don't know basic grammar.

  174. The decline in copy editing and fact checking is already noticeable in the Times. This change is supposed to make it better?

  175. How much would the NYT save if they shut down the opinion section/pages?

  176. no! yikes, no :)

  177. We need more copyeditors with keen eyes on the stories and sharp alert meters that catch potential problems wth accuracy. We also need editors who know the language well and can work on grammar, punctuation, spelling, and flow. This, it appears, is an endangered species. Please reconsider....

  178. As long as we are complaining, I think the headline writers need to get a grip on reality - I find the headlines are often misleading.
    And secondly, I don't know what happened to the traditional "V" structure of news stories - heavy on info towards the front, and dwindling as you go on. It seems like all the stories are in narrative form, often with very important information buried - in fact, I find myself starting to read most NYT articles around the fourth or fifth paragraph, in order to skip all the touchy feely stuff and get to the facts. What happened to just the facts, ma'am, type journalism?

  179. You're speaking of the same people — copy editors are often the ones who write the headlines.

    And as for the second issue, if you're reading a story in narrative form, it's a feature, not a breaking news story, and doesn't have to adhere to inverted pyramid format as rigidly, or at all. Obviously some things might still slip through, though.

  180. This post is right on the money. I find myself scanning the beginning of stories for the same reason on this site as well as others. Good Lord, get to the point!! Also what's with this fascination with video? More analysis? God help us!! That's the last thing we need. I need to trim back my media diet and save some dough.

  181. The thing I was worried about reading this article was that the times would hire more "reporters" to write click bait style headlines for articles with no substance. I realize that that kind of headline works for blogs that rely on advertising, but I expect higher quality from a paper I am paying for. Overall, the Times focuses far too much on emotional stories and social reporting of dubious value. News is a list of facts attached to a headline that accurately describes those facts. The emotional appeals should be quarantined in the opinion section and clearly marked as such so I don't have to waste any time reading them.

  182. Have you ever thought of giving generous discounts and/or free digital subscriptions to folks in poorer areas of the country who may not have access to credible news sources? It seems like that would be money well spent. An investment, if you will, in a long term cultivation of a more intellectually curious readership.

  183. Please instruct both reporters and editors at all levels to distinguish between the words "take" and "bring"! Although "take" seems to have disappeared from most people's and publications' vocabulary, I find it particularly distressing to read in the Times, such lines as "When I bring my daughter to school, ..." There is an implied directional difference between "take" and "bring" that used to be observed, but now has has all but disappeared.

  184. "When I bring my daughter to school, ..."

    That's correct. The parent and child are moving in the direction of the school.

  185. Agreed, we need to keep a close eye on quality. Most importantly, the quality of story selection, framing and reporting.

    The independent copy desk didn't protect us from the fiasco of coverage last election that helped get us Trump.

    I don't know if these new changes will lead to true improvements but I'm willing to let them try. Rock on NYTimes.

  186. I have noticed an big increase in simple grammatical errors in the past week or two. I have also noticed increases in unsupported "facts" and the omission of details which would make better stories. Your policy is failing.

  187. It would be a good idea to do the statistical analysis on whether this change is successful, in terms of how many corrections, on average, the Times has to issue for each story that is published? The fact that you say that no analysis is needed is extremely worrying - as much as you say that this is about "shifting" resources, and not cutting them, it is clear from the plan you have announced that fewer resources will be put into checking the factual accuracy and grammatical consistency of stories before they are published. I would personally prefer that the Times publish a story minutes after another news organization, but have the entire story written correctly. Otherwise, you're just like any other news organization.

    Anecdotally, it seems that there are more corrections being issued on stories than I have seen in the past, particularly of the sort of errors that proper copy editing would catch - misspelled names, incorrect titles, out-of-date information about companies. This is to say nothing of the related issue of unlisted changes that are made to online articles and their headlines over time, a practice which I strongly disagree with, since it implies that I should have to re-read articles.

    It doesn't seem that the management of the Times is considering these issues well or thoroughly. Readers expect that any changes being made will result in a better product, and many of us struggle to see how this will make the Times better, only faster.

  188. Please provide everyone at the NYT a globe. And a page about Magellan.

    It appears they all now have only flat wall maps. For matters affecting multiple countries, continents, islands, oceans, they keep saying ACROSS the world. Upgrade their understanding so they say AROUND the world.

  189. Really? That's what you're concerned about?

  190. I read the Times for accurate reporting and sharp analysis. Speed is secondary (one can always get quick, often erroneous, stories elsewhere).
    I do not read it for things moving around on the page, for the latest celebrity gossip, or for personal "can this marriage be saved" stories.
    You say you will hire more reporters: good!

  191. In October, 2014, Margaret Sullivan queried Dean Baquet about the proliferation of articles with anonymous sourcing. About this, Sullivan wrote, and quoted Baquet: "Mr. Baquet said that, until that point, he had not spoken forcefully to department heads about the practice but that he intended to do so at their next meeting. He said that the use of confidential sources is sometimes necessary and important. 'They’re never going to go away,' he said, 'but we need to limit it more than we do.'"
    Given the reality that there is much more anonymous sourcing in the Times than was present in 2014, here are questions for Baquet to answer:
    "Did you ever speak 'forcefully' to department heads?"
    "How do you square that proliferation with an actual written policy that 'anonymity is granted as a last resort?'"
    "Why have you been unwilling or unable to 'limit it more than we do?'"

  192. It seems that Dean Baquet, with the obvious assent of Junior Sulzburger, has chosen backfielders over copy editors.
    With that context, I offer this article from Michael Cieply, who spent 12 years at the Times, as a correspondent and editor.
    Cieply is well positioned to contrast the reporter driven, bottom up journalism of the LA Times versus the editor driven, top down journalism of the NY Times. Cieply states that backfielders and upper level editors task reporters with assignments designed to further "the narrative" that the editors set.
    Choosing backfielders, who "shape and assign" stories over copy editors, who check for accuracy in writing, and who fact check as well, is a pretty strong confirmation of Cieply's thesis. If backfelders are "shaping" the story, and they are part of determining "the narrative," isn't their ability to fact check subject to obvious conflict of interest?
    Mr. Baquet, if you have the best reporters in the world, why are they not encouraged to dig up their own stories?

  193. Yeah, that was quite brazen/lazy/telling.

  194. It's pretty hard not to see this as just more dumbing down of the media, which is truly terrifying. The New York Times has long been a quantum leap above the rest of journalism in America, but I've noticed its tone slowly change to be more casual and chatty and less rigorous, and while the reporting tends to be objective, the choice of stories that are run seem to cater more and more to an affluent, liberal "Upper West Side" type audience, rather than to the general public. This makes it hard for me to trust what I read in the Times, not becuase it's untrue, but because of the implicit selection bias of what's chosen as newsworthy. Of course the Times would never admit to dumbing itself down; that would inevitably be couched in the type of language used here. I would much rather get my news a little bit later than real time, and know that it has been carefully edited and rigorously checked. I'd rather have good writing than videos and multimedia presentations. The internet is full of half-baked news videos. The Times is supposed to set the standard for substance. You should stick to the written word, and you should do it better than everyone else, as you always have. Your budget problems will certainly not be solved by shortchanging quality and driving serious readers away.

  195. And and
    And another great newspaper bites the dust. Mr. Baquet, your plan for changes won't work, and the editorial hierarchy of the Times knows it. Oh, and no thanks for making good on Trump's claim that "The Times is failing." Those of us who have spent our careers as newspaper reporters, editors, columnists and, god bless their cranky hides, copy editors, shudder when we hear our otherwise respected leaders obfuscate grim reality with the kind of transparent warnings Dean Baquet offers here.

  196. Some days, reading the paper, I think that the NYT has been published with little or no copy editing. So many errors! I was surprised one day to find myself feeling personally ashamed of the Gray Lady, our national newspaper of record.
    It is used as a teaching tool for our children; it represents this country to the world. Please acknowledge the decrease in its quality with humility and do what needs to be done to fix it.