Friday, June 03, 2005

Reader speaks out

Reader Brenda Ross sends a copy of a letter she was hoping Romanesko would print:
Excuse me, am I hallucinating, or has a blog--the "David M Blog" ( totally wiped up the floor with the media on a major story, and nobody is pretending to notice?

David M broke the story that Columbia Journalism Review has been secretly run by Victor Navasky, publisher of The Nation magazine. Navasky's involvement in CJR raises a host of disturbing questions--absolutely none of which has been raised by the mainstream media.

Among them: Is it proper for a person with such an identifiable political position, one that some might say is toward the far end of the spectrum, to play such a crucial role at a mainstream journalism review that purports to be dispassionate and unbiased? How can conservatives feel confidence in CJR with Navasky in such a role? Furthermore, doesn't the secrecy surrounding Navasky's role smack of "guilty knowledge"?

Another question that troubles me: How does this impact -- and how has this impacted-- upon CJR's treatment of controversies involving The Nation? Neither the CJR website nor print publication has touched the recent controversy surrounding the discovery that Ian Williams, The Nation's UN Correspondent, performed media training and other work for the UN while covering the UN. Did Navasky's role at CJR have any impact upon CJR's failure to cover that story? And even if CJR does get around to covering this story, won't whatever it does be tainted by Navasky's hidden role at CJR?

These are just some of the serious and troubling questions surrounding this issue, and so far they have only been explored in what is sometimes dismissed as the "blogosphere." That alone says a great deal about the journalism profession, none of it at all favorable.
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