Thursday, September 08, 2005

Quick Navasky/CJR update

In the September/October issue of Columbia Journalism Review (see the letters section, page 5, not available online), the publication finally pinpoints when Victor Navasky started overseeing the publication: August of last year. Here are the editors' words:
A brief history: last summer Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columia's J-school, appointed Victor Navasky to oversee CJR... Navasky did not go on the masthead until a year later.
The above statement is one of several of note on the Navasky kerfuffle in the current issue. I will write more on the other statements later. For now let's focus on this statement of the timing of Navasky's appointment. To review, Navasky ran the publication, without attribution, for virtually a year.

One immediate implication is that CJR apparently misled reporters around when Navasky assumed his role. Some examples:
  • The New York Sun dated Navasky's assumption of his role to roughly December 2004. In a June 2, 2005, article in the Sun, Jacob Gershman wrote,
    In the past six months, after an extended period of negotiations with Mr. Lemann, Mr. Navasky has quietly taken the reins of CJR....
  • Fox News appeared to date Navasky's role to early 2005. Fox's Brit Hume reported on June 2, 2005:
    According to CJR executive editor Michael Hoyt, Navasky has 'gradual[ly]' been taking on a key role over the past few months, a role, Hoyt says, that's higher than his own.
  • And this blog, in its initial story (which CJR has never sought to correct in any way) on the topic on May 31 of this year reported,
    Hoyt said Navasky had been with CJR for a couple of months in an incrementally responsible role.
Why did CJR mislead reporters into thinking (and writing) that Navasky's stint overseeing the publication without appearing on the masthead was shorter than it really was? For the moment I leave that to my readers to answer.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on CJR's recent statements.
Note: This is the first of three planned posts on the current issue of CJR. The second post is "Navasky/CJR update, part 2."