Burying The Lede

I was curious about what was happening in Iran this morning in the wake of this weekend’s massive protests over the disputed election results. So I logged on and went to NYTimes.com. The lead story carried a Tehran dateline, the byline of two Times reporters, and news that, for the most part, was several hours old (although it appeared to have been fairly recently re-topped).

iran-electionThe off-lead, below a photo, was a “news analysis” piece by Times executive editor Bill Keller and another reporter, also datelined Tehran and pushing a conclusion about the election’s outcome–that incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had emerged with a stronger hand than before–that, while perhaps reasonable on Saturday was by early Monday clearly worth a second thought.

I’ve spent 20 years writing for daily, weekly and monthly publications (albeit not as a foregin correspondent), and the last few years writing for the Web, so I know something about what it takes to turn a fact-checked and edited story around. And within those constraints, the Times reporters and editors were doing a fairly decent job keeping up with the fast-moving events. But overall, NYTimes.com was blowing it, and for the worst possible reasons. Read More »