Panel's suggestions to up 'Times' credibility spark some concerns

NEW YORK: The New York Times is pondering recommendations from an internal panel on how to improve communication and build credibility with its readers.

NEW YORK: The New York Times is pondering recommendations from an internal panel on how to improve communication and build credibility with its readers.

A 14-page report released last week says the newspaper needs improvement in its communication with readers, reliance on unidentified sources, and separation of news and opinion.

Lloyd Trufelman, president of media specialty shop Trylon Communications, noted that the recommendations show a new willingness on behalf of the Gray Lady to address its image.

"The Jayson Blair [incident] and [what] happened during the election was an aberration," he said. "The fact that they are bending over backward now to ... make sure their internal processes and procedures are more stringent than they were before only should be applauded."

But some of the proposals trouble media watchers, specifically increasing public access to "key source documents, interview transcripts, and databases."

"That's the equivalent of putting reporter's notes out there," said Charlotte Grimes, Knight chair of political reporting at the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. "There's a difference between transparency and just throwing everything you know indiscriminately out into the public."

Some of the suggestions appear to deviate from the intent of a news organization, which is to challenge people, she added.

"We're translating credibility to mean pleasing people, and I'm not entirely sure we either can or should do that," she said.

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