NEW YORK: With the Judy Miller/ CIA leak fiasco playing out in headlines and blogs across the country, The New York Times is once again acknowledging fundamental journalistic oversights and pledging change.
But a review of recommendations to earn back reader trust from an internal report earlier this year shows that even some of them have yet to be implemented.
Composed by an internal panel following the dismissal of Jayson Blair, the report, "Preserving Our Readers Trust," identified a need for improvement in the following areas:
dialogue with publics, improving use of sources, unidentified sources, reducing factual errors, and the news/opinion divide.
The panel recommended the Times "set up mechanisms to give readers greater access to key source documents, interview transcripts, and databases used in stories and graphics." But a search on Nytimes.com did not yield any relevant transcripts or databases.
Another suggestion, designed to facilitate contact between readers and reporters, has also not come to fruition. The report suggested, "[E]very article on Nytimes.com should include a link that lets readers contact the reporter." As of last week, those links were not yet present.
Other recommendations centered on the topic that has been at the center of the Miller saga: identifying anonymous sources.
"When anonymity is unavoidable, reporters and editors must be more diligent in describing sources more fully," the report read.
The public and the Times criticized Miller after she revealed that she agreed to identify I. Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's recently-indicted former chief of staff, as a former Hill staffer.
Toby Usnik, PR director for The New York Times Company, said that the paper has "moved toward" panel recommendations regarding anonymous sources. However, other specific questions were not answered by press time.