Media top headlines April 27
The Washington Post ending their Biden fact-checking database and more round out today’s top media headlines
The New York Times has announced it will retire use of the term “Op-Ed” to describe opinion pieces written by outside authors, and will instead label them as “guest essays.”
The Times opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury explained the change in a piece published Monday, saying the term originally referred to content “opposite the editorial page,” and since “millions” read the Times digitally, there is no “geographical ‘Op-Ed’” for them.
“It is a relic of an older age and an older print newspaper design,” she added.
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Kingsbury stated later in the piece that “spaces where voices can be heard and respected” were disappearing amid the change in where people go to exchange ideas, citing the presence of social media, and that the Times was “not an unthinking assembly line or disinterested referees,” but wanted submissions that would “surprise” them on unfamiliar topics.
“Terms like ‘Op-Ed’ are, by their nature, clubby newspaper jargon; we are striving to be far more inclusive in explaining how and why we do our work. In an era of distrust in the media and confusion over what journalism is, I believe institutions — even ones with a lot of esteemed traditions — better serve their audiences with direct, clear language. We don’t like jargon in our articles; we don’t want it above them, either,” she said.
Kingsbury, who was elevated to her position in 2020 following the resignation of James Bennet amid the internal uproar over an op-ed written by Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, took a less welcoming tone over the summer, telling staff to alert her if anything published in the opinion section “gives you the slightest pause.”
Shortly after Kingsbury’s promotion, opinion columnist and editor Bari Weiss resigned, saying she was bullied by colleagues who called her “a Nazi and a racist,” and that “showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.”
Given the newspaper’s liberal bent and the drama that has gripped its opinion section over the past year, the decision drew ridicule in some corners.
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“Maybe NYT is dropping “op-ed” because so many of its news stories have become full of their reporters’ unattributed opinions,” quipped investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson on Twitter.
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