Columnist Group Criticizes ‘NY Times’

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The National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) is “befuddled” that The New York Times spiked two sports columns disagreeing with the paper’s editorial stance.

“While the Times may well be taking a principled stand on the issue of whether women should be admitted to Augusta National Golf Club, it should also recognize the important principle that a newspaper informs its readers best when it provides a diversity of opinion,” said NSNC President Mike Leonard, who writes for The Herald-Times of Bloomington, Ind.

Leonard added in his statement that Times Managing Editor Gerald Boyd “makes the point that sports columnist Dave Anderson’s piece mentioned the editorial page opinion of the Times and therefore constituted ‘intramural quarreling of the kind that is unseemly and self-absorbed.’ He also writes, ‘We are an edited newspaper: that is one of our strengths and we believe our staff takes pride in it.'”

If the Times had a problem with Anderson’s mention of the paper’s editorial position, said Leonard, “the editing of that reference would have left the columnist’s argument intact and avoided this purported ‘intramural quarreling.'”

Leonard concluded: “Why would such a simple edit be a problem for a paper that hangs its reputation on the quality of its editing? Was this small issue — the real or imagined appearance of self-absorption — worth the slap in the face it delivered to a veteran columnist by refusing to publish his work?”

The NSNC (http://www.columnists.com) is a 450-member organization founded in 1977.

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