N.Y. Times Still Opposed To News Council Idea p. 8

By: M.L. STEIN N.Y. Times Still Opposed To News Council Idea p. 8

THE NEW YORK Times is still opposed to the idea of a news council judging by executive editor Joseph Lelyveld's views as expressed in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review (March/April issue).
The Times was a major holdout in the formation of the old National News Council in the 1970s.
Questioned by CJR's Evan Jenkins, Lelyveld said the paper has a "deep concern that voluntary regulation can lead, bit by bit, to more serious kinds of regulation."
The Times, he added, believes strongly in press standards and tries hard to uphold them, but doesn't want to be "monitored by a lot of self-appointed people."
CBS's Mike Wallace, who was interviewed in the same issue, departed from the network's longtime opposition to press councils, arguing that they "just make common sense."
"No one," he continued, "is suggesting that anybody go to jail. No one is suggesting that there is a money award. All it does is hold up to public scrutiny a piece in a newspaper, or a radio report, or a broadcast report and say, 'You know something? We've looked into this. This was good, this was good but that was bad . . . and over all it seems not to be the best kind of journalism imaginable. . . . ' "
The media, Wallace asserted, is guilty of a "certain degree of arrogance."
He suggested it might be a good idea to, once a year, let the public see "the most egregious journalistic performances" in print and broadcast.
Lelyveld said the Times would not bar news council findings from its pages, but they would not not be covered in the same manner as the courts.
The councils, he asserted, are not courts but "kind of a glorified town meeting."
?(E&P Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com)
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher March 29, 1997)


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