does some course work nyt

does some course work nyt

The Impact of New York Times Journalism on Society

1. Introduction to the New York Times and its Role in Journalism

The Times, as a major media business, is powerfully significant in a very different way. It is, indeed, increasingly difficult to imagine an informed and engaged society – one that is able to choose its leaders, address its problems, understand its history, and recognize its promise – without the benefit of a free and independent press. And within the press, it is equally difficult to imagine a nationally and internationally recognized newspaper that does not match its editorial content to the highest standards of reporting, analysis, interpretation, and relevance. The conversation that follows – and that will unfold over the months leading up to the tenth anniversary of The New York Times’s public offering – is intended to help establish accountability for the kinds of promises The Times can and should be expected to keep going forward.

On January 1, 1897, in a New Year’s letter to its many readers, The New York Times observed, “One cannot escape from the truth that the influence of a newspaper is due to the genuine force it puts in its words.” More than a century later, The Times remains committed to its founding promise and to the enduring power of those words. It is the legacy and the promise of good journalism, more than anything else, that distinguishes The Times from any other media organization and that differentiates The Times of today from the many predecessors and imitators who have come and gone. And it is the legacy and the promise of good journalism that determine The Times’s significance for society. Major businesses are powerfully significant to society in good part because of their impact on financial markets, local communities, national and world economies, and the daily lives of employees and customers.

2. Historical Evolution of the New York Times’s Reporting Style

A number of reasons have driven and reinforced the evolution of journalism at The New York Times. Some have been due to internal developments at the newspaper, oftentimes coping with new generations of publishers and journalists. Change at the paper also has been driven by changes in the state of technology leading to the development of more powerful reporting tools, most notably photography in the late 19th and 20th centuries, and computer, digital, and internet technologies more recently. The newspaper has had its influence not only on society but also on the practice and evolution of journalism more generally, evolving what was in the early 20th century a series of facts flows to the many-to-many conversations driven by online platforms in the 21st. The Times news reporting style is the parents of what we know today as news.

The New York Times has developed a distinctive approach to news reporting. Moreover, this approach has evolved over time as the leadership of the newspaper has changed and as the state of journalism, technology, and society around the newspaper has evolved. Key elements of this reporting style include a strong faith in the communicative power of fact, data, and reporting that includes voices from all the relevant sides of a story; a view of the world built on the spirit of cosmopolitan tolerance that views societies as working best when their members can communicate freely with each other free of censorship, discrimination, or violence; and the sense of news as defined borders and cycles, the who-what-where-when-why of the event-driven or reference-only story, events like elections, disasters, significant speeches, meetings, and filings, that are expected to happen at a given time or soon thereafter and will drive the news. These elements serve as a foundation for value-added analysis, commentary, and curation from diverse perspectives. Over the course of the newspaper’s history, this reporting style has grown more consistent, more comprehensive, faster, and much less topical.

3. Case Studies: Notable Investigative Journalism by the New York Times

The Pentagon Papers – Over forty years ago, the New York Times decided to publish a set of top-secret documents prepared by the Department of Defense during the late 1960s at the request of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Due to the fact that it was concerned with the role the United States played in Vietnam, the confidential documents combined equal parts of policy analysis and studies of the history of the war of the early 1960s. As a result, when the New York Times went to press with its story that leaked the secret documents, both the United States government sought and obtained a nearly unprecedented prior restraint (or an injunction) that prevented the New York Times from publishing the remaining documents on the ground that it was an absolute privilege of the United States to decide what the American public could or could not read.

While the work of the New York Times is vast and all-encompassing, there are specific areas of focus and a few great, long-winded pieces with which I can speak of with incredible magnitude. As a result, the case studies that follow contextualize how the New York Times has informally partnered with the public to pressure governments into policy supported by facts and data. At its core, the combination of the ongoing consumption of New York Times journalism with pressure from the public aims to serve the public’s needs and inspire informed government action. In other words, the following case studies integrate the impact of the New York Times’ journalism with the multi-step process of public pressure towards real change, since the connection of the ongoing consumption of journalism with community action is the backbone of this work. Over the years, the following case studies have had the power to force the hands of governments due to their contents and facts.

4. The Influence of New York Times Reporting on Public Opinion and Policy Making

The Times opens windows on the world, introducing us to the largest number of people on every level from every corner, showing us not only what has happened, but also what is happening everywhere, offering its own opinions on those matters, and making possible an almost instant expression of our own opinions to officials and to newspapers in foreign countries. That makes the encouragement of commercial competitors seem dangerous to our national health. The new electronic technology has an enormous, even revolutionary, potential for good: for easing the burden of serious housework, for preventing waste of declining years, for controlling and, we hope, eliminating pollution-ridden poverty. Of course, there are huge differences on what should constitute “good” and on who should define and deliver it.

The very first issue of this newspaper, on September 18, 1851, proclaimed, “We propose to issue a liberal, independent, and widely circulating newspaper, devoted to the service of the people. … Our columns shall be devoted to the promotion of the best interests and truest doctrines of the Democratic faith.” More than a century hence, the explicit commitment to the principles of any political party has been quietly excised, but the unspoken commitment to the public interest remains, and it is still expressed largely as public discourse.

5. Conclusion: Future Prospects and Challenges for the New York Times

These resources provide some basis upon which it can continue to operate, perhaps in new institutional forms. There may also be entirely novel and different ways of mounting financially well-supported high-quality journalism in the future. Any organization, great or small, criminal or altruistic, that has the power to penetrate so deeply into other organizations and individual lives can abuse that power. Information is at least as subject to perverse incentives as, say, money or power. But over time, the New York Times has developed considerable robustness within its own organizations to protect against such abuses. These include norms of accuracy, standards of evidence, and a recognition of the journalists’ obligation to contribute to the public understanding. No other institution in society (with the possible exception of the education system itself) is better equipped to keep the Times honest and adhere to its highest principles. And the (also politically diverse) audience provides a powerful force for both oversight and appetite.

We believe that the New York Times, due to its capacity and willingness to invest in high-quality journalism, can continue to have a profound impact on American society and the world and contribute to increasing understanding among nations. For the past century, the predominant form of media has been the daily newspaper. But as technology, demographics, and culture change in the 21st century, the role of newspapers is now uncertain. While we have no special expertise in solving the challenges faced by newspapers, the New York Times and other leading newspapers have some special resources, including well-established journalistic expertise; a global system of newsgathering; a defined set of journalistic values about accuracy, truth-seeking, fairness, respect, and public service; and an institutional configuration that will make it possible to monetize the specialized services it provides.

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