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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 5/27/2003 8:29:38 PM EDT
[size=4]Suspended N.Y. Times Reporter Says He'll Quit[/size=4] [size=3]Rick Bragg Decries 'Poisonous Atmosphere'[/size=3] Month after month, year after year, Rick Bragg said, his mission was to "go get the dateline," even when that meant leaning heavily on the reporting of others. [b]"My job was to ride the airplane and sleep in the hotel," the New York Times correspondent said yesterday from his New Orleans home. "I have dictated stories from an airport after writing the story out in longhand on the plane[/b] that I got from phone interviews and then was applauded by editors for 'working magic.' . . . Those things are common at the paper. Most national correspondents will tell you they rely on stringers and researchers and interns and clerks and news assistants." But now what he calls a "poisonous atmosphere" has descended on the Times -- one that prompted the paper to suspend Bragg for two weeks for practices he considers utterly routine -- and the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter says he will quit in the next few weeks. "Obviously, I'm taking a bullet here," he said of the suspension imposed last week. "Anyone with half a brain can see that." But, he said, "I'm too mad to whine about it." In the 3 1/2 weeks since reporter Jayson Blair resigned in the face of evidence that he had fabricated and plagiarized at least 36 stories, the Times has been going through a wrenching upheaval, with staffers openly complaining about the management style of Executive Editor Howell Raines. The floodgates have been opened for tips and complaints about other reporters, whose work is suddenly being scrutinized through a post-Blair prism. And Bragg, a Raines favorite whose evocative pieces about hardscrabble Southern life have produced plenty of fans and more than a few detractors, has become a particular target. [b]Bragg freely admits he did little firsthand reporting[/b] for the June 2002 story about Florida oystermen that prompted an editor's note last week. That note said credit should have been shared with freelancer J. Wes Yoder, who was hired by Bragg as a volunteer assistant and spent four days in the town of Apalachicola. "I went and got the dateline," Bragg said. "The reporting was done -- there was no reason to linger." He recalls one Times editor telling him: "The problem with this, Rick, is that you wrote it too good." Such Times stringers and interns "should get more credit for what they do," Bragg said, but in "taking feeds" from such assistants, "I have never even thought of whether or not that is proper. Maybe there is something missing in me. . . . "I will take it from a stringer. I will take it from an intern. I will take it from a news assistant. [b]If a clerk does an interview for me, I will use it. I'm going to send people to sit in for me if I don't have time to be there. It is not unusual to send someone to conduct an interview you don't have time to conduct. It's what we do.[/b] The rest of the story can be found here: [url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42091-2003May26.html[/url]
Link Posted: 5/27/2003 8:33:32 PM EDT
Man, it just keeps getting better. I am really savoring the black eyes the Timnes keeps racking up.
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