But when you have a job probing for weaknesses on the mission to improve quality, you're likely to tick a few people off. Brisbane did so with his column on Saturday when he questioned the Gray Lady shifting more and more resources to DealBook, a section within The Times' business coverage that started out as a newsletter.
The expansion last November added 11 journalists, swelling the DealBook staff to 15, a large investment for a newspaper company in today’s straitened circumstances. To celebrate, The Times had a party at the Four Seasons restaurant that was attended by Wall Street’s elite, some of them representing charter advertisers like Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital.
But the new DealBook has a strangely precrash feel to it.
He goes on to write that DealBook has a laser focus on all things Wall Street, even when it delves into silly things like George Soros' problems with his girlfriend, a possible reality show about wives of Wall Street titans, and chronicling "microscopically" the lavish birthday parties thrown by billionaires.
Brisbane says that although DealBook does some great work, it might not be worth the investment that The Times is making in it. "I was left wondering whether The Times should have spent its money not on expanding DealBook but on enlarging its stable of journalists aimed at the wider subjects of international banks and sovereign debt."
Times business editor Larry Ingrassia really, really didn't like seeing his section getting questioned in the paper. Poynter obtained a memo in which Ingrassia goes after Brisbane. "For the first time, I felt that a public editor column was so absurd and so poorly reasoned that I felt compelled to write a response, which I have asked Art Brisbane to post on his blog," he writes.
On DealBook: The addition of reporters has enabled The Times to expand its coverage of finance, not just the stories that you cited about what’s happening on Wall Street but public service journalism stories as well — like the banking industry’s aggressive lobbying against some of the stricter regulations approved by Congress in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown or the battle to limit the power of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to name just a couple of important running stories to which DealBook reporters have made major contributions.
Sorry, but when you start with a wrong premise and ignore the record, you end up with a wrong conclusion.
Whew. Them's fighting words. Still, even with colleagues trashing your work, it's got to be an awesome job.