Sunday, June 26, 2011

Normally Dull WaPo Ombuds Column Drops a Journalistic Bombshell

In what is otherwise a dull, dull, dull column, the WaPo Ombudsman tells the story behind the story of Jose Antonio Vargas, a former WaPo reporter
who confessed in a compelling 4,000-word piece for the New York Times last week that he was an illegal immigrant from the Philippines, brought to California by his grandparents when he was 12. In his rags-to-riches story is a disclosure that Peter Perl, The Post’s assistant managing editor for personnel, knew of Vargas’s illegal status when Vargas was a Post employee from 2004 to 2009. Perl kept it a secret.

Vargas, who was part of a Pulitzer-winning reporting team in 2007, brought his first-person confessional to this paper in late March, and Post editors spent many weeks editing and fact-checking and getting Vargas to do additional work for the free-lance story. Editors described the editing and vetting as unusually thorough and exacting.

Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli suddenly killed the story in mid-June.
You should read both the story in the Times as well as the Ombuds report in the WaPo. It's a glimpse into how the mainstream media treads a fine line between objectivity and subjectivity.

No comments:

Post a Comment