By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
One Times insider said he believed that the Columbia story may have been the education beat reporter's first encounter with such a request from a source. OK, anything is possible. But what about her immediate editors? Isn't it a part of their job to have full knowledge of the paper's code of standards and ethics? Actually, my reporting indicates that editors were the ones who caught the lapsesenior editors who called a halt when the unholy arrangement with Columbia was reported to them at the late-afternoon Page One meetingand ordered the staff to seek broader reaction to the Columbia report. The Times did the right thing. It corrected its mistake and deserves credit for that. Finally, what about Columbia? What was its administration thinking when it insisted upon these limitations on reporting? This is a university that boasts it has the best journalism school in the country. How will it explain this ethics violation to that student body? Where is the university's mea culpa?
Here is Columbia's response; readers can decide whether it satisfies them.
"We wanted the report [initially] to speak for itself without the interpretations or responses of others commenting on it . . . not through the lens of others. . . . It was not a condition, it was a request. We asked them [the Times] not to contact anyone who had not yet seen the report. We wanted to protect its confidentiality.
"As you said [when I told her the gist of the Voice article], this is a volcanic and polarizing issue. . . . We all learn from experiences that there are unintended consequences. The intentions were perfectly honorable. No one was thinking of the journalism issue [at the time]."
More than once in the interview, Brown said that, in hindsight, "we would have done it differently."