This week, New York Times Dining section editor Pete Wells is being forced to answer the questions of Times readers in Talk of the Newsroom. Wells—a relative newbie to the paper, as he arrived from Details in October, 2006—apparently hasn't learned about the Times' code of omerta. In response to a reader's inquiry as to how large the Dining section staff is, Pete does the unthinkable. He answers.
...I am still amazed that just a few people are able to do all this work. We have two critics, Frank Bruni on restaurants and Eric Asimov on wine. And we have three staff reporters, Marian Burros, Kim Severson and Julia Moskin, who's on leave at the moment. Then there are three freelancers who write virtually every week, Florence Fabricant, Mark Bittman and Peter Meehan.According to some independently verified arithmetic sent in by a concerned citizen, that means 73% of this week's section was written by freelancers. Or in other words, the paper only has cover benefits and vacation time for 28% of the writers featured in the section. Hey, it's just like working on the internets!