The New York Times Makes Comical Statements About the Internet, 1995-2009

The New York Times has issued a formal set of standards for their in-house blogs, marking the first time blogs have ever had standards (No "snark"). The latest in a rich history of technomazing ideas!

What should be avoided in all of them is any hint of racist, sexist or religious bias, or any suggestion of nasty, snide, sarcastic, or condescending tone - "snark." If something could easily fit in a satirical Web site for young adults, it probably shouldn't go into the news pages of nytimes.com.

That's fine with us, New York Times, because this is the reason we will continue to dominate your ass in the "young adults who enjoy satirical Web sites" category.

Contractions, colloquialisms and even slang are, generally speaking, more allowable in blogs than in print. But obscenity and vulgarity are not, and of course unverified assertions of fact, blind pejorative quotes, and other lapses in journalistic standards don't ever belong in blogs.

That's just the attitude I'd expect from NYT standards editor Greg Whitney or whatever, yo, the same motherfucker that a dude I know said he heard—direct fucking quote—"keeps a totally messy desk and brings in brown bag lunches of some nasty food that stinks up the place." I swear I heard it's true. Now I'm off to guesstimate someone's age and put it directly into a story without verifying it.

Also, be advised: "if the comments [submitted to an NYT blog] contain vulgarity, obscenity, offensive personal attacks, say that somebody 'sucks,' or are incoherent," they won't be approved. Here: the opposite.

This isn't the first time the NYT has set forth hilarious statements about the internet. Nieman Lab dug up a transcript of Pinch Sulzberger talking at an "On-Line" news conference way back in 1995, just after the NYT had started putting its front-page stories online for free. The parts that he got right now look tragic; the parts he got wrong now look comical, like his brush-off of the idea that NYT reporters might one day be inundated with email by wingnuts. Ridiculous!:

MR. SULZBERGER: Are you making the assumption that we're going to put all of our reporters online? Is that the assumption built into the question, that every day, all of our reporters will have hundreds and hundreds of emails that they've got to respond to?

Pinch, please, a kicker—some quote that will feel like digging up a time capsule, the contents of which would make anyone in the newspaper industry cry—can you do that for us?

People say they are worried about losing advertising to the Internet, and I am worried about that, too. But I also know that if the tradeoff is losing 10 percent of my advertising and not having to pay my newsprint and distribution costs, I am vastly, vastly aided from a financial point of view.

Well, he had a 50/50 chance of that being true.

[NYT; Nieman]