NYT’s Ingrassia knew about Goldman Sachs op-ed before publication
By Alex Barinka
Larry Ingrassia, business editor at The New York Times, said he knew about the paper’s Op-Ed column called “Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs” before it was published.
Ingrassia was asked at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers‘ conference in Indianapolis whether he knew of the scathing column and how he was prepared to cover the fallout.
After a lengthy pause, Ingrassia said there is a “separation of church and state” between the editorial and news desks. Ingrassia was acting as the moderator for the SABEW Gary Klott Memoral Ethics Symposium.
Greg Smith, London-Based executive director of equity derivatives at Goldman, publicly derided the culture at the firm in his column that announced his resignation.
“I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal e-mail,” the March 14 column said.
“Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murder) you will be promoted into a position of influence,” Smith wrote.
The op-ed piece spurred several news articles for the Times including those headlined “Public Exit From Goldman Raises Doubts Over a New Ethic” and “With Visit to Goldman, Bloomberg Says, Chin Up.” The Times’ DealBook also published several pieces relating to the column.
Ingrassia said that he does not deal with opinion pieces unless the author accidentally sends something to him. In those cases, he said he forwards the work to the op-ed desk.
“I can understand why somebody would want to articulate their point of view directly,” Ingrassia said about columns like Smith’s, and stories from the business desk have been sparked by opinion pieces.
Though as a news editor, Ingrassia did say that he would prefer news to be broken in a news article.
Barinka is a UNC-Chapel Hill business journalism student attending the SABEW conference.