OLD Media Moves

NYT tech columnist talks conflicts among tech reporters

September 22, 2009

The NYTPicker site has a transcript of an interview that New York Times technology columnist David Pogue did during the weekend where he responded to criticism about the lack of disclosure of his conflicts of interest.

NYTPicker writes, “LaPorte had been grilling Pogue on the points raised in Hoyt’s column, that the popular columnist might be guilty of an apparent conflict of interest by writing books about new products while reviewing them for the NYT.

“That’s when Pogue seized the opportunity to point out that his counterparts at other top newspapers — including one who had criticized Pogue for his conflicts — were guilty of the same transgression:

“In point of fact this is a problem with the industry. And not so much me alone….It’s about context. Dwight [Silverman] admitted to you that he writes for the Houston Chronicle. And he wrote a Windows book at the same time that he was writing about Windows for the paper. ….and Ed Baig, who writes for an even bigger newspaper than I do, he writes for USA Today, the equivalent column, he wrote Macs for Dummies, Palm Pre: The Missing Manual, he wrote an iPhone book at the same time as he was reviewing those. Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal makes, I think The New Yorker said, $1 million a year off of the D Conferences, where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates make exclusive appearances, the very guys whose products he reviews.

“So it’s a growing problem. You’d probably have a hard time finding someone who doesn’t have a problem like this. I’m not going to say there’s no visible conflict of interest. Obviously there is one. The only thing I can say in my defense is – our defense – is, does that conflict of interest affect the writing? Does it affect the conclusions?”

Read more here.

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