Revolt Brewing Inside NYT As Top Editor Calls Out Thin-Skinned Reporters

REUTERS/Jeenah Moon/File Photo

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
Font Size:

Staffers at The New York Times drafted a letter to executive editor Joe Kahn over his allegedly “dismissive” remarks to young reporters, Semafor reported.

Kahn said in recent interviews that young journalists are not “fully prepared for what we are asking our people to do, which is to commit themselves to the idea of independent journalism,” according to Semafor. He further told the outlet that the newsroom is “not a safe space” for staffers.

“Young adults who are coming up through the education system are less accustomed to this sort of open debate, this sort of robust exchange of views around issues they feel strongly about may have been the case in the past,” the editor told the Wall Street Journal.

Staffers have argued there is no room for an exchange of ideas and perspectives to protect the “empathy of [their] journalism,” and accused Kahn’s comments of being “broad generalizations that reflect a poor understanding of the people who make up your newsroom,” Semafor reported.

“Instead of engaging in robust exchange, we are increasingly discouraged from speaking up at all,” staff wrote in the letter. “We are told that it is only appropriate to express concerns or even earnest questions in one-on-one conversations with people who outrank us. “Far from open mindedness, this policy communicates the opposite: an unwillingness to tolerate dissent.”

“Your staff is not full of activists trying to impose their views on the report. Rather than tribalism or ideology, those who voice concerns do so in the interest of accuracy and fairness — to make The New York Times into the best version of itself,” the letter continued. (RELATED: NYT Writes Article About Its Own Employees Revolting Against The NYT’s Decision To Publish Tom Cotton’s Op-Ed) 

The Times has recently endured inner turmoil. A group of 200 staffers crafted a letter to express their opposition to publishing articles criticizing sex change operations for minors in February 2023, leading Kahn to send a memo condemning the employees for calling out certain staffers by name and violating their ethics policy.

James Bennett, a former editor, resigned from the paper in 2020 after angered staffers expressed outrage over an op-ed published by Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, where he called for U.S. military personnel to interfere in the Black Lives Matter riots. He wrote in a December essay that the Times’ leadership holds a left-wing bias and a double standard against conservatives.