Friday, December 28, 2007

Correction: Brian Stelter, for the record...

Hey, we don't like it when the big "mainstream" news organizations stonewall us with their arrogance when we ask for a correction-- we're not through with you yet, LA Times and all your "readers representatives"!-- so we must take a moment to correct something we wrote about Brian Stelter, the New York Times media writer who we slammed and took more than a couple of cheap shots at for writing favorable stories about the syndicated television series based on the corporate porn-pushing gossip site, TMZ.com.

We wrote that Stelter was a "youthful TV blogger-turned-New York Times special reporter" and a "21-year-old stunt hire" --"special" and "stunt" because he was hired by the Times after the paper profiled his TVNewser blog, as an "8i reporter."

Brian Stelter emails us with an important correction:

"For the record... I'm 22, and an 'intermediate reporter,' not a 'special reporter.'"

More impressive, in the comments section of his TV Decoder "blog" on the Times website (from which we quoted in yesterday's post on his TMZ stroke), he approved and posted our own comment that included a link to our analysis of the sticky TMZ situation, made a little less sticky by Brian Stelter's candor.

Also for the record, the New York Observer explained in October the circumstances and significance of hiring:

"When The New York Times hired 21-year-old Brian Stelter to write about digital media and television for the paper’s Business section, most stories about the hire noted two things: Mr. Stelter’s age, and his success in turning TV Newser, a blog about, mostly, cable TV, into a must-read in the industry.

"Three months later, it seems clear the hire means a lot more than that. It’s a sign that the Times is transforming its oldest institutional prejudices and promoting its reporters as brands in themselves.

"Mr. Stelter was hired under The New York Times’ '8i' program, which for years hired young reporters on a probationary basis, rotating them around usually to several different desks and then opting to make them permanent (union) employees if they proved themselves. No one was expected to start in the program with a specialty already developed (at least, developed to Times specifications). But sources said it seems unlikely, now that his TV Decoder blog has launched (complete with his photo)... that the Times will suddenly decide to switch Mr. Stelter to, say, Metro...

"Mr. Stelter’s rise to one of the most coveted jobs in journalism as a probationary reporter is proof that a bit of conventional wisdom for success on the Web— establish a brand!— is now good career advice at the newspaper of record, too."

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