Russia, Nevada, Afghanistan: Your Friday Briefing

Russia, Nevada, Afghanistan: Your Friday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the , The Times’s executive editor, to discuss the lessons of the last election and how they’ve informed our 2020 coverage. Here are excerpts from the conversation.

On his reflections from 2016:

I think that the combination of post-economic crisis and a sense that there are parts of America that were still shaken by the economic crisis, I think a lot of Americans — more Americans than we understood at the time — were rattled and were looking for something dramatic.

There were [Times] reporters out in the country who were writing stories about what was going on in the country, but we didn’t elevate them and say, “Wait a minute, there’s something powerful going on here.” We didn’t see that.

On how The Times is approaching the current election:

We’ve brought in people from the business staff to go out to the country to talk about the effects of the economy. We are about to announce a plan to put writers in seven or eight states that we’re usually not in. And we give huge play now to stories about anxiety in the country.

I think if you read The New York Times right now, you read a New York Times that reflects a country that’s in some turmoil, a country that’s divided much more than we understood in 2016.

And I don’t think we’ve labeled any — the campaigns would disagree — but I don’t think we’ve made anybody feel like the inevitable candidate, or the long shot. I am extremely proud of where our coverage is right now.

On his thoughts on covering both sides of a story:

I do think that American journalism has a tendency to go for the easy version of what I call “sophisticated true objectivity.” And the easy version is: “OK, this guy said this. This guy said that. I’ll put them together. You decide.”

True objectivity is you listen, you’re empathetic. If you hear stuff you disagree with, but it’s factual and it’s worth people hearing, you write about it.

(Some answers have been condensed and edited. You can listen to the full conversation here.)


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris


Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about Bernie Sanders and Nevada.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: The “N” of N.C.I.S. (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Noah Weiland, who wrote our Impeachment Briefing, is starting a new beat in our Washington bureau covering health policy.

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