I went to the New York Times website last night after seeing assistant managing editor Jim Roberts’ tweet about his paper’s Starbucks “bathroom wars” story. I knew the piece was coming, having played a little role in it.
I was pleased to see Starbucks Gossip — a site I’ve run since 2004 — linked in Anne Barnard’s story. Less than an hour later, though, I returned to the article to check comments and noticed the Starbucks Gossip link had vanished. Odd, I thought, since the New York Post is still linked, as is Gawker.
Then it hit me: Maybe the Times removed the Starbucks Gossip link because editors thought it revealed a little too much about how the sausage is made. My guess is the paper didn’t want readers to see that Barnard used my site to gather information from baristas. (By the way, this isn’t the first time a reporter has used the site for reporting about Starbucks.)
Barnard wanted to use information posted by an anonymous commenter, but told me she needed to know the identity of “Former NY Barista” because of Times sourcing rules. I had the commenter’s email address and, with her permission, passed it along to Barnard.
It’s not a big deal that Starbucks Gossip wasn’t linked in the final version — I’m guessing a few hundred Times readers would have visited the site — but I’m curious to know if my theory is right. Or am I way off base? (And I hope Anne Barnard isn’t in trouble with her editors for using Starbucks Gossip to gather information.) UPDATE: Barnard tells me she’s not in the doghouse with her bosses and the Starbucks Gossip link is back. She was told that it disappeared because of “a glitch.” Thanks to everyone involved here.