The Dallas Morning News’ Alan Peppard has a brief blog post about Jill Abramson’s talk last night at Southern Methodist University. “Ever since I was a kid growing up in Manhattan,” she said, “I have read my horoscope in the New York Post.” They’re uncannily accurate, she told the audience. (She also mentioned the Post’s horoscope in a recent email to Slate.)
The New York Times executive editor discussed more serious matters, too. Peppard tells Romenesko readers:
The thrust of her speech was that the the public and the news business are not particularly well served by the current stampede to get a story out first. Then she went through a rather sad list of all of the inaccurate reports from the week in Boston after the bombing.
She had a wonderful anecdote about the 2000 Bush vs. Gore Supreme Court decision. It came out at night and was dense and long and ambiguous, but that did not stop TV reporters from going immediately on the air and declaring (incorrectly) what it meant.
NYT Supreme Court correspondent Linda Greenhouse read the opinion in the cab on the way from the court to The Times office. She and Abramson called New York. She told executive editor Joe Lelyveld, “Turn off the TVs.”
And he replied, “They’re off, Linda. We are only listening to you.” And she explained what the opinion meant and The Times had an authoritative story.
Anyway, Abramson’s money quote was, “The prestige of our news organization does not necessarily come from being first.”
The Dallas journalist adds: “While here, she visited the Sixth Floor Museum (in the old Texas School Book Depository) and she watched Cronkite’s first bulletin. She commented on how, unlike today, the first report was quite accurate. ‘In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired…'”
Abramson’s speech was also blogged by someone at SMU.