Retired New York Times reporter Jane Gross hoped to get this published on the Times’ letters page, but editor Tom Feyer “felt – wisely I think – that after days of letters about Jill A. and Arthur G. it was time to stop the letters page from being all about the NYT and back to what it usually is.” She then sent it to me.
To the Editor,
During a week of tumult at the New York Times – and invective, some thoughtful and some over-the-top – those of us who consider the paper our professional home had a rare opportunity to mull what the Times means to us and why.
We are a tribe, who love our work, love each other and pass our devotion and our expertise from generation to generation. It’s a tough work environment, and that perhaps is part of what binds us. But it is also a family, sometimes literally a family – as apparent in two picture captions on Tuesday and Wednesday that most “civilians” wouldn’t even notice and likely not understand in that context even if they did.
In an obituary Tuesday about Jack Brabham, 88, a championship driver and builder of Grand Prix race cars, the decades-old photo was taken by Robert Daley, long a contributor to the Times from Europe. Mr. Daley, later a best-selling novelist, is the father of Suzanne Daley, currently the paper’s roving foreign correspondent and the son of the late Arthur Daley, the paper’s Pulitzer Prize winning sports columnist.
In Wednesday’s obituary of Arthur Gelb, 90, the Times’ legendary critic, cultural correspondent, metropolitan editor, deputy managing editor and executive editor – quite the resume – the photo was taken by Carl Mydans, himself a photographic legend. Mr. Mydans’ son Seth was for many years a national and foreign correspondent at the Times, most recently in South Asia.
It is not an accident that generations and members of the same family have worked here, my brother Michael among them. No doubt, there is the advantage of nepotism. But there is also something that courses through our veins.
We were mentored by those ahead of us and we mentored those behind. Our colleagues are like family even if they aren’t. As long as there are newspapers, whether printed on presses or living on the web, the Times will be the best of them. And Times’ staffers, past and present, will feel a vital part of its contribution to a civil society.
New York City, NY
New York Times retiree (1979 to 2008)