Romenesko Memos
Times business editor Larry Ingrassia tells his staff that public editor Art Brisbane's Aug. 28 column on DealBook "was so absurd and so poorly reasoned that I felt compelled to write a response." Ingrassia tells Brisbane that "your column left me wondering how closely you read the Times - or at least our financial coverage. There is far more financial news, of all kinds, than ever before. Not less, as your column strangely asks." The full memo is after the jump.


From: "Ingrassia, Lawrence"
Date: 29 August, 2011 9:02:06 EDT
To: !NYHQ-bizstaff
Subject: Public editor column

Colleagues,

Various public editors have written many columns over the years about different aspects of Business Day’s coverage. At times I have disagreed with their perspective, but even when I have disagreed, I’ve generally felt that they were thoughtful and well considered.

Until now. For the first time, I felt that a public editor column was so absurd and so poorly reasoned that I felt compelled to write a response, which I have asked Art Brisbane to post on his blog.

I could have gone on and on, but I decided to keep it short and to the point. Here it is. Larry

Art,

Your column left me wondering how closely you read the Times - or at least our financial coverage. There is far more financial news, of all kinds, than ever before. Not less, as your column strangely asks.

On the coverage of the European debt crisis: We have written several hundred stories explaining its origins and implications over the past year and a half, and dozens of them ran on the front page. A number of these stories delved into the very questions you wondered about - including the dangerous ripple effects in the financial system if the problems aren't solved. And other stories have explained how derivatives sold by banks both helped disguise the extent of the debt problems in some countries like Greece, but also pose concerns going forward. Maybe you missed these, but we reported them.

On DealBook: The addition of reporters has enabled The Times to expand its coverage of finance, not just the stories that you cited about what's happening on Wall Street but public service journalism stories as well - like the banking industry's aggressive lobbying against some of the stricter regulations approved by Congress in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown or the battle to limit the power of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to name just a couple of important running stories to which DealBook reporters have made major contributions.

Sorry, but when you start with a wrong premise and ignore the record, you end up with a wrong conclusion.

Larry Ingrassia
Business editor
The New York Times