New York Times got Vargas’ illegal immigrant story after Washington Post passed on it

The Huffington Post / The New York Times
Chris Suellentrop describes how The New York Times came to publish journalist Jose Antonio Vargas' story revealing that he is an illegal immigrant. Vargas emailed him at close to midnight on Monday, June 13, with a vague suggestion that he had an "urgent and personal" story for the Times. On Wednesday, Suellentrop learned what the story was about. Vargas had been planning to publish the story in The Washington Post, but the Post killed the story on Monday. Times editors first saw a draft at 5 p.m. Wednesday, two days before the magazine closed. "And within a hour," Suellentrop writes, "we decided this wasn’t a story we were going to give to anyone else. Sometimes great stories fall into your lap, as Hugo [Lindgren, Times magazine editor] just told The Huffington Post." As to why The Washington Post turned the story down, Carlos Lozada, the editor who worked with Vargas on it, told Suellentrop simply that "a decision was made here to pass on it."

|| Who knew? In his post breaking the story, Michael Calderone reports that Peter Perl, then director of newsroom training at the Post, "knew about [Vargas'] undocumented status and kept that fact hidden during the journalist's tenure." || Reaction: Jack Shafer asks, "Did Vargas put the his employers at the Wash Post and the HuffPost on the hook for breaking the law?"

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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