NEW YORK – An internal committee at The New York Times (search) has recommended several steps to help increase readers' confidence in the newspaper, including making reporters and editors more accessible through e-mail, reducing errors, and increasing coverage of middle America and religion.
The report was commissioned in November but originates from a 2003 scandal at the Times in which reporter Jayson Blair (search) resigned after it was discovered that he had resorted to plagiarism and fabrication in several stories.
The newspaper appointed an internal review committee to investigate how the scandal unfolded and issued a 58-page report in July 2003. The second committee was assembled by executive editor Bill Keller (search) to answer questions on journalistic accountability.
Keller endorsed the recommendations in Monday's editions, calling the report "a sound blueprint for the next stage of our campaign to secure our accuracy, fairness and accountability."
The committee proposed taking steps including encouraging high-ranking editors to write a regular column dealing with the internal workings of the Times, using the Internet to provide documents used for stories and transcripts of interviews, and further curtailing the use of anonymous sources.
Other recommendations include responding more assertively to the paper's critics, and making it easier for readers to contact reporters. "The Times makes it harder than any other major American newspaper for readers to reach a responsible human being," the committee's 16-page report said.