Wednesday, April 7, 2010

NYT Co. no longer responds to unsigned queries

In a sudden policy reversal, the NYT Co. says it will no longer answer questions from journalists who do not identify themselves, including from a widely read blog about the company. The NYTPicker, whose authors are anonymous, says today that new communications chief Robert Christie (left) told the site: “It is the policy of The New York Times not to respond to bloggers or journalists who refuse to identify themselves and/or their affiliation.”

The NYTPicker's authors didn't bow to Christie's request to identify themselves before he would answer a question about a recent post on the site. "Instead," NYTPicker said in a post today, "we noted that the NYT's previous communications chief, Catherine Mathis -- along with numerous NYT reporters and editors -- have regularly replied to questions from The NYTPicker ever since the website began in November of 2008."

Beyond shutting out a frequent online critic, the policy change is noteworthy because it signals a broader shift in the company's public relations strategy.

When Christie was hired early last month from competitor Dow Jones & Co., some observers said it appeared Chairman Arthur Sulzberger (left) was taking a harder position against Dow's owner, Rupert Murdoch, at a time of intensifying rivalry.

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