Sunday, October 26, 2008

Live from the New York Times

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to meet with various newsmakers. Recently, fellow Pomona alum and New York Times Editor-In-Chief, Bill Keller offered me the opportunity to sit in on an editorial meeting related to coverage of the presidential campaign. This was a fascinating opportunity to get a first-hand look at how the world's most reputable media outlet reports the news each day.

Without any further ado, here is a transcript of today's meeting.

Keller: Hey guys, I just want to kick off this meeting, by saying I think our coverage is the most relevant, meaningful, and fair in the history of our paper. As a reward, I'm giving you each a 1% share in the paper's stock.

Michael Luo: Great, now we can have a pizza party.

Keller: Um, no... But let's get back to business. What's everyone working on for tomorrow's deadline?

Michael Luo: Um, I put in another call to Sarah Palin's fashion consultant, and apparently she is being advised to wear high heels to make her look taller.

Keller: So, she is being deceptive about her height.

Luo: Exactly...

Keller: "Sex, lies and Shoe Size". Let's put it front page, below the fold. Nagourney, talk to me.

Adam Nagourney: Apparently, at a recent event, Joe Biden he gave his life for his country in World War II.

Keller: Really? He died fighting the Nazis?

Nagourney: Yes. Here's Biden's quote: "As I stared to heaven, my blood-soaked vest heaving with my last gasps for air, I turned to God and asked 'did I do okay?' I must've done something right, because I was in heaven that day."

Keller: Beautiful. "Senator Biden Gave Life For Country" Front page. Jodi, anything new from Facebook?

Jodi Kantor: Well, I've been talking with Willow Palin on IM.

Nagourney: Really? I though the family had a restraining order against you.

Jodi Kantor: Oh, I was posing as her best friend Cara. Apparently, Willow is worried that her breasts are coming in unevenly. Do you think that merits a stand alone piece?

Keller: Absolutely. We'll run a special insert. "Sarah holds the right, but Willow Palin leans left."

Luo: Do we have a sponsor for a special insert?

Keller: I'll just call Soros. He'll do it if we run a negative story about the future of the Euro.

Luo: But, if Biden's still alive, how could he have died in WWII?

Keller: Good point. Make a note to run a correction in the Friday paper.

(Patrick Healy bursts into the room)

Kantor: Wow, Pat, you look like hell.

Healy: Tell me about it. Ever had a raccoon piss in your wounds?

Nagourney: I told you they had raccoons in Alaska.

Healy: Yeah, well apparently, according to receipts I found in a dumpster outside of Buffalo Wild Wings, the mayor of Wasilla expensed an entire meal to the State of Alaska.

Keller: Doesn't sound unusual.

Healy: Including celery.

Keller: They charge for celery?

Healy: Apparently.

Keller: Alright, I'll run it in the Business section beside the Euro piece.

Luo: Does it matter that Sarah Palin isn't mayor of Wasilla anymore?

Healy: No.

Kantor: Wait, what is "Buffalo Wild Wings"?

Healy: It's a restaurant where people eat chicken and drink beer.

Kantor: That's it?

Healy: They also watch sports.

Kantor: I fail to see the appeal.

Healy: I know. It makes me sick that I have to even share a planet with these people.

Nagourney: Hey, I'm getting a message on my 'Berry. Barack Obama beat a nun nearly to death live at a campaign stop.

Keller: Really, any witnesses?

Nagourney: Tough to say, it's all over Fox News.

Keller: Sounds like a right wing slime job.

Nagourney: There were 20,000 witnesses.

Keller: We’ll give it three weeks. If it’s still an issue, we’ll have Dowd run an op-ed on the poisonous atmosphere created by the McCain campaign that would drive reasonable people to kill nuns.

Nagourney: Um, nearly kill. Also, McCain made a major gaffe today at a campaign rally in Ohio, stating that John Calhoun succeeded Abel Upshur as Secretary of State under President Tyler. He failed to note that Attorney General John Nelson served as interim Secretary for one month.

Keller: Wow! Stop the presses. This needs to go in the evening edition. Headline: “McCain and Abel: Gaffe Could Cost GOP Nominee Election.”

Kantor: I smell Pulitzer!

Keller: Indeed. Take that, Standard & Poor’s!

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