Old Dog Hires New Trickster


Brazenly ignoring my advice, the New York Times has hired an ombudsman, the respected Time/Life veteran and baseball fanatic Daniel Okrent. Link via Henry Copeland, who asks: "What purpose does an official critic serve today? What kind of two-way street has 18 wheelers going in one direction and a lone tricycle (occasionally!) going the other?"

NEXT: Canuck Conundrum

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  1. I understand your doubts about the utility of an ombudsman, but wait until you hear about Mr. Okrent’s Rotisserie Journalism League.

  2. Sounds to me like he knows this is a joke, and therefore has decided everyone should get in on the fun.

  3. Even my college newspaper has an ombudsman so I wouldn’t be to concerned. Its like a title with no real meaning. However, I do understand the point and the ombudsman position is quite ridiculous but its nothing to get worked up over.

  4. Please R.C., spill forth your unparalleled God-like wisdom and enlighten us poor benighted souls on what “progress” in this case would mean?

  5. tna42084 has not yet encountered the use of motion to forestall progress.

    Ombudsfolk are great examples of feel-good sound-bite do-nothing projects (“motion”) that are used in place of real reform and change (“progress”). Motion is not free – it has an opportunity cost. The NYT is installing an ombudsman, not to drive progress, but to forestall it.

  6. Jack, just a guess here, but in this context I imagine progress would be accurate reporting.

  7. Joe,

    Having an ombudsman on staff isn’t incompatible with accurate reporting last I checked. R.C. claims that having an ombudsman will “forestall” progress, implying that the position prevents “progress”. Therefore, unless an ombudsman somehow prevents accurate reporting (which I haven’t seen proven), “progress” must mean something else.

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