September 10, 2003

Reporting on Nasty Stuff

The Seattle Times, in an effort to shake itself loose from its JOA with the Hearst, reportedly used fuzzy accounting to prove its losing money, according to a story today in - the Seattle Times.

Whatever amount of corporate shenanigans are afoot between the owners of the Times and the Post-Intelligencer - and there seem to be plenty - the Times deserves praise for its coverage of the JOA battle.

The paper hired Bill Richards, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, on a three-year contract to report the story as he sees fit. The contract gave Richards the right to appeal to a third-party mediator if he ever thought the Times ever killed or edited a story unfairly.

Richards story in the Times today, a generally unflattering portrayal of the Seattle Times Co.'s accounting practices, which had they been up to accepted standards would have shown the company making money instead of losing it, is a terrific bit of reporting that bites the hand feeding the reporter.

I like the gutsiness the Times displayed in hiring Richards. I prefer that Seattle remains a two-newspaper town, but in the likelihood only one paper is left standing after this court fight I hope it's the Times - without its accountants.

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Posted by Tim Porter at September 10, 2003 09:00 AM