New York Times removes reporters' bylines from homepage

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/22/new-york-times-removes-reporte.html

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Dear NYT: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear”

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I seriously thought this was about copyright and money for the authors when I read the headline.

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This is really bad. The thing we always try to teach students is that one of the ways to distinguish real news from fake news is that fake news typically doesn’t include author’s names. Look at an article on InfoWars, or any of the completely-fabricated sites whose stories helped swing the elections – no one is willing to actually put their actual, Googleable name behind any of those stories.

NYTimes is still keeping the reporter’s bylines within the stories themselves, but this is a real step in the wrong direction, because it trains people to accept stories that no one is putting their name behind.

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So, just to make the contrarian point here: The Economist (which you may not agree with the politics of, but is hardly “fake news”) has not had author bylines in any of the 20 years for which I’ve been reading it, and probably for much longer than that. I don’t think they’ve got anything to hide; in particular, although they do have a ideological bias, they’re pretty explicit about it in both the paper and web versions (see parts of https://www.economist.com/about-the-economist for examples).

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On a side note, I do like their new positioning layout. Their prior design relegated the actual factual news reporting to a narrow strip on the left side. While the op-ed content is still dangerously forefronted, its premium shelf space has been reduced. Looks more like the WaPo’s layout now, and more readable in terms of desirable content.

Agreed that overreliance on op-ed, apologist rightward tilt, and banished bylines still blow, tho.

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Welcome to BoingBoing and thanks for mentioning that!

And then there is alJazeera, where the front page seems to be evenly divided into both camps.

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I dunno. I liked how The Economist has done it

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@beschizza
Rob, yes this is a cheap, opportune shot, but it is nonetheless serious, however trivial and semi-off-topic: Seeing as you wrote

Readers want to know who is behind a story before they commit to reading it, and this prevents it from happening

perhaps you might consider putting BB posts’ author’s names back at the top (with the headline) and not the bottom of each post (this is re blog view, no idea about other formats). It used to be the case but changed in one or other of the recent presentation/style tweaks. It does help to know the author when reading and it is sometimes a pain to scroll (often for miles, with some newer contributors) down simply to find out who posted it, before or even halfway through reading it.

Just a random idea whose time may now have come. :wink:

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Well, how else are they going to get click through from those of us that would see a piece by a particular author, and decide it isn’t worth our time?

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So they still use human reporters? Don’t they know humans are fallible? The rest of the world is relying on AI for news now.

Sure, I agree with the sentiment, but clicking on a link to an article is hardly a commitment (and starting to read an article is not much of a commitment either—folks can stop reading whenever they want). Also, what the Times has done is an obstacle on the way to knowing the byline, but it doesn’t prevent that knowledge from being learned; people can still find out. Sorry to nitpick, but I find the characterization to be a bit extreme.

As someone who, like you, wants to know who wrote something before reading it, I find that the Times’ decision is about just as annoying as the placement of the byline in the BoingBoing blog view (which is, in my opinion, the only way to comfortably browse BB).

Here’s a pic, in case it’s not clear what I’m referring to:

So, because we’re on the topic, how about getting Boing Boing to change its byline practice?

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Eric Lipton, an investigative reporter at the Times, points out: “But names of OP-ED writers still there.”

Are you somehow insinuating that Ed Rogers should speak for “even the liberal washington post?”

The painted lady speaks!

We know that adjusting to a new home page may take some time. We’d like to invite you to provide feedback on the changes we are making: https://nyti.ms/homepagefeedback.

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I wonder if any of this is motivated by an impending move toward a more immediate online news cycle in which people tack updates onto an initial overview of the topic a la CNN’s “Reporter A, Reporter B and Reporter Z contributed to this article”.

That would be very bad.

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Ya know, I still fucking remember when the NYT was all freaking ‘rah, rah, rah!!’ about the Iraq war and I’ve as yet to forgive them for that. They might still be the paper of record, but this can’t last long with behaving stupidly in a consistent manner.

ETA: Interesting. Cannot load the NYT page now. Hum…

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The blog view is (intentionally) a relic of boing boing’s “classic blog era” design. As you can see from wayback snapshots, it is as it always was—byline at bottom.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010308172358/http://www.boingboing.net:80/

Whatever you’re remembering it was itself just one of various temporary redesigns after that.

A counter proposal: going back to short, rapid-fire linkposts that mean the ‘traditional’ blog view bylines are more visible. :sunglasses:

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I think the NYT should interview 5 Trump voters from Iowa and ask for their comments on this homepage alteration.

It’s worked for them so far.

The NYT has always been crap.

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