Yesterday, we published a post entitled “Journalism Ethics Don’t Apply To Me, Says Pogue.” The post included the “I am not a reporter!” remark NYT technology columnist David Pogue made in a podcast interview with XM interviewer Leo LaPorte over the weekend.
We incorrectly concluded that David made this remark in response to complaints about not disclosing his book-writing activities in his columns, which some people feel is a journalistic conflict of interest. In fact, although the overall topic of the podcast was about conflicts of interest, David made the “I am not a reporter” remark in response to complaints that he had not interrogated Steve Jobs aggressively enough in a recent one-on-one interview.
This distinction is important, and we apologise to David, the NYT, and our readers for the error.
For what it’s worth, we also agree with David that the complaints that he did not interrogate Steve Jobs aggressively enough are b.s. (The specific gripe was that he did not follow-up aggressively when Jobs gave him some spin about why there was no camera in the new iPod touch. A follow-up question certainly would have been helpful here, but his not asking it is hardly evidence of an ethics problem.)
Some of the (very interesting exchange) between David and Leo actually concerns interviewing style rather than ethics. As David points out, he has always been a friendly technology reviewer, not an attack-dog investigative reporter, and he has no duty to transform himself into the latter just because he alone has been granted an audience with his Jobsness.
One area in which we continue to disagree with David is his argument that he is “not a reporter.” He uses gadgets and describes what he finds…how is that not reporting? (Yes, he includes opinions, too, but that doesn’t mean he’s not reporting). And as David discusses at length with Leo, the particular area of reporting in which he operates is especially rife with conflicts of interest.