Saturday, July 2, 2011
Post Hoc Fallacy
Adweek reports that the tabloid's editor, Col Allan, went bonkers recently trying to find out who in his newsroom was talking to journalists from other publications.
The proximate cause of Allan's angst was a story in Adweek which revealed that the Post was about to raise its cover price from fifty cents to seventy-five -- an action that happened a few days later. Some secret. What really got Col hot under the collar was the leaking of emails from his editors to his reporters pressuring them to come up with scoops.
Apparently the Post nailed their man -- and Adweek says the paper fired police reporter John Doyle who has yet to confirm his axing.
There is something more than a little amusing about a newspaper firing people from their organization for doing what they try to get people from other organizations to do everyday.
While Allan has the right to impose discipline on the newsroom, his attention might be better focused on preventing journalistic excess like the way they covered the Dominque Strauss-Kahn maid "rape" case. The paper has flip flopped from calling the former IMF chief as a "Perv" to calling his accuser a "hooker" without a moments self-reflection that perhaps they, like the District Attorney, has rushed to judgement.
The Post is not the most respected newspaper around -- by a long shot. Instead of assuming that this is because his reporters are leaking internal communications, Allan might look for a more public explanation....like the ones on his front pages.