Almost half of New York Times employees don’t feel they can express their views freely, survey finds


Almost half of all New York Times employees say they don’t believe they can express their views freely at the newspaper, according to a company survey.   

A poll conducted among staff in December revealed negative responses to questions regarding company culture, the New York Post reported. 

According to the report, only 51 per cent of NYT employees agreed with a statement: ‘There is ‘free exchange of views in this company; people are not afraid to say what they really think.’ 

A review of the findings found that those results were 10 per cent lower than the ‘benchmark’, or the average response to that question at other companies, according to the Post.

‘Although the majority of us feel well-informed, many indicated that differing viewpoints aren’t sought or valued in our work,’ a report on the results said.  

About 49% of NYT employees did not agree with a survey statement claiming there is a ‘free exchange of views in this company’, according to The New York Post 

‘Relatedly, we saw some negative responses on whether there’s a free exchange of views in the company, and scored below the benchmark on this question.’ 

The company also reported a 10 per cent decline (74 per cent) from 2019 in answers about leaders and colleagues ‘accepting and embracing differences in race, gender, identity, and religion.’ 

‘Responses from Black and Latino colleagues declined at an even greater rate,’ the assessment stated, according to the Post.    

The survey comes amid mounting criticism of the Times – long regarded as a newspaper of record – following a series of scandals in the past year. 

In January it was reported The New York Times had editor Lauren Wolfe’s contract after she tweeted that she had ‘chills’ watching President Joe Biden land at Joint Base Andrews the day before the inauguration and slammed Trump for not sending him a government plane.

The New York Times has killed a column by Pulitzer-winning Bret Stephens, pictured, that took issue with paper's handling of a star health reporter, who resigned after using the N-Word

Donald McNeil Jr. (above) resigned Friday over his use of the N-word

Earlier this month The New York Times was reported to have killed a column by Pulitzer-winning Bret Stephens, left, that took issue with paper’s handling of a star health reporter, Donald McNeil (right) who resigned after using the N-Word

According to Wolfe, the tweet was ‘the only reason they fired me’, she said as she responded to the paper for claiming otherwise.

A statement from the Times had alleged that her dismissal was not on the basis of the tweet alone, but did not comment any further on the reasons for letting her go.

‘There’s a lot of inaccurate information circulating on Twitter,’ the statement said.  

‘For privacy reasons we don’t get into the details of personnel matters, but we can say that we didn’t end someone’s employment over a single tweet.

‘Out of respect for the individuals involved we don’t plan to comment further. (To clarify something that has been incorrectly reported, Ms. Wolfe was not a full-time employee, nor did she have a contract.)’

Lauren Wolfe lost her gig with the Times last week following a tweet in which she described herself as 'having chills' seeing Joe Biden's plane land before his inauguration

Lauren Wolfe lost her gig with the Times last week following a tweet in which she described herself as ‘having chills’ seeing Joe Biden’s plane land before his inauguration

More recently, reporter Donald McNeil Jr announced earlier this month he was resigning and apologized for his ‘extraordinarily bad judgement’ over his use of the N-word after his Pulitzer Prize-winning colleague Nikole Hannah-Jones threatened to launch her own investigation into him.  

A piece written by NYT conservative columnist Bret Stephens that was critical of executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joseph Kahn’s response to the controversy was later revealed to have been spiked. 

Baquet and Kahn had initially said: ‘We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent.’ 

Stephens had planned to question those comments by Baquet and Kahn in his column titled ‘Regardless of Intent’ due to run Monday. The New York Post later obtained a copy of his column and published it in full.    

In July, opinion editor Bari Weiss announced she was leaving the paper in a scathing resignation letter that slams the Times for fostering an ‘illiberal environment’ and allowing her to be bullied by coworkers for ‘wrongthink’.

Right-wing commentators jumped on the tweet, accusing Wolfe of failing to remain impartial

Right-wing commentators jumped on the tweet, accusing Wolfe of failing to remain impartial

Weiss, who joined the Times in 2017, said the paper of record was among the media institutions now betraying their standards and losing sight of their principles as she accused them of only publishing stories that ‘satisfy the narrowest of audiences’.   

In December the Times also admitted that it was duped by a fake terrorist in the creation of its hit podcast Caliphate.

The Times acknowledged that it had been misled in the production of the series by Canadian-Pakistani man Shehroze Chaudhry, 25, who had fabricated his story of working as an ISIS executioner.

Yet it was in further hot water earlier this month after a group of 20 influential public radio stations condemned the Times for a ‘lack of transparency’ after personal ties between the star host of ‘The Daily’ Michael Barbaro and its discredited series ‘Caliphate’ emerged.

In July, opinion editor Bari Weiss announced she was leaving the paper in a scathing resignation letter that slams the Times for fostering an 'illiberal environment' and allowing her to be bullied by coworkers for 'wrongthink'

In July, opinion editor Bari Weiss announced she was leaving the paper in a scathing resignation letter that slams the Times for fostering an ‘illiberal environment’ and allowing her to be bullied by coworkers for ‘wrongthink’

Barbaro was in December tasked with speaking to the Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet in an episode of The Daily – which is also broadcast on public radio – in which the paper retracted much of the story on which popular series Caliphate had been built.

Yet in hosting the episode, Barbaro failed to disclose that much of the production team involved in ‘Caliphate’ had come from ‘The Daily’ – and that he is engaged to the series’ executive producer Lisa Tobin.

According to NPR, Barbaro also pressured at least five journalists via social media to play down the errors in Caliphate and to get them to pull back their public criticism of the series.

And it follows on from the scandal after New York Times’ opinion editor, James Bennet, resigned after a controversial op-ed from Senator Tom Cotton in June.

The opinion piece, entitled Send in the Troops, advocated using federal troops to quell unrest across the US caused by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.



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