New York Times editor calls for personal journalistic standards

It’s never too early to set your own journalistic standards says Greg Brock, who works as the Senior Editor for Standards at the New York Times.

Speaking to a group of journalism students at the University of Mississippi, Brock said the primary goal of journalists has changed in a world where everyone can publish information.  For his generation, Brock says the goal was to uphold and defend a free press.

“Your generation will have to promote and protect an accurate press,” Brock told the crowd.

In his job with the paper, Brock works with editors and reporters throughout the newsroom to address issues of fairness and accuracy in news coverage.  As he puts it, he tries “all day long  to keep the New York Times from screwing up.”

He says it’s his job to deal with corrections, like the one involving a movie called, “Butter.”  Brock says the reporter got tired of using the word butter and erroneously substituted the word lard — he got to deal with the fallout. Or the time in the Sunday magazine when someone misidentified a giant cow as  a giant bull.

Though Brock joked that what he does may seem “pitiful,” to some; he sees it as vitally important.

“The Times takes accuracy seriously, if we have to correct lard, we correct lard,” said Brock.

The editor went on to say that journalism is “meaningless if we don’t have credibility,” and he urged every journalist to start setting — and keeping — personal standards now.