St. Pete Times Editor defends coverage of Mark Foley e-mails by Mitch E. Perry

10/16/06

Today, readers of the St.Petersburg Times were greeted with some design changes, the most significant the paper has made in a decade. In a special advertising supplement inserted in Sunday’s paper, Times editors write that they changed the look to make it more interesting, better looking, more fun.

WMNF spoke today with the Times Executive Editor, Neil Brown, about some of those changes. But first, we asked him to respond to critical comments made in the current issue of the alternative weekly Creative Loafing, by Political Editor Wayne Garcia.

Garcia takes on the Times for their decision NOT to report last year about some of the e-mail messages – the suggestive ones, not the more salacious instant messages that surfaced late last month.

The Times did write a letter to their readers several weeks ago about their decision NOT to publish. But Wayne Garcia, who worked at the Times in the early 1990’s, rips into the paper , writing, “ What I find ironic, and hypocritical, is that the Times reporters, editors and editorial writers day in and day out demand more contrition and self-examination from their news subjects than they are demanding from themselves. “

He also charges that the when he wrote for the Times, staff meetings regarding some controversial story would always end in ‘the editor's pronouncement from on high: The paper had done the right thing, and would do it the same way again. Sounds like nothing has changed"..

WMNF asked St. Petersburg Times Executive Editor Neil Brown if that was a fair call (roll tape#1 o.q. “have the information�)

That’s St. Petersburg Times Executive Editor Neil Brown, defending the St. Petersburg, who like the Miami Herald, and Harpers magazine, came into contact with some Mark Foley e-mails nearly a year ago, but opted not to publish a story at that time.

WMNF spoke to Neil Brown extensively about the Times new design. We asked him if it was slow down the eroision of readers that the Times, and virtually every other newspaper in the country in the past couple of years (roll tape#2 o.q.�in the know�)

That’s Neil Brown from the St. Petersburg Times. We’ll hear much more about the new design and other things the Times is doing, later this week.

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