Forward Thinking

Muzzled by the Gray Lady?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Jodi Rudoren

Has Jodi Rudoren allowed the Gray Lady to muzzle her?

The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief has steered clear of controversial topics since the paper’s brass ordered her to submit all social media posts to a special editor on the foreign desk last month.

A Forward review of her Twitter and facebook posts reveals that hard-edged comments about the Mideast conflict have been replaced by links to articles in the Times, and to personal news like Rudoren’s wedding anniversary and her parents’ visit to Israel.

Rudoren insists she is just taking a breather from making news on social media, and is not sulking after being put on so-called Tweet-watch.

“Don’t read too much into it. I’ve taken a few days off…I’m definitely planning on continuing to post substantive things related to Jerusalem/Israel/Palestinians,” Rudoren wrote to The Forward via Facebook.

Rudoren says she has no complaints about the arrangement imposed by the Times.

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Gray Lady Puts Jodi Rudoren on Tweet-Watch

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Jodi Rudoren

My recent interview for The Forward with New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, while she was covering the recent conflagration between Israel and Hamas from inside Gaza, was instigated by a remark I read in one of her Facebook posts. So, obviously, I regarded Rudoren’s providing personal reflection and commentary on the situation beyond what she was writing for publication in the Times to be a positive thing.

However, others took a more negative view of these social media posts and let their opinions be known. Most notably, the blogger Philip Weiss, citing examples of Rudoren’s posts on his Mondoweiss website, took issue with how, in his view, “[Rudoren] seems culturally bound inside the Israeli experience.”

Now, we learn from NYT’s Public Editor Margaret Sullivan that in response to this “problematic” situation, the paper “is taking steps to make sure that Ms. Rudoren’s further social media efforts go more smoothly. The foreign editor, Joseph Kahn, is assigning an editor on the foreign desk in New York to work closely with Ms. Rudoren on her social media posts.”

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