Sulzberger speaks

I’m at the Online News Association and New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzburger is giving the keynote. Before he starts, he suddenly turns around and pats an imaginary head and says, “Judy.” Silence in the room. “A very small joke,” he says. Later, he briefly addresses Judy Miller and starts saying by: “We fully support… supported… Judy.” Slip?

ORJ asks whether he thinks that “failing to fire Judy Miller” has hurt the credibility of The Times. Sulzberger reponds: “No, I don’t…. There is no question there has been an effect on the way that people are viewing us because of this Judy Miller situation… What is important here is that we have tried, we are certainly trying to own up to that. The story is not over….” In response to another question, he says that “while your reporter is in jail, there are constraints. Well, our reporter is no longer in jail and those constraints are off.” I’m not sure what that means. I think he’s talking about coverage, not personnel m atters.

I’m not blogging the speech; it’s a packaged speech and they usually put these up online.

One note on blogging. He says that though many blogs make great contributions, “We have to be aware of what we are getting…. Some take journalistic protocols seriously. Most wouldn’t have a clue…” Oof.

Asked whether he was concerned taking the columnists out of the conversation with TimesSelect, he said: “Information does not in fact yearn to be free. Opinion — quality opinion — does not yearn to be free.”

Asked whether Google is a friend or foe, he violates the gag rule on Google Zeitgeist and says that when Don Graham of the Washington Post took to a panel, he thanked Google for inviting old-media guys “like Arthur” and for doing this on the very day they announced they were going after classifieds.

See my full disclosure here.