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Caliphate Podcast: Public Radio Calls New York Times for “Gaps in Judgment”



A group of 24 public radio stations sent a letter to the Times audio department on Monday with concerns about “gaps in judgment” in their response last month, when the newspaper announced that the podcast “did not meet our standards of accuracy.” These stations broadcast The Daily, The Times’ leading daily news podcast. The letter, received from CNN Business, was previously tweeted by Erik Wemple of the Washington Post.

The Times launched an investigation into the reporting process behind the Caliphate in September after Canadian police accused Shehrose Chaudhry of “fraudulent terrorist activity.”
; Last month, The Times said it “found a history of misrepresentations by Mr. Chaudhry and has no confirmation that he committed the atrocities he described in the Caliphate podcast, according to the editor’s note, and applied audio corrections to the episodes.”
These journalistic mistakes were a black mark on The Times’ audio ambitions led by the team behind The Daily. Caliphate won the 2018 Peabody in the radio / podcast category, a prestigious journalism award that The Times has since returned
Monday’s letter, sent by the Public Radio Directors’ Association, focuses not on the merits of the podcast, but on how The Times handles the consequences. He expressed three concerns. The first was about The Daily presenter Michael Barbaro, who contacted other journalists in an attempt that was seen as an attempt to influence the coverage of the Caliphate. Earlier, these messages were reported by David Falkenflick of NPR, who was among Barbaro’s contacts.

The letter also said that The Times Barbaro’s decision to interview Times executive editor Dean Bucke was “wrong”, in part because of Barbaro’s decision. personal relationship with Lisa Tobin, executive producer of Caliphate. The two are engaged.

The last concern was for Andy Mills, producer of Caliphate. The letter disputes the fact that Mills gained “greater visibility” after the aftermath, while Rukmini Kalimaci, the journalist behind the podcast, was reassigned. Mills produced and hosted an episode of The Daily, which came out a few days after the Times announced the results of its investigation into the Caliphate podcast. The letter is also linked to a Washington Post story about allegations of Mills’ misconduct, most of which occurred during his previous job at WNYC’s Radiolab.

Abby Goldstein, president and CEO of the Association of Public Radio Directors, told CNN Business on Tuesday that the letter was intended to convey concern, not “draw a line in the sand” with specific requirements.

“When we broadcast programming to our audience, we support it. We tell our audience that we believe in the journalistic rigor of these programs and make them available through our biggest megaphone.” said Goldstein. The letter is “really about taking responsibility for staff behavior.”

The Times responded Tuesday to each of the concerns in a letter signed by Sam Dolnik, the newspaper’s assistant editor-in-chief.

“We believe we have dealt with a significant journalistic omission with accountability. We are deeply committed to continuing to pursue ambitious audio journalism and have already begun to implement changes that will make our audio reporting even stronger,” Dolnik wrote.

Dolnick writes that the Times does not believe that Barbaro should reveal his relationship with Tobin, as the conversation is perceived as an “audio version” of an editor’s note, while a “reporting interview” is given to NPR. He also said that Barbaro “deeply regrets” the personal messages he sends to journalists, and that “the editors have discussed their expectations with him in the future.”

With regard to Mills Dolnick, he writes that the Times takes allegations of misconduct “very seriously.” As for why Mills is hosting a recent episode of The Daily, Dolnik said the episode was pre-scheduled, but that the company “had to change plans.”

The Times did not comment outside the letter. Barbaro and Mills did not respond to requests for comment.


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