Journalists don't like to take tests, be told what to do or chat with PR folks on the phone. On two of those counts, reporters at the other Times aren't too happy about a new requirement in the newsroom. They are being asked by the company to take time out to complete a new course in ethics and submit to a quiz. For a small glimpse inside the New York Times institution, click below to read the email—and a follow-up from the Newspaper Guild advising reporters to blow it off for now.
I am sending this e-mail message to you and all employees with Company e-mail addresses to remind you about The New York Times Company's Ethics & Compliance Resource Center. As of today, you have not started or completed the Business Ethics training. All employees are required to complete the training no later than August 15. This means you need to go through the Introduction, Sections 1., 2., and 3 . and take the quiz. Please note: If you experience a technical problem, please contact the Shared Services Center Help Desk at (800) xxx-xxxx or firstname.lastname@example.org. A representative will be happy to assist you.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
The New York Times Company
Soon after, the Guild emailed its objections.
ETHICS TRAINING ADVISORY
As you are probably aware, the company is attempting to require you to read the Business Ethics Policy, which was negotiated with the
Guild, and to take a test about it.
The policy deals with employee conduct, conflicts of interest, the use of company information and assets, political contributions and other issues that may come up in relation to an employee's work. During the negotiating process, many changes were made at the Guild's insistence to make sure that employees' private rights were preserved and the policy was made as permissive as possible.
We have previously urged you to read and understand the policy.
The Guild has had a meeting with the company, however, to discuss the format of the presentation and the quiz, which was not part of the
The Times has committed to the Guild that our members will NOT be disciplined for incorrect answers on the quiz. However, their position is that you must complete the training, or you could be disciplined. The way the quiz is set up, you must answer all the questions correctly in order to complete the training -- even if that means going back and fixing your incorrect answers.
There are still some questions that the Guild asked, to which we haven't been given a response, however, so our advice at this point is to delay completing the Business Ethics training.
When you do the training, the company has said it will not authorize overtime to take the course -- so the Guild strongly suggests that
you do it during your normal workday.
We will give you an update shortly.