Lots of Web chatter this morning about Clark Hoyt's comments in his NYT public editor column concerning the financial affairs of economics reporter Edmund Andrews. If you recall, Andrews is the guy who got hooked into a subprime loan on a house he really couldn't afford to buy (kind of embarrassing for someone who covers the Federal Reserve). He's written about his experiences in the NYT magazine and has a book just out. But he left out the fact that his wife twice filed for bankruptcy - a fact that was revealed by the Atlantic's Megan McArdle. Andrews says the filings have no bearing on the couple's real estate problems, which may or may not be true but certainly rings hollow when you're opening up your financial life. In any event, Felix Salmon, who had been with portfolio.com and now blogs on the Reuters site, wasn't very happy with the way Hoyt dismissed the bankruptcy stuff - as well as McCardle.
He spends 11 paragraphs on whether or not Andrews should be covering his own personal housing crisis at all, given his job, and then moves on to Megan McArdle's bombshell with one final tacked-on graf, in which he can't even bring himself to mention McArdle by name. (She's first "a blogger for The Atlantic", and then just "the blogger". You'll excuse me for reading that language pejoratively: if a newspaper columnist had written the same thing, I doubt they would have just been "a columnist" and "the columnist".)
As for the whiff of latent blogophobia which wafts through the whole thing, it's worth noting that although Hoyt has a blog, he hasn't written a substantive blog entry there all year -- all the content from 2009 so far has been written by others and simply posted by Hoyt. What's more, the NYT has broken links to his predecessors' blogs: Dan Okrent's blog used to be here, while Barney Calame's used to be here. Neither link works any more. Clearly, if you want to make an impression on the public editor, it's best to avoid any hint that you might be a blogger. It seems that McArdle should have mailed Hoyt an official complaint, on Atlantic letterhead, signing herself the Business and Economics Editor of The Atlantic: Hoyt would probably have taken that more seriously. It's very sad that he still hasn't moved on from that credentialist world.