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How To Write for the New York Times Technology Section in 4 Easy Steps

You can write for the New York Times Technology section, and I’ll show you how in four easy steps:

1. Subscribe to the Apple Press Release newsfeed at http://www.apple.com/pr/ so that every time Apple comes out with a new gadget, you’ll know right away.

To Write for the New York Times Technology Section, First Subscribe to the Apple PR Newsfeed

2. When an Apple corporate press release pops up on your newsfeed reader, read it, then head back over to http://www.apple.com/pr/ and collect the images for news media prepared for you by the Apple public relations division.

Apple Prepares Images for the New York Times to use so the New York Times won't have to do its own work

3. Use the Apple PR image so you don’t have to take a photograph, and rewrite the information from the press release to write your very own piece of New York Times journalism.

New York Times Legal Department threatens Irregular Times with a lawsuit unless we remove the proof that the New York Times' "article" is a regurgitated Apple Corporate Press Release

4. Put your name at the top so everyone knows you did it!

Follow the example of the very best in journalism. Are these people professional or what?

Source documents:

Apple’s Touching New Mouse “By” Stephen Williams, October 20 2009

http://movies.apple.com/movies/us/pr/photos/magicmouse/magicmousehero.tif.zip
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/10/20magicmouse.html
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/10/20imac.html
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/10/20macbook.html

14 thoughts on “How To Write for the New York Times Technology Section in 4 Easy Steps”

  1. Jacob says:

    IT staff,

    Are you doing NaNo this year?

    1. Jim says:

      Good question. I’m not sure whether I am. My attempt last year didn’t go so well.

  2. Bob S-K says:

    Good post. I left a comment at the original article this morning (Friday, 10/23/09) mentioning your piece and asking what others–including the author–think of the suggestion that his work may not be entirely original. The comment hasn’t appeared yet. I’ll keep checking.

    1. Jim says:

      Thanks, Bob.

      I guess I wouldn’t mind so much if the particular specs came from the press release, so long as there was something independent and original to the piece. But there wasn’t — it was almost cutting and pasting the promo text, right down to some of the vocabulary (“inherits” this and “swipe” that).

      I get the idea that the author didn’t actually get his hands on or actually see the product to evaluate it, because if he did, then he’d be able to evaluate it. How can he promote a product he hasn’t seen, or might as well not have seen for the lack of independent writing?

      1. Truman says:

        How he can promote a product he hasn’t seen: The New York Times is primarily an engine for the delivery of advertisements. Journalism comes 2nd.

    2. Jim says:

      Update: Bob’s questioning comment has not appeared on the New York Times article‘s associated web page, and he submitted it this morning.

      Other people’s comments, written after Bob submitted his, have appeared on the New York Times article’s web page. Apparently, Bob’s question isn’t considered to be an appropriate one by the New York Times.

  3. qs says:

    I still want one.

  4. Bob S-K says:

    Jim, you’re right. They didn’t post my comment. Moments ago I posted another comment, just as polite, asking about the other comment and summarizing the issue: that an article at Irregular Times suggests the review may not be entirely original. This is pretty tame, if you ask me. I’m surprised at the New York Times.

    I posted my second comment attempt on 10/23/2009 at 9:15 pm Eastern time.

    1. Bob S-K says:

      Yet another update. This comment went further along than the first. The site now shows my comment with “YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION” at the top, and it shows a permalink for my comment:
      http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/apples-touching-new-mouse/?apage=2#comment-42703

    2. Jim says:

      Hey, Bob!

      Unfortunately, I think your comment “awaiting moderation” only shows up for you: when I follow your link I don’t see it.

      Maybe they’re just waiting because they love your comment SO much. 🙂 Let’s see what happens overnight.

  5. Jim says:

    This morning, your questioning comment still isn’t there, and I don’t think it’s going to be there.

    It turns out the New York Times has a comments policy that while seeming to welcome criticism actually doesn’t permit criticism of the New York Times:

    “What about criticism of The Times?

    We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don’t want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies, and we will moderate accordingly.”

    I think that means go ahead and criticize our work, how lovely, we’ll moderate it off the comments. That’s certainly what happened to your two comments, Bob.

    This is what the New York Times wants you to do instead:

    “Readers dissatisfied with a response or concerned about the paper’s journalistic integrity may reach the public editor at public@nytimes.com or (212) 556-7652.”

    In other words, please criticize our journalistic integrity in private, where such discussions belong.

    Well, poppycock to that. This morning, I’m getting in touch with the public editor, yes. But we need to make the issue public, too. The New York Times makes its reports in public, after all. The “Grey Lady” has spent years and years boasting about its journalistic standards (and denigrating the standards of other media) in public. This PR journalism by the New York Times is a persistent problem, and it’s time that was publicly known.

    1. Jim says:

      Awesome work, Bob.

  6. Jim says:

    I’ve written the New York Times on this — both the ombudsman and the tech editor — and neither has returned any messages.

    That’s not to say that the New York Times hasn’t written me back: the LEGAL department has just threatened to sue me if I don’t take down the image that demonstrates this article is a piece of regurgitated press release. Hence the black box.

    Text of the article was shown for purposes of criticism of the New York Times’ reporting (or, more accurately, non-reporting) methods, which is protected under Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law as “fair use.” But can I afford to go up in a lawsuit against a company that owns an entire building in Manhattan?

    So it’s down, New York Times. But, you know, I think I feel the need to write a little bit more about this.

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