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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Let's talk about Halberstam particularly, because that's why I wanted to get to that. In Halberstam's reports and those of some of our other reporters in Vietnam, I felt, at the time, even though feeling quite totally in sympathy with what they were reporting, and as a matter of fact being quite influenced, I'm sure, in my own editorial position by their reporting - I felt that it nevertheless was highly editorial in many instances. And I also felt that it was the duty of the Times to edit out this, what I saw as editorialization, even though the editorialization was in the same direction as our editorial policy. Do I make myself clear? I felt that it was the responsibility of the news department, of the news desks even more than of the reporter himself, because a reporter himself gets caught up in something, and in some cases it's very hard to eliminate an editorial opinion. But that's the responsibility of the desk.

Halberstam, I pick on as a particularly good case, for two reasons. One is that I felt that his stories, wonderful as they were, were highly editorial, and they also happened to be editorial in the direction in which I too believed. But I felt strongly that the editorial side, the opinion side of these stories should have been edited out at the desk here in New York. That applies to many stories that we had, and I was constantly attempting to - I was constantly complaining to the news department, mainly to Turner Catledge, who was at that time in charge, and subsequently to his successors, about what I felt was editorialization in the news stories.


This was part, was it not, of the whole turmoil of the sixties, the so-called “New Journalism”?

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