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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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taped discussion that the publisher and I had, under the sponsorship of a sociology professor named [Chris] Argyris. This professor, Argyris, was conducting what I could only call a psychoanalytic, sociological examination of the New York Times, and the relationship between the executives, which I had thought was a mistake for us to let him get into in the first place, but which the publisher arranged, not only agreed to but arranged. And it involved examinations, discussions, not only between the publisher and the top executives, but among some of the executives themselves, and in one big conference, in New Jersey at a conference center, in which all the top executives of the Times were present, and had a kind of almost psychoanalysis, one could say, in which we all were urged and entreated and encouraged to come out with our views, not only of our own work but much more particularly, our critical opinions of each other. This done in public, in the sense - I don't mean with any outside public present, of course, but in roundtable discussions. And some of these discussions brought out tremendous tensions and disagreements, fundamental disagreements, that I certainly had not even been aware of.

In my own case, editorial versus news department, there was one extremely uncomfortable session in which I was accused very specifically by the managing editor, Rosenthal, of running too “strident” a page, which was an accusation that I didn't particularly appreciate, because I felt that while our page was strong, it was not “strident.” And I in turn was quite critical of the tendency in the news department to which I've already alluded in this discussion, of turning toward feature news and away from hard news. And I used the word, a phrase such as “turning the Times into a magazine,” which was a phrase that Rosenthal very, very severely objected to, and I don't believe has ever even now forgiven me for, although there are many of the older people at the Times, including Reston privately, who

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