Department of Communication
Master of Arts
In May of 2003 one of the most respected periodicals on the planet, The New York Times, ran a front page 14,000 word apology in the Sunday Times, for fallacious reporting conducted by Jayson Blair. In his four year tenure at the Times, Blair falsified sources, lied about conducting interviews, and erroneously reported on important details of some of the nation's top stories. After a widespread investigation into Blair's stories by other Times reporters, journalism's old grey lady was forced to face the public and provide them with answers, an explanation, and an apology for this breach of trust. This study uses the work of William Benoit and Susan Brinson as a framework to analyze the Times' image restoration strategies employed in its apology. This paper will add to the tremendous amount of image restoration literature as well as demonstrate the need for more research of this kind focused on the print media industry. This study finds that The New York Timesl May 11, 2003 apology did adhere to the image restoration strategies offered by William Benoit and Susan Brinson. The study also proves that, since stock prices and subscription rates for the publication were virtually unaffected following the apology, the Times' response was effective at restoring the public's trust following this transgression.
Lux, Jace, "Confessions of Journalism's Old Gray Lady: Deceptive Reporting at the New York Times" (2005). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 507.