Perspectives in Journalism

September 18, 2008

Journalism table talk

Filed under: Journalism — willnortonjr @ 12:05 am
Will Norton, Jr., dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Will Norton, Jr.

Today, I met with a few members of the Freedom Forum board on the 7th floor of the Newseum in Washington.

We sat around a table that once graced the boardroom of the New York Times.  Around that table had sat many of the world’s leaders in serious conversations with executives of the Times.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr. likes to tell about the day he was being considered for the chairmanship of the newspaper’s board of directors.

New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.

New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

According to the story:

The board deliberated while Arthur waited outside. Finally, he was called into the room.

Arthur’s father, Punch, sat at the end of the table.  He congratulated his son on being named the new chairman and asked Arthur to take his position in the chairman’s seat at the end of the table.

Arthur expressed his thanks for the appointment, but declined to take the seat traditionally held by the chairman. Instead, he sat at the middle of the table.

I reflected on that anecdote and thought of the rich traditions and significant developments that had taken place at that table as I looked out over the mid-morning traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue.


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