- (NY Times Public Editor, 11/17/08): "NOT long before the election, The Times published an unflattering front-page profile of Cindy McCain, inspiring a new round of accusations that the newspaper was biased against her husband.
- Some critics were especially angry about one of the reporting tactics: Trying to find sources for information about Mrs. McCain,
- a reporter reached out to 16- and 17-year-olds through Facebook, the social networking site....
- When is it appropriate to ask a youngster for information? When is it appropriate to quote a child on the record? When is it O.K. to name a minor involved in a crime or other news event?
- Kantor’s Facebook messages and a Times interview late last month with a 12-year-old witness to a high-profile arrest again tested where the balance is between the interests of the newspaper — and its readers —
- and the interests of children who may not understand the consequences of talking with a reporter.***
Kantor said she messaged students at three private schools, trying to find out if the McCains’ 16-year-old daughter, Bridget, attended one of them. She said she wanted to interview parents who knew Cindy McCain as a normal part of reporting on someone who might become the first lady. “I’ve talked to parents at the Obamas’ kids’ schools,” she said.
- In her message to “eight or nine” students, Kantor identified herself as a Times reporter and said, “I’d love to ask you some advice about a story.” She asked for parents and “anyone else I should talk to — basically anyone who has encountered Mrs. McCain and might be able to share impressions.” Kantor told me that she would never have quoted the teenagers themselves."...