I’m trying to wind down my posts about Michael Hiltzik. But I note that Cathy Seipp has also heard the rumor floated by Nikki Finke that Hiltzik will be reassigned to “sports investigations.” It’s still a rumor, of course, but I find rumors to be more credible coming from Cathy than from Finke.
One of Cathy’s commenters has this tongue-in-cheek speculation about Hiltzik’s first assignment.
In all seriousness, I wish Mr. Hiltzik good luck at his next assignment, whatever it is.
By the way, Cathy also notes (as did Kevin Roderick the other day) editor Baquet’s befuddlement that the crowd at the book fair didn’t seem to understand why Hiltzik had lost his column:
The Hiltzik affair may be a hot media story, but one that probably leaves average Times subscribers scratching their heads. “I think our readers representative said that maybe 20 people wrote in about Hiltzik,” Baquet said, adding that a lot of readers may be awfully confused by what happened to Hiltzik’s business section column, which was cancelled late Friday afternoon.
You mean readers don’t all read the little Editor’s Notes they publish in a small box on Page A2?
As commenter Bradley J. Fikes said in a comment at Cathy’s blog:
Going way out on a limb here, but that confusion just might be related to the Times’ nearly non-existent coverage of the issue.
Fikes has been saying that the paper ought to publish Baquet’s explanation for the reassignment, as explained to Roderick the other day: that he couldn’t have a business columnist unable to credibly write about duplicity. Perhaps they could publish some variant of this passage from an internal staff memo, which didn’t make it into the Editor’s Note about Hiltzik:
A columnist has a special place within The Times. Editors, colleagues and, most of all, readers must trust the integrity and judgment of a columnist because of the freedom that comes with the job. Mike often used his column to pillory business leaders for duplicity or violating the trust of employees, shareholders or the public and we are no longer comfortable granting him that special place within our newspaper.
Mr. Baquet, wouldn’t publishing this explanation be better than leaving your readers “awfully confused” about the reasons things are happening at your newspaper?