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Week of June 16, 2003

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Sign of the Times
In “Crisis on West 43rd: Troubled Times” [May 26], Michael Wolff delivers an equal-opportunity skewering of both New York Times veterans and the doomed regime of Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd. His descriptions of the two warring camps are spot-on. What’s really scary is Mr. Wolff’s allegation that the goal of Raines’s administration was to change the newspaper into the “World’s Greatest Information Brand.” Someone’s tried that already, and the ensuing disaster is known as AOL Time Warner.
-Richard Judelsohn, Buffalo, N.Y.

After 35 years of teaching college, I can tell you that few students today know about plagiarism or care much about its implications. Many consider making things up or buying papers found on the Internet a useful expedient and express remorse only if they are found out. Students have always cheated; modern technology makes it faster and easier, and modern ethics make it more acceptable. There are lots of Jayson Blairs out there; they just haven’t been caught.
-Marilyn Goodman, Yaphank, N.Y.

How wonderful it is to live in a country where liars, con men, and scammers can take advantage of their colleagues and friends, express no remorse for their chicanery, and still be rewarded with book deals and movie treatments. God bless America.
-Milford Prewitt, Brooklyn

Michael Wolff’s excellent piece on the Jayson Blair affair was particularly pleasing because, unlike so many other commentators, he did not give undue prominence to the role of affirmative action. His insightful analysis should give pause to those who have rushed to the judgment that Blair’s race is the culprit.
-Carl L. Williams, San Francisco, Calif.

I was surprised to see a picture of myself used as an illustration for Carl Swanson’s “The Battle for the Newsroom” [“Crisis on West 43rd,” May 26]. I can understand that you wanted to show Jon Landman and Howell Raines on Pulitzer day, but I was disturbed to read the caption that refers to me as “since replaced,” which seems to imply that I was also “removed.” The decision not to be the picture editor any longer was completely mine. When I return from sabbatical, my new position will be senior editor for visuals.
-Margaret O’Connor, Manhattan

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