John Elder Robison: “Why The Times remains the paper of record”

I typically don’t highlight blog comments, but I’m going to make an exception and reprint something a reader wrote in reference to my post on Amy Harmon’s excellent story in Monday’s New York Times about the romance between Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith, two young adults with Asperger syndrome. The comment is from John Elder Robison, Jack’s father and the author of Look Me In the Eye, a best-selling memoir about John’s own experiences with Asperger’s. He wrote:

One thing that’s not visible to readers is the tremendous effort Amy put into writing this story. She travelled from New York to Massachusetts five times to visit my son and Kirsten. The supporting photographers made just as many trips. In addition, a videographer made two trips to shoot those little videos people liked so much.

Amy and her crew put more work into this than any news story I have ever been part of. She sacrificed holidays, weekends, and family time to get it done. Their dedication is most impressive, and it makes clear why the Times remains The paper of record.

This is a crucial point: To produce the type of journalism that Harmon produced requires a tremendous effort from many more people than just the writer. It also requires an enormous amount of institutional support; when you figure in staff salaries, this is a story that might well have cost into the six figures to produce. That the Times maintains its commitment to this type of probing, long-form journalism during a time of economic contraction throughout the media world is something we should all be thankful for.

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