Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Compare and Contrast

Same news conference, in Amman, Jordan, attended by the Reuters correspondent and by Jeff Zeleny of the NYT. Reports from both journalists can be found at

Obama says committed to Iraq withdrawal plan
AMMAN: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Tuesday he was committed to a 16-month timetable for a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, after a trip in which he met Iraqi leaders and U.S. officials.
Obama was speaking in the Jordanian capital as part of a tour of the region in which he has sought to shift the focus of U.S. military efforts from Iraq to Afghanistan, where al Qaeda and the Taliban are resurgent.
The question of when to withdraw some 147,000 U.S. troops in Iraq overshadowed the first term senator's trip. Obama has made his opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 a centrepiece of his election campaign.
"What I have proposed is a steady, deliberate draw down over the course of 16 months," he told a news conference in Amman.
Obama has said the draw down would enable more troops to be deployed in Afghanistan, where insurgent attacks in the past two months have killed more U.S. soldiers than in Iraq.
He described the situation in Afghanistan as "perilous and urgent" and said al Qaeda and the Taliban were planning more attacks in the United States."

In Afghanistan and the border region of Pakistan, al Qaeda and the Taliban are mounting a growing offensive against the security of the Afghan people and increasingly the Pakistani people, while plotting new attacks against the United States," he said.

Obama says he would not hesitate to overrule American commanders
AMMAN: Senator Barack Obama said Tuesday that there was "no doubt security has improved in Iraq," but that he would not hesitate to overrule American commanders and redirect forces to fight what he called "a perilous and urgent" battle against terrorism in Afghanistan.
"My job as a candidate for president and a potential commander in chief extends beyond Iraq," Obama told reporters in Jordan after finishing a three-day tour of Iraq and Afghanistan.Obama, who is on a weeklong trip through the Middle East and Western Europe, lauded the efforts of the U.S. military to reduce violence in Iraq.
He conceded that top U.S. commanders had said they resisted the idea of a timetable for withdrawing troops, saying that they wanted to "retain as much flexibility as possible."
Asked whether he intended to ignore their advice, Obama declared: "No, I'm factoring in their advice, but placing it in this broader strategic framework that's required."

The different lead elements of their respective stories, and the different focus of the headlines, show to me that Reuters have a much better understanding of writing for a global audience than the American-centric (almost tabloid like headline), domestic politics approach of the NYT.

Which poses this question:

If Reuters is deemed good enough to be the backbone of the IHT's business coverage, and given the appalling mess the NYT is in financially (and on basically any metric you care to mention), why don't they just hand over the foreign news gathering to Reuters too?

It would save a lot of money. And at the majority of foreign news is ALREADY coming from Reuters (and other wire services).

(Another question is why Reuters don't run their own consumer news brand site? I've put that out there before, and it's a good question. I think that's the risk of letting them gain a greater consumer profile in the pages of the IHT.)

Punch is talking about aggregating content from other news rivals. Well, if he's up for that, why not save a heap of money and just go with Reuters?

Then allocate NYT editors, from cheaper State-side locations or less expensive and less demanding 'off-the-news bureaus', to sit back and write more off-the-news analysis.

Just a thought.

International Herald Tribune
New York Times

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