“Rolling Stone” Writer Asks: Have You Heard Of This “Rolling Stone” Reality Show?

Jan 16th, 2007 // 10 Comments

Thanks to the phoned-in half-day yesterday, we’re only now catching up with the weekend’s less-essential New York Times sections. So we were surprised to notice the Sunday Styles’ above-the-fold piece on MTV’s reality-show insta-dud I’m From Rolling Stone. Why? Because the article was written by a Rolling Stone contributor, a fact that everyone convenientally forgot to mention.

Although the story is about the media’s interest in portraying magazine-office life, it’s pegged to I’m From Rolling Stone, and even includes a quote from the magazine’s founder, Jann Wenner. That’s all well and good, except that nowhere is it mentioned that the author of the piece, Lola Ogunnaike, last year wrote a Rolling Stone cover story on Kanye West. So, in essence, she gets to write about (and quote) a guy who could eventually help her land future plum RS assignments, something that no one at the Times deemed worthy of disclosure.

Look, we realize that writing about the industry that feeds you can get messy. But lordy, does anyone care about conflict-of-interest rules anymore? Or is the Times giving every contributor a permission slip to write about their former and future bosses? Yay, asleep-at-the-wheel editing! Yay, bad journalism!

TV Drama Rips The Cover Off Magazines [NY Times]

  1. janine

    I thought she wasn’t allowed to write for Rolling Stone again:

    New York Post, November 6, 2006 “ONCE again, The New York Times is playing favorites. Last week, it was reported that talented culture writer Lola Ogunnaike was suspended after appearing on “The View” even though other Times reporters appear regularly on television. But now we hear Ogunnaike was warned several months ago for another perceived infraction – when she wrote the cover story for the February issue of Rolling Stone on Kanye West. “She was told she could not write for any other publications after that,” said our source. Funny – her colleague Maureen Dowd (who regularly appears on Bill Maher’s show and other programs) wrote the Rolling Stone cover story this month on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. We bet Dowd isn’t going to get spanked for that. The Times didn’t respond to our requests for comment.”

  2. Brian Raftery

    Not really sure what one has to do with the other. When you have a relationship with any organization–past or present–you gotta disclose it when said organization comes up. It’s an ethical must that applies to vice-presidents and freelance writers alike, and all it takes is one parenthetical aside.

  3. rchick

    The mighty Dowd didn’t write that piece…. she turned on a tape recorder and lo and behold! the lowly interns transcribed.

  4. janine

    The main point of my post was to bring up old dirt, Mr. McAngerton.

  5. Brian Raftery

    Sorry; I misread. Also, how did you know I’m Irish?

  6. janine

    I mean, you don’t think it’s interesteing that of all of the people the NYT could send to do the story, they got the person they almost fired for writing for RS?

  7. IvyLeagueMetalhead

    MoDo’s cover story didn’t raise any eyebrows because it was all about her…No conflict there, right?

    PS. Can I start referring to Rolling Stone as RoSto?

  8. janine

    I’ve got excellent Gae(lic)dar! (thank you!) That and your last name’s Raftery.

  9. Brian Raftery

    I definitely agree–and that fact makes this story’s ability to get past the Times‘ editing process even more bizarre.

  10. sailor

    anyone who seriously believes writing about or quoting jann wenner assures them of “future plum RS assignments” is living in a parallel universe.

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