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The New York Times, the self-described paragon of journalism, embarrassed itself thoroughly Tuesday when it hired, and hours later fired, a "lead opinion writer" brought on to focus "on the power, culture and consequences of technology" — because the paper inadequately investigated her Twitter history.
Just before 3 p.m., the Times tweeted that it had hired Quinn Norton:
Times - Officials - Announcement
Three Times officials made the official announcement:
We’re delighted to announce that Quinn Norton has joined The New York Times editorial board as our lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology.
Quinn - Work - Wired - Anonymous - Occupy
Quinn is probably best known for her work at Wired, where she reported on Anonymous, the Occupy movement, and hacker culture and wrote regularly for the digital security blog Threat Level. She was also a columnist at Maximum PC magazine for five years, and she’s written regularly for Medium and contributed to The Atlantic, ProPublica and Gizmodo. We find ourselves at a moment of profound uncertainty about the role of technology in our lives ...
Quinn's time as an embedded Occupy activist must have tantalized the editorial board's dedicated leftists.
Paper - Uncertainty - Employees - Internet - Activity
The paper's technological "uncertainty" extended to how to vet new employees' Internet activity.
The Times had at least two weeks to investigate Norton. Her post about her hiring indicates that she knew she had something to hide, and hoped she wouldn't be found out:
Life - Publication - Time
... I'm trading in freelance life and joining a publication full time.
I'll be joining the New York...
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Hell sometimes looks an awful lot like an office cubicle.