NYT’s business editor ups ante on public editor

The business editor of the New York Times has gone public with a complaint about the public editor’s criticism of business coverage.

Public Editor Art Brisbane’s August 28 column “was so absurd and so poorly reasoned that I felt compelled to write a response,” wrote Business Editor Larry Ingrassia in a memo he forwarded to media blogger Jim Romenesko.

The newspaper’s editor and the public editor often are at odds, but the Romenesko posting seemed to up the ante.

At issue is the newspaper’s increased focus on Wall Street insider coverage in print and online under the “DealBook” label. Brisbane questioned whether other coverage has suffered as a result.

“When the world economic system shuddered and stock markets dropped,” Brisbane wrote, “I was left wondering whether The Times should spend its money not on expanding DealBook but on enlarging its stable of journalists aimed at the wider subjects of international banks and sovereign debt.”

Ingrassia replied that the column “left me wondering how closely you read the Times — or at least our financial coverage.”

Public Affairs journalism students should read Brisbane’s column and Ingrassia’s memo. Which argument is stronger? Is this an internal cat fight, or are there wider journalistic issues?