Mathowie in New York Times August 25, 2005 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Matthew Haughey, technology journalist (NYT, registration req.)
posted by planetkyoto to MetaFilter-Related at 7:29 AM (39 comments total)

Kinda reads like a corporate press release. But, you know, money is good.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:37 AM on August 25, 2005


Christ, enough already with the single-link posts to NYT artic-

oh, hang on.


(I so want one of those chairs. Cool article.)
posted by flashboy at 7:37 AM on August 25, 2005


Congrats Matt! Care to reveal your sources or do we have to jail you? ;)
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:37 AM on August 25, 2005


A little background pulled out of Matt's a.whole.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:41 AM on August 25, 2005


Congrats, again, Matt.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:45 AM on August 25, 2005


Good job Matt.
posted by caddis at 7:48 AM on August 25, 2005


Nice. There's a NYT science reporter who has my name, but it isn't me. I wish it were.
posted by OmieWise at 7:56 AM on August 25, 2005


Golly, it really is about who you know.
posted by keswick at 8:06 AM on August 25, 2005


If someone could combine the StarSeeker chair with the Tantric Sex chair, then we'd maybe have something.
posted by iconomy at 8:09 AM on August 25, 2005


Kinda reads like a corporate press release

It's tough to write a review where you can't say "I" or make direct references to experiences with something. The section of gadget reviews is pretty dry and I had to follow the style, so I couldn't make a joke about how ridiculously overpriced a motorized reclining chair was and I couldn't tell a story of how incredibly relaxed I felt after looking at the stars for an hour in my backyard, all alone after midnight on a warm summer night in total darkness.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:10 AM on August 25, 2005


Our fearless leader has moved up in the world. Serious congratulations Matt.
posted by jay at 8:19 AM on August 25, 2005


Did you get to keep the chair?

Did you actually try out the chair or did you just Blair it and make up that you'd seen it?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:23 AM on August 25, 2005


Matt - that just shows the limitations of their style. I'd much rather read your joke and personal description.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:27 AM on August 25, 2005


Change them from within!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:39 AM on August 25, 2005


Naw, you don't get to keep anything, it's kind of a major rule at real publications.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:46 AM on August 25, 2005


Congratulations, Matt.

Send me the chair.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:06 AM on August 25, 2005


I don't understand why, if it isn't an advertisement, one couldn't at least throw the word "pricey" in there. I'd think it would be totally acceptable to discuss the price just as you would any other feature of the item.
posted by odinsdream at 9:15 AM on August 25, 2005


http://www.metafilter.com/images/bigha.gif


posted by Stynxno at 9:39 AM on August 25, 2005


Wow, they put your name in there TWICE.
posted by kindall at 9:43 AM on August 25, 2005


I was gonna say "What's this 'bukkake' stuff?"
posted by davy at 9:44 AM on August 25, 2005


Intersting catch, Stinky.

Matt, congrats on the gig. I'll have to check it out on Thursday. But you might want to avoid reviewing products for companies that you have done business with. Ethics hounds would jump all over that. And that is an annoyance you don't need interfering with your writing gig.
posted by dios at 10:10 AM on August 25, 2005


I was gonna say "What's this 'bukkake' stuff?"

yeah, what the heck is that?
posted by PenguinBukkake at 10:31 AM on August 25, 2005


Yeah dios, I did worry about that and explained it to my editor upfront, but I haven't had any dealings with that company in over a year and have no way of benefiting from it. It will be a challenge in the future if I'm taking more ads on mefi and pvrblog while reviewing phone/pvr/game gadgets but I'll never review an item that is being actively advertised on my site, nor would I accept ads for companies in the future that I've written about in the past.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:02 AM on August 25, 2005


Good call talking about it with your editor. Since some people have an ethics pole up their ass, they like to yell conflict at everything. So its good that you are transparent like that. It will help you avoid any issues. I'm sure most people think of you as an honest guy, so the quid pro quo issue shouldn't be a concern. But it would be a bummer to have your credibility questioned for no good reason. That issue is just tricky enough that it causes people to question the motives of otherwise honest people.
posted by dios at 11:25 AM on August 25, 2005


Also, as a technical matter, there probably isn't a conflict in your scenario. But as Justice Thomas wrote in one opinion: the problem is rarely actual corruption; it is the appearance of corruption that is the real danger.
posted by dios at 11:27 AM on August 25, 2005


you can't say "I" or make direct references to experiences with something.

Well that's certainly weird. What makes it a review, then? Not snarking, I'm just curious.
posted by mr.marx at 11:29 AM on August 25, 2005


Matt is ethically in the clear, and kudos to him for the disclosure. I'm very surprised the NYTimes editors let it happen, though. Local TV news stations have long passed along pre-packaged infomercials as real news stories; you'd think that the Paper of Record wants to avoid the appearance of impropriety especially post-Jayson Blair.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:45 AM on August 25, 2005


Well, instead of saying "I found the seat comfortable" you would say "The seat is comfortable" or even just slip it into another sentence, as in "The comfortable seat reclines..."

You don't have to say that "comfortable" is your opinion as a reviewer. It's obviously subjective, and who else's opinion would it be but that of the person who wrote the review? And a statement carries more authority when it's not prefaced with "In my opinion." When you say "In my opinion" you are really saying "Well, it's only my opinion, and my opinion probably isn't very important and I could easily be wrong, but anyway I think..." -- and that's a pretty weak way to begin a sentence.

In my opinion. ;)

(Source: "The Lively Art of Writing" by Lucile Vaughan Payne. The book from which you should have learned essay writing in high school, and if you didn't your education is sadly deficient. Still have my copy; do you?)
posted by kindall at 11:47 AM on August 25, 2005


Of course I'm just envious because nobody pays me for anything I write. I doubt they would even I bothered to find out what kinds of things I could write that somebody might pay me for.

Is there an "Internet Trolling For Dummies" book yet?
posted by davy at 12:18 PM on August 25, 2005


Um, kindall, I'm not asking about semantics, I'm asking about how you can review something without mentioning your experiences with it, since a review - normally - is one persons experience of the product.

And I've not gone to high school, btw.
posted by mr.marx at 12:26 PM on August 25, 2005


On second thought, forget it. I reread and understand it now.
My brain hurts today, sorry.
posted by mr.marx at 12:54 PM on August 25, 2005


Definetly better than Sarah Vowell.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:58 PM on August 25, 2005


Definitely.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:58 PM on August 25, 2005


I don't know -- have you ever actually sat on Sarah Vowell?
posted by gigawhat? at 1:47 PM on August 25, 2005


Well done, sir.
posted by me3dia at 2:09 PM on August 25, 2005


have you ever actually sat on Sarah Vowell?
posted by gigawhat? at 1:47 PM PST on August 25 [!]


I'd love to.

Or vice versa, email's in profile, baby!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 2:27 PM on August 25, 2005


It needs a cupholder.

So I can put my Pepsi Blue in it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:11 PM on August 25, 2005


Who, Sarah Vowell?!
posted by Mid at 4:26 PM on August 25, 2005


congrats.
posted by Edible Energy at 7:05 PM on August 25, 2005


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