NYT Learns from Failure


The New York Times admitted a mistake: the paper failed to write obituaries for some extraordinary women:

Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, just over one in five of our subjects were female.

The paper has begun a collection of obits for people "who left indelible marks but were nonetheless overlooked." Write-ups are available for 15 women, including Sylvia Plath, an accomplished poet who committed suicide; Margaret Abbott, the first woman to win an Olympics game; and Ida B. Wells, who fought racism and lynchings in the South in the 1890s.


  • How well does The New York Times address the failure? 
  • Why are they writing these obituaries now? What are the arguments for the collection and against it?