Imagine you're the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper . . . OK, editor of the metropolitanest of major metropolitan newspapers.
Imagine that you need to announce that your managing editor is going to step away from that job for six months to run the paper's online operations. Imagine likewise that you also are announcing that three editors will take turns filling in for her.
AND WHILE you're at it, can you imagine any good reason to throw the following lines into the staff memo? The New York Times' Bill Keller could:
No doubt this rotation will be widely analyzed, interpreted and speculated about. (I look forward to hearing and reading a lot of entertaining nonsense.)
NOTHING SAYS "I think you're all a bunch of petty, nonsensical morons" like immediately assuming the worst of your staff -- and everyone else -- then giving the impression you're explaining the process only because you know people will be coming up with all that "entertaining nonsense," not that that will stop the idiots.
And if the boss has so little confidence in his charges at The New York Times -- America's "newspaper of record," why should we? For what nonsensical reason, in that case, should we bother reading a publication put together by such a collection of dolts and gossips?
For what insane reason would an editor feel the need to say something like that in a staff memo, and say it so . . . gratuitously?
NO DOUBT, this memo will be widely analyzed, interpreted and speculated about. One only can hope (for the sake of the Times) that the easiest conclusion to draw -- that its author is a smug jerk who isn't exactly building an institutional culture conducive to success -- is just a lot of entertaining nonsense.