Poverty so pervasive that it hampered evacuation [in New Orleans] would seem to have been worthy of The Times's attention before it emerged as a pivotal challenge two weeks ago. And the inadequacies of the levee system deserved to be brought to the attention of readers more clearly long before the storm hit. [Emphasis added]
Yet a look back over the past 10 years of Times coverage of New Orleans in its news columns raises serious questions about how well the paper helped readers recognize and understand these two major problems that have compounded the devastation and tragedy of the storm.
This is the verdict of Byron Calame, NYTimes' public editor. Sure, the newspaper did not do the things pointed out by Calame, but it is asking the right questions.