The New York Times Experienced Premature Publication on Keystone XL

NYT BuildingThe New York Times just can’t catch a break.

The editors of the Old Grey Lady have serious sight problems, as noted with this unfortunate front page drama and this mistreated story. We aren’t sure if it’s the ghost of former executive editor Jill Abramson haunting the newsroom halls, but something is afoot. And much like one with no socks in a crusty pair of Toms, it stinks.

Enter into the fray the much-debated story about the Keystone XL pipeline. (For context, our fearless leader posted on the leak of Edelman’s “strategy” documents regarding a similar project from the same company, TransCanada).

The main recent story line in the Keystone XL drama involved the U.S. Senate, which narrowly voted down a related proposal. Nice story! Too bad it went live about an hour before the actual vote took place.


The linked story is correct, but the Times got blasted for running it early online. Unless Nostradamus is interested in Canadian energy, that was bad form. Originally, the placeholder for the number of votes read “Senate Democrats narrowly defeated [the] bill TK to TK,” according to HuffPo.

What’s “TK”? It’s shorthand journo jargon for “to come.” (We know. We know. But maybe there was a dude named “TC” who didn’t want to be called out in the roaring 20s.) Essentially, if you are under deadline but don’t have the final trimmings on the article, “TK” tells your editor “I got it, when I get it.”

And then this happened:

That’s Dave Weigel, Bloomberg politics reporter. Needless to say, word traveled fast from this tweet. And in case the Times didn’t get the message, Twitter was there with a reminder:

The lesson, as if you needed to hear it: journalists screw up sometimes. We’re all only human.