NYT public editor: Lolo Jones story was ‘too harsh’

Lolo Jones fires back at her critics and gets emotional when discussing what she feels was harsh criticism from a recent New York Times story.

After Lolo Jones tearfully claimed on TODAY Wednesday that she was “ripped to shreds” in a recent New York Times piece, the Times’ public editor called the story “too harsh’’ in an article on Thursday.

Public editor Arthur S. Brisbane, who is the “readers’ representative” at the Times, wrote on Thursday that “in this particular case, I think the writer was particularly harsh, even unnecessarily so.’’ The piece on Aug. 3 by staff writer Jere Longman, “For Lolo Jones at the Olympics, Everything is Image,’’ argued that Jones is more sex appeal and media hype than substance.

In the story, Longman quotes the director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies comparing Jones to former tennis professional Anna Kournikova, who was known more for her good looks than anything she did on the court.

“This piece struck me as quite harsh and left me, along with others, wondering why the tone was so strong,’’ Brisbane wrote.

After finishing a disappointing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles on Tuesday, Jones addressed the Times story on TODAY Wednesday.

“I think it was crazy just because it was two days before I competed, and then the fact that it was from a U.S. media,’’ Jones told Savannah Guthrie before fighting back tears. “They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes and instead they just ripped me to shreds. I just thought that that was crazy because I worked six days a week, every day, for four years for a 12-second race and the fact that they just tore me apart, which is heartbreaking.

“They didn’t even do their research, calling me the Anna Kournikova of track. I have the American record. I am the American record holder indoors, I have two world indoor titles. Just because I don’t boast about these things, I don’t think I should be ripped apart by media. I laid it out there, fought hard for my country and it’s just a shame that I have to deal with so much backlash when I’m already so brokenhearted as it is.”

Since the article appeared in the “In the Rings’’ section of the Times’ Olympic coverage, it was intended as an opinion piece and not a straight news story, according to Brisbane.

“One person’s harsh is another person’s tough minded,’’ the Times’ sports editor told Brisbane. “(Longman), while acknowledging Jones’s accomplishment and qualities of perseverance and candor, thinks this female athlete fell short.’’

Read More:

Tearful Lolo Jones: Media 'ripped me to shreds' before race
Lolo Jones on virginity talk: 'Maybe I should zip it' 
NBC Olympics: Harper, Wells take veiled shots at Lolo Jones  Lolo Jones: 'When will I meet man of my dreams?'
Lolo Jones is staying a virgin until marriage 
Lolo Jones' post-workout shake







Discuss this post

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4th best in the world in this specific race, not too shabby in my opinion.

  • 7 votes
Reply#1 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 2:30 PM EDT

BUT what about her Hair?

  • 4 votes
#1.1 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 2:49 PM EDT

Agreed - placing 4th amoung the top athletes in the world is pretty good in my book. She should be used to getting ripped at her level by media, other athletes, etc. Pay it the attention it deserves - none.

  • 4 votes
#1.2 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:25 PM EDT

To equate her with Kournikova is absolutely absurd. The mere fact that she made the US Olympic team negates that opinion in the strongest way. The fact that she holds the US record makes it even that much more absurd. The writer that is responsible for the story should be seeking new employment. Aside from the fact that the article was extremely mean-spirited, to publish it days before she was scheduled to compete in one of the biggest races of her career, taking her focus away from the event was unconscionable. Add to that the fact that the opinions expressed were without any real foundation and this guy deserves to be fired. He obviously does not know what he is talking about and should therefor not be writing about these topics.

  • 6 votes
#1.3 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:21 PM EDT

Actually, it's her own statements about keeping her virginity yet being made up the way she is that bring her media glare. She LOVES the attention and brings it on herself.

Boo hoo for you ,Lola. How come we didn't see features on the top three finishers?

  • 7 votes
#1.4 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:32 PM EDT

4th?? So why isn't she 4th in press coverage?? It's all about her looks and her self-promotion. Sure, she's talented but she's not that talented.

  • 5 votes
#1.5 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 5:11 PM EDT

Gee Really,

When was the last time YOU qualified for the Olympics or held an American record in anything other the being a classless douchewad?

This is about a reporter's crass ploy to be self-important by creating some phony gen'd up controversey and a piss poor editor who didn't put much literary effort into the pre-publication review process.

  • 1 vote
#1.6 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:48 AM EDT

Haters will always hate. A high level attractive woman athlete, guess you have to find some fault in there to make yourself feel better.

  • 1 vote
#1.7 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:04 AM EDT

There is no defending Lolo Jones. She has garnered far more publicity than her accomplishments would suggest. Are you aware that an American won the gold in that infamous failure of hers four years ago? The actual winner of that event was ignored because Lolo's failure was more interesting. Really? Lolo herself did little to blunt the attention. She could have pointed out in numerous interviews that while she herself stumbled a fellow American won. She is all about herself and her performance this year does not deserve undue attention. Two Americans won silver and bronze medals while she finished fourth...

  • 1 vote
#1.8 - Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:44 AM EDT

Come on Lolo, this is the media spotlight. You know this. You need to get a bit tougher skin. You never complained about all the attention that has brought you all those lucrative endorsement deals, and you didn't have a problem proclaiming your desire to remain a virgin until marriage (a topic that's like a rare earth magnet for positive and negative attention).

It was a tough article and it was meanspirited, but you made the mistake of tearfully addressing it and giving it more traction and profile in the media than it deserved.

And guess what, a lot of us work six days a week for nothing near as noble and personally lucrative as being a world-class Olympic track and field athlete.

So hitch up your big girl shorts and start consoling yourself by laughing all the way to the bank. You're not really gonna be finding a whole lot of sympathy in most quarters when you're essentially able to make millions for a 4th place finish.

  • 4 votes
Reply#2 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 2:32 PM EDT

Fire the writer!

  • 4 votes
Reply#3 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 2:42 PM EDT

Pete, great thinking by you. How about Miss Jones actually go out and win instead of crying in an interview? Did Lolo ever deflect any of the undue attention she purposely generated? Why not shut down critics like the writer by actually winning? Why should a writer be fired for expressing an opinion? Prove him wrong...

  • 2 votes
#3.1 - Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:56 AM EDT

It's the New York Times - the champion bully of the world, the champion liar of the world, and the champion scum of the world. This paper should be boycotted. It teaches kids how to be bullies!

  • 4 votes
Reply#4 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:01 PM EDT

Don't worry, it's on it's way out anyway. They've lost so much credibility over the years that no one pays attention to them anymore. They've turned into just another tool of the democratic party. They didn't have a clue who Obama was either after the 2008 election. They still don't. At least not that you'd know from their reporting.

  • 1 vote
#4.1 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:59 PM EDT

Just because the writing is at too high a level for you don't make it a bully.

NY TImes has NOT lost credibility.

There have been a few recent events but nothing to kill the most important paper in the world--the reporter whose secret source was Bush's White House, spreading lies about the Iraq War.

  • 2 votes
#4.2 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:35 PM EDT

Bart, you are an idiot, and probably an employee, of one of the slimiest newspapers in the world. This "reporter" Longman is some a$$hole who has never had the opportunity to compete at such a high level, yet, thanks to free speech, can be an a$$hole because of the position he holds! This guy is a piece of @!$%#, and the New York Times is a piece of @!$%# that I hope goes away soon!

  • 2 votes
#4.3 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 6:00 PM EDT

The NYT is a GREAT paper and always will be, you need to have a reasonable IQ in order to read it, maybe that's the problem with the haters...

Lolo needs to suck it up and decide, is she running to be the best in her sport or to catch a man - that's ALL she focuses on (along with her looks and her body and her whatever else that doesn't matter) I'd actually like to read some meaningful stories about the two US women who won silver and bronze, enuf about Lolo!

  • 2 votes
#4.4 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 9:23 PM EDT

Lolo you where great, it is sad the some writer with their short coming lashes out at you. We are all so proud of what you have done. Yo go girl

  • 5 votes
Reply#5 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:22 PM EDT

Considering we provide such little support to our athletes compared to others in the world, I think Lolo can not be faulted for what she has to do to support her training. It is amazing that those who can't do, criticize. She is lucky to be attractive and savvy...one of our athletes who competed had to go to food banks and rely on others to provide her food while she trained...her generous stipend from the USOC was $400 a month. It is amazing to me that we expect our athletes to win without sufficient support to even buy food and put a roof over their heads...perhaps the writer should focus on how we need to increase funding and fund raising for our athletes rather than spewing negativity!! You can't train 6 days a week and hold down a job.

  • 2 votes
Reply#6 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:28 PM EDT

400 bucks a month too much.

Get a job, and stop feeding on the teet.

Frankly, if you want to dream, do it with your own dime and not mine.

  • 1 vote
#6.1 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:51 PM EDT

I've never responded to a commenter in this manner before as I really do believe people are entitled to their opinion regardless if it is in disagreement with your own, but.... William Demuth - you truly are a pathetic prick.

  • 5 votes
#6.2 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 5:11 PM EDT

William Demuth - Unless you donate money to USOC, the $400 is not your dime. USOC is privately funded, not government funded. Her stipend has nothing to do with you.

  • 4 votes
#6.3 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 10:05 PM EDT

Lolo is great, thank you so much for all you have done, sorry for the short comming of the writer

  • 2 votes
Reply#7 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:29 PM EDT

I think the NYT should fire this jack wagon. He is a bully and a liar. What difference should her virginity make to anything. He is an angry bitter little man. Lolo, pay no attention he is just jealous because he hasn't done anything with his life except write for a disreputable paper only suitable for lining a bird cage.

  • 4 votes
Reply#8 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:33 PM EDT

I agree with LOLO...what's up with this writer? LOLO HAS WON several very important prestigious races...as she said...she holds several records...she IS recognized and has been comfirmed through competition to be a top notch olympic class athlete. How many Pulizter prizes has Jere Longman won? LOLO came in fourth by fractions of a second. Cut her a freakin' break.

  • 3 votes
Reply#9 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:36 PM EDT

Oh boo-hoo. A young, beautiful girl who will surely be (if she isn't already) a millionaire for life had mean things said about her. Cry me a river...

  • 3 votes
Reply#10 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:52 PM EDT

Let me speak to you in Scripture:

2 Timothy 3:12

John 8:36

Ephesians 6:10-18

    Reply#11 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 3:53 PM EDT

    Lolo, if you don't want harsh criticism, don't profess your virginity and advertise your Christianity and then pose nude, and then pose again wrapped suggestively in ribbons or thin tape. Sounds as if you've a bit of hypocrisy about you.

    • 3 votes
    Reply#12 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:10 PM EDT

    Why the hell did she read the article and why does she give a rat's ass? Who cares that the article was written two days before the competition? Suck it up, lady.

    And really. The International Centre for Olympic Studies (@ Western University)? Sounds like the Anna Kournikova of schools.

    • 2 votes
    Reply#13 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:15 PM EDT

    I read the NYT story. It came off as a piece written by someone who found Lolo Jones extremely irritating, and wanted to take her down a peg because the author obviously just doesn't like her. While I'm not crazy about Jones's publicity machine either, she didn't deserve to be savaged in public like that.

    • 1 vote
    Reply#14 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:28 PM EDT

    ahhh, I get it...I did wonder why the times would bother, then I realized...she is a professing Christian. It's like holy water to vampires. lololol. Sister, just hang in there. Ignore them and they will slither away into the void.

    • 1 vote
    Reply#15 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:33 PM EDT

    Can't she just keep her religious views to herself? Who cares about her virginity??

    • 2 votes
    #15.1 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:36 PM EDT

    And she should keep her Christianity to herself for what reason? So you won't feel uncomfortable? Sorry, but if this is who she is, then accept it and get over it. Oh yes, and grow up .

    Olympic athletes as a whole are not a wealthy bunch. Yes, some can obtain the endorsement deals and some of those deals can be lucrative. But then factor in the cost of training, not to mention traveling from one international venue to the next. Remember, being an athlete is their job. They aren't sitting in an office from 9 - 5, then running out to take a few laps around the track. These are tremendously gifted individuals, who work to balance their training with paying their bills. These are not trust fund babies.

    As far at the NYT - this is the same rag that recently attempted to smear all of Thoroughbred horse racing. Of course, the examples they used occurred on the Quarter Horse circuit - in New Mexico. So, a single state, a totally different breed of horse - but hey, let's not let those two little discrepancies stop us from condemning every one else, shall we?

      #15.2 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 7:57 PM EDT

      The Olympics aren't about religion...or at least shouldn't be. Really, who cares about her virginity, or lack thereof? She's 30, fer crissakes.
      Just like did we really have to hear about the muslim ladies and their countries whining about not "being covered" enough? It's getting old, the whole religion thing.
      All this wasn't an issue like 50 years ago - because people kept their yaps shut on personal issues.

      The good ol' days.

        #15.3 - Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:36 PM EDT

        Ah, so some media numbskull ripped an athlete based on extraneous matters, such as her looks, rather than judging her on her talent (holding the American record and two world indoor titles is hardly a mediocrity). In fact, I thought people made the Olympic team entirely based on performance.

        Lolo Jones is a great athlete and Longman is amediocre scribbler. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which of these two individuals should hang her or his head.

        • 2 votes
        Reply#16 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:58 PM EDT

        The NYT story on Jones seethed with the author's personal animosity toward Jones. It was a typical NYT "hit piece."

        • 3 votes
        Reply#17 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:59 PM EDT

        There's more than just a grain of truth in the NYT article. There are far more accomplished and successful USA athletes on the track and field team that don't get nearly as much ink as Jones....and for what???

        She's talented but she's not that talented. She has no olympic medals in 2 games and her only claim to fame on the track is that she's great in an obscure race that's not even in the oympics (the 60m hurdles). If she wasn't as attractive as she is (i.e. like Kournakova) she wouldn't get any attention at all.

        She much better at endorsements and self-promotion than she is at winning olympic medals.

        • 3 votes
        Reply#18 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 5:07 PM EDT

        It's simple: Negative articles sell more newspapers. It doesn't matter whether the reporting is factually accurate or emotionally sensitive. If the writer is a particularly nasty, small-minded sociopath, that's an extra bonus.

        • 2 votes
        Reply#19 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 7:49 PM EDT

        Is there a grouup more self-involved and pampered than American Pro Athletes? Yes - American Olympic Athletes. How many times have you heard during the games "I practiced so hard, oh woe is me?" One coach likened a lack of a medal to a death - give me a break. Every althlete that won a medal worked just as hard, I'm sure. I am also sure that the three who finished in fromt of Jones, and those who finished within tenths of a second behind her also practiced hard.

        "LOLO," you have stalked the media for your own ends and self-promotion. Did no one tell you that old line "there is no such thing as bad publicity?" Get over yourself.

        • 1 vote
        Reply#20 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 8:06 PM EDT

        Tim Tebow doesn't cry when the media rips him to shreds Lolo. He also doesn't pose for the camera nearly as much. When you make yourself the center of attention you have to deal with it whether it is good or bad attention. You can't pick and choose only the good attention you want, then fail to win, then bristle at the bad attention. There were two American runners who performed better than you and most people still haven't heard of them because you went on TV crying about how harsh an article was. Grow up, you're a 30 year old woman-child, start acting your age.

        • 2 votes
        Reply#21 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 9:24 PM EDT

        The sad thing about this is that all the attention goes to her and we don't hear anything about the two US women who won the silver and gold in the same race (Kellie Wells, Dawn Harper). I am sure they have compelling stories as well, but since they don't have the "model look" no one pays attention. Would like to hear more about them.

        • 2 votes
        Reply#22 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 10:38 PM EDT

        Now, what has Jere Longman ever done for the US to earn the right to attack an athlete seeking to bring honor to her country? Has someone observed how the media campaign against bullying and yet are the greatest bullies in the country? What is particularly horrible is that Jere Longman chose to attack Jones just before she competed at the Olympics. I was very disappointed that, instead of Wells and Harper rejoicing over their medals, they chose to make cheap jibes at Jones while embracing an Australian athlete. Rather than being reflexive, Jere Longman chose to be hypocritical by attacking Lolo Jones for the CHOICE the media made (and have always made) to focus attention on the so-called "model look" of Lolo Jones.

          Reply#23 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:07 AM EDT

          This is more proof that the NYT will do anything to sell papers and that anything still isn't working.

          • 2 votes
          Reply#24 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:53 AM EDT

          if you cannot stand the glare of the media get out of the spotlight.

          • 2 votes
          Reply#25 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:55 AM EDT
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