Shorter Dean Baquet: “We don’t do data journalism. We don’t check to be sure our anecdotes are in any way representative. We do striking anecdotes!”

And, I would add, the NYT never circles back to understand what went wrong when even its striking anecdotes turn out to be wrong — cough, cough, Judy Miller; cough, Jeff Gerth.

Was Portrayal of Amazon’s Brutal Workplace On Target?:

Margaret Sullivan: “Does the article, with complete fairness…

…nail down the reality of life as an Amazon employee? No serious questions (to my knowledge) have arisen about the hard facts…. But that may partly be because the article was driven less by irrefutable proof than by generalization and anecdote. For such a damning result, presented with so much drama, that doesn’t seem like quite enough.

Dean Baquet: “There is plenty of context in the original article…

…about other companies with similar practices and policies, although perhaps they are not as extreme as Amazon. And I reject the notion that you can report a story like this in any way other than with anecdotes. You talk to as many people as possible and you draw conclusions. That’s the only way to approach it.

Margaret Sullivan: “Is it fair to draw such major conclusions…

…and display the story so prominently and at such length?

Dean Baquet: “Absolutely. The quality of the reporting and writing…

…and the rich, subtle, sophisticated portrait that the story painted of this major, transformational company warranted that — if not bigger. I love this story. I’m extremely proud of it.