Bradley Manning. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)
I’ve covered Alexa O’Brien’s steadfast journalistic work in covering the Bradley Manning hearings and now trial, where she is, along with Kevin Gosztola (former Nation intern and co-author of our book on the Manning case), the most steadfast attendee, going back more than eighteen months. You can follow her coverage right now at @carwinb and at her site.
Today she penned a pointed letter to the two New York Times writers who wrote a piece late yesterday on WikiLeaks, which referred to her merely as an “activist who was present in court.” She asked for a correction. This continued the vital debate this week, set off by slams against Glenn Greenwald in the Snowden affair, over whether a “partisan” can really be a “journalist.” But she also got in a dig at the Times for failing to cover the trial on an ongoing basis. Recent profile of her here.
Amazingly, within three hours, the Times corrected the story online, adding “and independent journalist” to her role. In a note at the bottom they mention her activist activities but admit she is “not solely an activist.”
Here’s her letter:
Dear Mr. Carr and Mr. Somaiya,
I expect that you will correct your recent article on the U.S. Investigation of WikiLeaks found here.
I am a journalist—and the proper title for me is journalist, most especially because Mr. Somaiya has solicited information published by me in my capacity as a journalist—and I am more than happy to publish my detailed and lengthy email exchange with him for the public.
Mr. Carr, Mr. Somiya, Mr. Bill Keller, The New York Times and other publications have used or linked to my work.
I have been a credentialed member of the press at Fort Meade, MD for 18 month.
My work covering the Manning trial was short listed for the 2013 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (not activism).
I have received a grant from the Freedom of the Press Foundation for journalism for my coverage of the Manning trial (not for activism).
I find the term activist used here by Mr. Carr and Mr Somaiya—pejorative. So, you will accordingly correct your error immediately.
I am at Fort Meade, where are you, New York Times?
You are reading my journalistic work, using my journalistic work, capitalizing off of my journalistic work, and linking to my journalistic work about the largest criminal investigation ever into a publisher and its source.
More importantly, you are not here.
Alexa O’Brien isn’t the only thing the Times is getting wrong.