Shafer Praises the NYT’s “Anti-Kristof”

At Slate, Jack Shafer writes “In Praise of Jeffrey Gettleman,” the East African bureau chief for the New York Times. Per Shafer:

As a reporter, Gettleman can’t editorialize or finger the worry beads, which makes him the paper’s anti-Kristof. Instead of reducing Africa’s conflicts to hellzapoppin’ horror show or composing uplifting chords that put smileys on the faces of the suffering, Gettleman dons the big pants of the reliable narrator and puts the dead into deadpan.

And then Shafer tries to inoculate himself against (and, finally, braces himself for)— oh, thin skins of journalism — any hard feelings that his singling out of Gettleman’s work might cause. (“My enthusiasm for Gettleman’s work should take nothing away from other excellent Times reporters in Africa,” Shafer explains; and, further along, Shafer asks, “Is there a German word for unintentionally insulting Person A by praising Person B? I’m sure there is, and I’m sure I’m going to hear all about it.”)

Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.