A dispute between Newsday's top editor John Mancini and owner Cablevision Systems Corp. over editorial content appeared to have been resolved Tuesday, when he returned to the newspaper's Melville headquarters.
Mancini, speaking to newsroom staff, said his absence since Wednesday "was due to a difference of opinion with ownership over the editorial policy of Newsday. That has been settled."
He declined to offer details of the dispute, but said: "No one outside the newsroom influences . . . our news coverage in any way." He added there would be "no change in direction. Our only concern is that we get it right. Let's do our jobs and tell the story straight."
Mancini acknowledged his disagreement with Cablevision executives had grown heated. When asked whether the words "you're fired" or "I quit" were used, he said "words to that effect were uttered."
Rumors have circulated that Cablevision was angry about coverage of a sex harassment lawsuit filed against Eddy Curry of the New York Knicks; the team also is owned by the Bethpage-based cable operator. Mancini declined to comment when asked whether Knicks' coverage sparked the dispute.
He said he had decided not to return to the newsroom "until I had clarity that the editor was expected to perform his job as he had done."
When asked when he got clarity, he said "this morning."
He said Publisher Timothy P. Knight and Cablevision had been supportive of his stance.
Mancini said he felt the disagreement had produced an "understanding" of the need for newsroom independence. He also said Newsday's coverage is "valued at the highest levels" of Cablevision. "They said they liked the paper."
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Mancini Back at the Helm as Newsday editor
James T. Madore of Newsday writes this afternoon that he does indeed have a boss, and that boss is John Mancini. It appears that Mancini and executives with Cablevision, the owner of the Long Island newspaper, have patched their differences.