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Though the Times did give a disclaimer on the source of the information, should the paper have run the story knowing that the unnamed investor would have made money once the negative story about Lululemon was published? Times business and finance editor Lawrence Ingrassia said absolutely. "We don't, and can't, consider what will happen to the price of a company's stock, or who will make or lose money, in deciding whether to write a story. Our coverage has to be determined by the news value of a story, and the facts that the reporter finds. It is, basically, not our business to be concerned about how a stock might move, because that would impair our news judgment. We don't tell anyone when a story will run, or what the story will say when it runs. We give a company of a story full opportunity to comment and provide the subject's perspective. Ditto for the critics or skeptics of a company that we're writing about."
Then should the paper have waited until this investor sold his shares, thus divesting the paper from any financial impact on the tipster's portfolio? "We would never ask the executive of a company, or an investor whom we quoted, to divest the stock before the story ran. If pertinent, we would disclose that the investor owned the stock, so that readers could make a judgment," continued Ingrassia. — Whitney Beckett and Stephanie D. Smith
MONKEY IN THE MIDDLE: Portfolio has taken considerable heat for its cover strategies — eschewing portraits, experimenting with landscapes and, most recently, a concept cover. This week will bring another one for dissection, this time featuring a photograph of a chimpanzee taking a bite out of the Financial Times, sources said, pegged to a Michael Lewis story. The photographer, Jill Greenberg, also shot the November cover, and has been shooting primates for years, as seen in her book "Monkey Portraits." As to whether there was any significance to using the Financial Times instead of the bigger and better known (in the U.S.) Wall Street Journal — where Portfolio editor in chief Joanne Lipman and many of her staff made their careers — a spokeswoman declined to comment, nor would she discuss or confirm the cover photo. — Irin Carmon