I got this email today about the Natasha Lennard piece I did and it’s reprinted with permission.
Mr. Stranahan: I have had an opportunity to look into the question you
raised concerning Natasha Lennard. The Times, as you probably know, issued
a statement on this:
"This freelancer has not been involved in our coverage of Occupy Wall
Street in recent days, and we have no plans to use her for future
coverage. We have reviewed the past stories to which she contributed and
have not found any reasons for concern over that reporting."
When my assistant Joseph Burgess and I looked into her history as a
freelancer, we found that it has been very limited — two bylines on the
City Room blog and two contributor lines to other posts. On the subject of
Occupy Wall Street, she had a byline on Oct. 2, the story in which she
reported on her own arrest, and a contributor line on a post about OWS the
I asked Times standards editor Phil Corbett whether it was possible Ms.
Lennard was an active participant in OWS at time of her Oct. 2 post on the
protest. He told me that Times editors specifically assigned her to be at
the bridge to cover the event that day for The Times. He said TheTimes is
"confident she was acting as a reporter, not a participant" and that "we
have found no reason for concern about the substance of any of her
contributions to our coverage."
So this does not appear to be a case of someone who went on the bridge so
she could participate in the protest. She went on the bridge on
instructions from The Times. What she did subsequently, in the sense of
identifying with OWS on the panel you referenced, appears to have prompted
The Times not to use her services in the future. At this point, however, I
do not have any evidence that her Oct. 2 piece was written by someone who
was acting as a protester at the time. I think The Times has taken the
appropriate steps to resolve the matter.
Thanks for your inquiry.
I’ll have more to say about this but the ahort version is that it’s my opinion that Natasha Lennard was arrested on purpose. I’ll tell you why in another post.