New York Times Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt said Monday that the paper had "no restrictions" when it came to topics for this past weekend's sit-down interview with President Obama, the paper's first in nearly three years.
Poynter's Andrew Beaujon noted Monday that Times reporters Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear didn't ask Obama any questions about surveillance, an issue that's received increased attention since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified documents to The Guardian and Washington Post. The Times reporters also didn't ask Obama about his administration's crackdown on leaks and insistence that their colleague James Risen testify in court, an issue the public editor explored on Sunday.
Leonhardt told HuffPost that Shear and Calmes had "surveillance" on their list of potential questions for Obama when going into the interview, which ended up focusing primarily on the economy.
Leonhardt said he thinks "the right move for a news organization when doing an interview with the president is to go in and focus on one or two broad areas," along with asking detailed follow-ups in order to drill down on an issue.
"There is a natural tension between depth and breadth," Leonhardt said, adding that news conferences allow for a breadth of questions on various topics while sit-down interviews provide an opportunity to go more in depth on a few subject areas.