New York Times columnist David Brooks has resigned from his paid position at the Facebook-funded nonprofit organization the Aspen Institute, the newspaper said Saturday.
Additionally, the NYT revealed it will be “adding disclosures to past articles” written by Brooks that mention the Aspen Institute’s Weave Project, “a community-building program that he founded, and the project’s donors, including the social media company Facebook.”
Brooks will continue on with the Aspen Institute as a volunteer and will have to “disclose the relationship should he write about the project in the future,” per the Times.
Brooks received approval to take his second job with the Aspen Institute in 2018, but the current editors of the paper’s opinion section were unaware of that, according to the New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy. They have now “concluded that holding a paid position” for the Weave Project “presents a conflict of interest for David in writing about the work of the project, its donors or the broader issues it focuses on.”
“David understands those concerns and has resigned from the Aspen Institute,” Murphy said.
On Wednesday, BuzzFeed News reported that Brooks was earning a second salary from the Aspen Institute, which, at the time, he had not disclosed in his columns.
In response, the New York Times launched an investigation into his “relationship with the Weave Project and the Aspen Institute, and what disclosures, if any, should be added to David’s columns going forward.”
As BuzzFeed News noted, in 2019, Brooks first discussed in his column the idea of “Weavers,” people who are “building community and weaving the social fabric.”
In that piece, “A Nation of Weavers,” he did write, “My something extra was starting something nine months ago at the Aspen Institute called Weave: The Social Fabric Project. The first core idea was that social isolation is the problem underlying a lot of our other problems.”
He did not, however, disclose his salary or any money given by Facebook for the project.