Gary Rosenblatt, the controversial Jewish Week editor both praised and condemned for his kiss-the-tzitzit-and-tell reporting, has apparently used unorthodox methods to discipline employees for poor grammar over an extended period of time, it has been learned.
Reportedly, in early 2005, he slapped a young journalist for dangling his participles, and later that year publicly humiliated another for splitting her gerunds.
Some call his approach emotionally abusive, others believe it reflects his deep care and concern for his staff. Rosenblatt has mentored many highly skilled writers over the years, but at least one former Jewish Week reporter is now limited to dictaphone use, claiming Rosenblatt has caused him to suffer a gripping fear of keyboards.
Another former staffer recalled: “I forgot whether you are supposed to delete original punctuation marks when utilizing ellipses in a quote…” he said. “Gary held a Strunk and White’s ‘The Elements of Style’ over my head – it was scary.”
A senior editor at the paper, however, defended his boss. “You know what you are getting when you come to The Jewish Week. Gary had me stand in a bucket of ice and write, `him + he = whoever, him + him = whomever’ 500 times. That is a rule I will never forget and I am a better editor for it.”
Others interviewed anonymously, for fear of editorial retribution, argued that even if some potential writers lose their ability to put words together coherently, it is worth it to produce large numbers of talented journalists.
“They can always work at The Jewish Press,” Rosenblatt is reported to have told a colleague when questioned about the negative effect his methods may have on sensitive interns.
Yeshiva University, Rosenblatt’s alma mater, had no comment, saying it was not responsible for his actions.