Sarah Maslin Nir
Sarah Maslin Nir (born March 23, 1983) is an American journalist, best known for her New York Times report on the working conditions of nail salon workers, for which she was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. The story generated both extensive regulatory changes and extensive criticism.
Early life and education
The daughter of psychiatrist Yehuda Nir and psychologist Bonnie Maslin, Nir was born and grew up in Manhattan, attending Brearley School. Her brother, David Nir, is (as of 2014) the political director of Daily Kos. Sarah Maslin Nir graduated from Columbia University in 2005, majoring in political science and philosophy. As an undergraduate, she was the Style Editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator. She is also a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism (2009). Before attending journalism school, Nir lived in London and worked as a freelancer for several U.S. and international publications.
Nir initially freelanced for the Times, contributing to 11 different sections of the paper. She covered New York Citys nightlife for the Times from 2010 until the end of 2011, as the paper's “Nocturnalist” columnist, once attending 25 parties in five days. She became a trainee reporter in 2011 and worked as a rewrite reporter for late-night news, during which time she camped out overnight at Zuccotti Park with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and later reported on the dismantling of the camp. She was promoted to staff reporter covering Queens for the Metro section in May, 2013. In February, 2015, she became a general assignment reporter focusing on Manhattan.
In May 2015, Nir's "Unvarnished" exposé on the working conditions of manicurists in New York City and elsewhere and the health hazards to which they are exposed attracted wide attention, resulting in emergency workplace enforcement actions by New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
In February 2013, in an article on post-Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in heavily Irish-American Breezy Point, Queens, Nir wrote about the community's lack of diversity and allegations of prejudice. These allegations were criticized by Niall O'Dowd and other Irish-American community leaders, who stated that the assertions amounted to a "cliched stereotyping" of the neighborhood by Nir.
In July 2015, Unvarnished's claims of widespread "astonishingly low" wages were challenged by former New York Times reporter Richard Bernstein, in the New York Review of Books. Bernstein, whose wife owns two nail salons, asserted that such wages were inconsistent with his personal experience, and were not evidenced by ads in the Chinese-language papers cited by the story. NYT editorial staff subsequently published a rebuttal, refuting Bernstein's criticisms with examples of several published ads and criticizing his response as industry advocacy. The independent NYT Public Editor also reported that she had previously corresponded with Bernstein and looked into his complaints, and expressed her belief that the story's reporting was sound. In August 2015, several nail salons temporarily shut in protest against the new law requiring salons to purchase wage bonds as security for any unpaid wages.
In September and October 2015, hundreds of nail salon owners and workers protested at the NYT offices several times, in response to the story and the ensuing New York State crackdown. (A fifth protest was also held a year later after at the "NYT" offices in response to a new rule instituted by Governor Cuomo in response to the article requiring all nail salons in New York State to have ventilation systems, the first such rule in the country.) 
In October 2015, Reason published a three part re-reporting of the story by Jim Epstein, charging that the series was filled with misquotes and factual errors with respect to both its claims of illegally low wages and of health hazards. Epstein also argued that the NYT had mistranslated the ads cited in its rebuttal of Bernstein, and that those ads actually validated Bernstein's argument. In November 2015, the NYT public editor concluded that the exposé's "findings, and the language used to express them, should have been dialed back — in some instances substantially" and recommended that "The Times write further follow-up stories, including some that re-examine its original findings and that take on the criticism from salon owners and others — not defensively but with an open mind."
In November 2015, a follow-on nail salons story by Nir charged that state legislator Ron Kim had reversed his position on nail salon reforms after receiving an influx of campaign contributions from nail salon owners. Shortly afterward, Reason and Crain's New York Business published stories refuting those allegations.
In December 2015, the New York Post intimated that Nir had edited her Wikipedia page nearly 20 times, including from inside the New York Times building, to "defend her controversial exposé of the nail salon industry and attack her critics."
In December 2015, the Columbia Journalism Review investigated the effects of Nir's Unvarnished series on nail salon workers and owners, concluding that many nail salon workers were empowered and saw working conditions improved as a result of attention and legal reforms spurred by the reporting. The article praised Nir's exposure of exploitation and racism within the nail salon industry, but also acknowledged criticisms of her reporting, finding that "At times, though, Nir does seem to overstate the case against salon owners."
Awards and recognition
In September 2015, Nir was recognized with the New York Newswomen's Club award for in-depth reporting.
Nir was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting for Unvarnished.
- "2016 Pulitzer Prizes". pulitzer.org. April 18, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
- Joseph Berger, "Yehuda Nir, a Psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor, Dies at 84", New York Times (July 19, 2014)
- "Law and Disorder | Only in New York | Arts Initiative Columbia University". artsinitiative.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
- WikiCU, "Sara Maslin Nir"
- The New York Times, "Timestopics: Sara Maslin Nir"
- Columbia Journalism School, "Sarah Maslin Nir '09 is the Nocturnalist"
- Randall, Eric. "Zuccotti Park Is Not a Nightclub". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
- Jeremy Barr, "New York Times Metro Makes Some Changes"
- Barr, Jeremy (2015-02-19). "New York Times Metro makes some changes". Politico.
- Nir, Sarah Maslin (2015-05-07). "The Price of Nice Nails". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- Nir, Sarah Maslin (2015-05-08). "Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- Sarah Maslin Nir, "Cuomo Orders Emergency Measures to Protect Workers at Nail Salons", New York Times, (May 11, 2015)
- Nir, Sarah Maslin (2013-02-17). "Ireland Aids Breezy Point, Queens, After Hurricane Sandy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
- O'Dowd, Niall (2013-02-18). "Defending the Irish community against racist claims in New York Times -- Same old story as Hurricane Sandy relief efforts questioned". IrishCentral. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
- Richard Bernstein, "What the 'Times' Got Wrong About Nail Salons", New York Review of Books, (July 25, 2015)
- Dean Baquet, et al , "Rebuttal to The NYRB's Article on NYT Nail Salon Series," The New York Times, (July 28, 2015)
- Margaret Sullivan, "Criticism of 'Unvarnished' Brings a Strong Times Defense" The New York Times, (July 29, 2015)
- Tempey, Nathan. "Nail Salons Close In Protest Of State Crackdown". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 2015-12-12. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
- Sage Lazzaro, "Nail Salon Industry Stages Protest Outside NYT Building," Observer (September 21, 2015)
- Helen Holmes, "Here's Why Hundreds of Nail Salon Owners Are Protesting the New York Times," Jezebel (October 7, 2015)
- www.governor.ny.gov (July 22, 2016)
- Jim Epstein, "The New York Times' Nail Salons Series Was Filled with Misquotes and Factual Errors. Here's Why That Matters. (Part 1)," Reason (October 27, 2015)
- Jim Epstein, "How The New York Times' Flawed Reporting on Nail Salons Closed Opportunities For Undocumented Immigrants (Part 2)," Reason (October 28, 2015)
- Jim Epstein, "The New York Times Says Working in Nail Salons Causes Cancer and Miscarriages. The Evidence Says Otherwise. (Part 3)," Reason (October 29, 2015)
- "New Questions on Nail Salon Investigation, and a Times Response". Public Editor's Journal. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
- Nir, Sarah Maslin (2015-11-08). "Backed by Nail Salon Owners, a New York Legislator Now Fights Reforms". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
- "The New York Times Publishes Another Misleading Story About Nail Salons". Reason.com. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
- "Nailed by the Times, Queens assemblyman wages war for reputation". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
- Johnson, Richard (2015-12-05). "Is NY Times nail salon writer censoring her own Wiki page?". Page Six. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- "The everyday effects of The New York Times' nail salon exposé". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
- "Front Page Awards Winners Announced - Newswomen's Club of New York". Newswomen's Club of New York. Archived from the original on 2015-12-25. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- November 11, 2015 (2015-11-07). "Forward 50 2015 –". Forward.com. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
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