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NY Times: Time for the Public Editor to Go?

Annie

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They've had two, both ended up calling out the Times for bias and nearly outright lying. So the solution? Get rid of the position:

http://observer.com/20070108/20070108_Michael_Calderone_pageone_offtherec.asp

Will Bill Keller End ‘Public Editor’ Slot at The Times?
Dan Okrent Protests; Faithful Barney Calame Sputters Weary Defense

By: Michael Calderone
Date: 1/8/2007
Page: 1

The New York Times will soon decide whether it will do away with its public editor.

The two-year term of the current public editor, Byron (Barney) Calame, will conclude in May. There may, or may not, be another.

“Over the next couple of months, as Barney’s term enters the home stretch, I’ll be taking soundings from the staff, talking it over with the masthead, and consulting with Arthur,” meaning publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., wrote Bill Keller, The Times’ executive editor, in an e-mail to The Observer.

Mr. Calame is the paperÂ’s second public editor since Mr. Keller announced the job on his first day as executive editor in July 2003.

Mr. Keller wrote in his e-mail that “some of my colleagues believe the greater accessibility afforded by features like ‘Talk to the Newsroom’ has diminished the need for an autonomous ombudsman, or at least has opened the way for a somewhat different definition of the job.”

Mr. Keller added that “the creation of a public editor has helped the paper immensely in a period when the credibility of the media generally has been under assault.” The position at The Times was created in the wake of the Jayson Blair debacle that emerged in 2003.

When reached by phone on Dec. 29, Mr. Calame said he had heard the news. His assistant, Joseph Plambeck, had attended an in-house Q&A on Dec. 15, at which Mr. Keller expressed the idea.

“I have been critical of the newsroom,” Mr. Calame said. “I’ve also praised the newsroom, and I think that Bill Keller has been—quite obviously—unhappy with some of the things I’ve written.”

“It seems to me that the high degree of independence that has been given to the public editor at The New York Times makes it a situation that inevitably causes criticism,” Mr. Calame said.

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Dirt McGirt

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LOL. It's not like The Times were known for their objective reporting or keeping national security matters secret since Calame took the position. If Calame added 'credibility' to The Times, I didn't see it. They sell some of their newspapers on the strengths of the Mo Dowd and Thomas Friedman op-eds so giving them more free reign might sell a bit more. Besides blog sites and message boards make the Talk to the Newsroom obsolete.
 

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