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January 03, 2007

New York Times Considers Dropping Ombudsman Postition

Times Public Editor Bernard Calame

Less than four years after introducing the position of "public editor" --serving as independent ombudsman -- in response to the Jason Blair scandal, New York Times editor Bill Keller is considering abolishing the position, according the New York Observer. In an email to the Observer, Keller declared that

Over the next couple of months, as [Public Editor] Barney’s [Calame] term enters the home stretch, I’ll be taking soundings from the staff, talking it over with the masthead, and consulting with [Publisher] Arthur [Sulzberger, Jr.]

According to the Times, the job of the public editor is to serve as the readers' representative, respond to complaints and comments from the public, and monitor the paper's journalistic practices. The Times' editors and journalists apparently feel they've had enough of being judged by an independent arbiter.

On the other hand, given Calame's lack of responsiveness to readers, it is no great loss to the public.

Posted by rh at January 3, 2007 11:48 AM


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