Times mulls virtues of opacity

The New York Observer reports today that the New York Times is considering doing away with its "Public Editor" position, which was instated following...

The New York Observer reports today that the New York Times is considering doing away with its "Public Editor" position, which was instated following the Jayson Blair debacle. Executive Editor Bill Keller told the Observer that as current ombud Byron Calame's term wraps up over the next several months, he'll be "taking soundings," "talking it over," and "consulting" with reporters, editors and management about whether the position should continue.

First: Way to say something while saying nothing, Bill Keller! You could be a CEO with speech patterns like that. Second: Yes, Byron Calame is an astoundingly boring and not particularly insightful public editor. But the position itself is tremendously important to the Times' credibility. Its creation was probably the most visible move the paper took to reassure readers of its credibility after Blair went on his fantasy reporting spree.

The thought that Keller and his pals on the masthead would torpedo the position after just two people have held it reeks of hubris, hubris, hubris. Suck it up, Bill Keller et al. Just pick someone with a little more flair next time.

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