The public editor position was created at The New York Times after it was discovered that reporter Jayson Blair was making things up.
Is the role going to remain a permanent fixture at the company?
Recently, Times executive editor Bill Keller told the Los Angeles Times:
“Whether a public editor should be a permanent, or at least continuing, fixture at The Times is a question much debated within our walls. I’ve kicked it down the road until we near the end of [Public Editor Clark Hoyt’s] term next year.”
A column titled “Stay the course” in the June/July American Journalism Review examines the role of the public editor at the Times and concludes that the company “shouldn’t even think about dropping its public editor position.”
AJR editor and publisher Rem Rieder wrote:
“A very small percentage of American newspapers have ever created the
position of ombudsman. And in the brutal economic climate of the last
few years, the ombudsman has seemed an endangered species,
often ending up on the cutback list. For the Times to turn back the
clock and scrap the public editor would be truly disheartening.”