Public editor

The job of the public editor is to supervise the implementation of proper journalism ethics at a newspaper, and to identify and examine critical errors or omissions, and to act as a liaison to the public. They do this primarily through a regular feature on a newspaper's editorial page. Because public editors are generally employees of the very newspaper they're criticizing, it may appear as though there is a possibility for bias. However, a newspaper with a high standard of ethics would not fire a public editor for a criticism of the paper; the act would contradict the purpose of the position and would itself be a very likely cause for public concern.

Many major newspapers in the U.S. use the public editor column as the voice for their ombudsman, though this is not always so. Public editor columns cover a broader scope of issues and do not have an accreditation process, while in order to qualify as an ombudsman of any standing one must be a member of the Organisation of News Ombudsmen.

The first newspaper to appoint an ombudsman was Tokyo's Asahi Shimbun in 1922; the first American newspapers to appoint a public editor were the Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times in 1967.[1]

At The New York Times, the position was created in response to the Jayson Blair scandal. The Times' first public editor was Daniel Okrent, who held the position from December 2003 through May 2005. Okrent's successor was Byron Calame, who was followed by Clark Hoyt, who held the position for three years. In August 2010, Arthur S. Brisbane assumed the post and held it until 2012, when Margaret M. Sullivan took the position.[2] in April, 2016, Sullivan left the position to become a media columnist at the Washington Post; her last column for the Times was dated April 16.[3] She was replaced by Elizabeth Spayd in July 2016.[4] On May 31, 2017, the Times announced that it was eliminating the public editor position.[5]


  1. ^ Mike Ananny, "It’s time to reimagine the role of a public editor, starting at The New York Times," Nieman Lab, March 17, 2016, Neiman Foundation at Harvard, URL=
  2. ^ Vega, Tanzina (16 July 2012). "Times Names Buffalo News Editor as Its New Public Editor". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  3. ^ Margaret Sullivan, "Public Editor No. 5 Is Yesterday’s News," The New York Times, April 16, 2016, URL=
  4. ^ Sydney Ember, "New York Times Names Elizabeth Spayd Its 6th Public Editor", The New York Times, May 18, 2016, URL=
  5. ^ "New York Times Will Offer Employee Buyouts and Eliminate Public Editor Role". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
Alessandra Stanley

Alessandra Stanley (born 1955) is an American journalist. As of 2019, she is the co-founder of a weekly newsletter "for worldly cosmopolitans" called Air Mail, alongside former Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter.

Byron Calame

Byron "Barney" Calame (born April 14, 1939 in Appleton City, Missouri) is an American journalist. He worked at The Wall Street Journal for 39 years, retiring as deputy managing editor in 2004. In 2005, he became the second public editor of The New York Times for a fixed two-year term.

Clark Hoyt

Clark Hoyt is an American journalist who was the public editor of The New York Times, serving as the "readers' representative." He was the newspaper's third public editor, or ombudsman, after Daniel Okrent and Byron Calame. His initial two-year term began on May 14, 2007, and was later extended for another year, expiring in June 2010.

Columbia Journalism Review

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) is an American magazine for professional journalists that has been published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism since 1961. Its contents include news and media industry trends, analysis, professional ethics, and stories behind news.

In October 2015, it was announced that the publishing frequency of the print magazine was being reduced from six to two issues per year in order to focus on digital operations.

Dan Levy (TV personality)

Daniel Joseph Levy (born August 9, 1983) is a Canadian actor, writer, producer, and television personality. He is the son of comedian and actor Eugene Levy and screenwriter Deborah Divine Levy. Dan Levy hosted an aftershow for The Hills that aired on MTV Canada for several seasons.He currently stars in Schitt's Creek, a scripted comedy series that he co-created with his father. For his work on the series, he has won several Canadian Screen Awards, among other accolades.

Daniel Okrent

Daniel Okrent (born April 2, 1948) is an American writer and editor.

He is best known for having served as the first public editor of The New York Times newspaper, for inventing Rotisserie League Baseball, and for writing several books, such as Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, which served as a major source for the 2011 Ken Burns/Lynn Novick miniseries Prohibition.

In November 2011, Last Call won the Albert J. Beveridge prize, awarded by the American Historical Association to the year's best book of American history.

David Streitfeld

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He won a 2012 "Best in Business" award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for his The New York Times stories on fake online reviews. Judges cited "a really nice job detailing this new review economy and how these reviews are replacing traditional advertising."Streitfeld was one of a team of New York Times reporters who won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for a series of 10 articles on the business practices of Apple and other technology companies.In May 2014, Streitfeld broke the story of's negotiating tactics with publishing house Hachette, which he continued to cover for multiple months. The reporting on the topic by The New York Times and Streitfeld was the subject of a piece by The New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan in October 2014.In January 2015, Melville House published Gabriel Garcia Marquez: The Last Interview, a collection edited by Streitfeld. The introduction details his friendship with Marquez and the circumstances of their talks on two continents.In August 2015, Streitfeld and New York Times colleague Jodi Kantor co-authored Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. The 6000-word story generated more than 6600 comments, the largest number of comments on a story in The New York Times history. Even the Times story reporting this fact drew over 200 comments.In December 2015, Melville House published Philip K. Dick: The Last Interview, edited by Streitfeld. In Maureen Corrigan's favorable review on NPR's Fresh Air of three recent volumes in the Last Interview series, she cited Streitfeld's "terrific introduction" to the interviews in Philip K. Dick: The Last Interview.Streitfeld's longtime friendship with science fiction author Elizabeth Hand inspired her Nebula Award-winning short story Echo.

Dean Baquet

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Eric Lichtblau

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James C. McKinley Jr.

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Leah McLaren

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Her writing has been published in several newspapers including The Times, The Evening Standard, and The Sunday Telegraph, as well as in the weekly magazine The Spectator, for which she wrote a controversial and widely read cover story on the romantic failure of the modern English male.In 2008, the CBC shot Abroad, a television movie of the week, written and produced by McLaren and based on her experiences as a young Canadian newspaper reporter living and dating in London. It aired once, on March 14, 2010 and was being developed as a series; until CBC Television cancelled it before any other episodes were made.McLaren describes herself as a feminist. She had a regular Saturday column in the Life section of The Globe and Mail, in which she talked about living as a single woman in modern-day Toronto. She has written a column in the Arts section. She also writes "The Leah Files", a monthly column in Flare, a fashion magazine. She has written for other publications including Toronto Life, McGill Daily, enRoute, and others.Leah McLaren is currently Maclean's Magazine's London correspondent.In 2012, Leah McLearn tried to sell her own house in a real estate column Home of the Week feature. The piece was ruled a conflict of interest by the Globe's Public Editor Sylvia Stead, although that was too late to stop the $600,000 home from selling above its listing price.Leah McLaren came under fire for a controversial column she wrote for The Globe and Mail on March 22, 2017 where she admits she once attempted to breastfeed the infant child of Conservative leadership candidate Michael Chong without his or his wife's consent, and while she was not lactating. The paper later removed the piece from its website. Five days after its publication Chong confirmed via Twitter that the incident occurred over ten years previously, describing it as "no doubt odd, but of no real consequence". To make her story true, McLaren would have been at least 29. On March 30, 2017 the Toronto Star reported that McLaren was suspended for one week by The Globe and Mail.

Linda Greenhouse

Linda Joyce Greenhouse (born January 9, 1947) is the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph M. Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covered the United States Supreme Court for nearly three decades for The New York Times. She is President of the American Philosophical Society (since 2017), and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Senate.

List of The New York Times employees

This is a list of former and current New York Times employees, reporters, and columnists.

Margaret Sullivan (journalist)

Margaret M. Sullivan is an American journalist who is the media columnist for The Washington Post. She was the fifth public editor of The New York Times and the first woman to hold the position. In that role, she reported directly to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. as the "readers' representative". She began her tenure on September 1, 2012, joining The New York Times from The Buffalo News, where she had been editor and vice-president. Her first column in The Washington Post ran on May 22, 2016.

Margaret Wente

Margaret Wente (born 15 February 1950) is an American-born Canadian columnist for Canada's largest national daily newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and a director of the Energy Probe Research Foundation. She received the National Newspaper Award for column-writing in 2000 and 2001. In 2012, Wente was found to have plagiarized on a number of occasions. She was suspended from writing her column, but later reinstated. However, in 2016, she was found to have failed to meet her newspaper's attribution standards in two more columns.

Maureen Dowd

Maureen Brigid Dowd (; born January 14, 1952) is an American columnist for The New York Times and an author.

During the 1970s and the early 1980s, Dowd worked for Time magazine and the Washington Star, where she covered news and sports and wrote feature articles. Dowd joined The New York Times in 1983 as a Metropolitan Reporter, and became an op-ed writer for the newspaper in 1995. In 1999, Dowd was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her series of columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the Clinton administration.


National Public Radio (NPR, stylized as npr) is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization based in Washington, D.C. NPR differs from other non-profit membership media organizations, such as AP, in that it was established by an act of Congress and most of its member stations are owned by government entities (often public universities). It serves as a national syndicator to a network of over 1,000 public radio stations in the United States.NPR produces and distributes news and cultural programming. Individual public radio stations are not required to broadcast all NPR programs; most broadcast a mix of NPR programs, content from American Public Media, Public Radio International, Public Radio Exchange and WNYC Studios, and locally produced programs. The organisation's flagship shows are two drive-time news broadcasts, Morning Edition and the afternoon All Things Considered; both are carried by most NPR member stations, and are among the most popular radio programs in the country. As of March 2018, the drive time programs attract an audience of 14.9 million and 14.7 million respectively.NPR manages the Public Radio Satellite System, which distributes NPR programs and other programming from independent producers and networks such as American Public Media and Public Radio International. Its content is also available on-demand online, on mobile networks, and, in many cases, as podcasts.

The New York Times

The New York Times (sometimes abbreviated as the NYT and NYTimes) is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

The paper is owned by The New York Times Company, which is publicly traded and is controlled by the Sulzberger family through a dual-class share structure. It has been owned by the family since 1896; A.G. Sulzberger, the paper's publisher, and his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the company's chairman, are the fourth and fifth generation of the family to helm the paper.Nicknamed "The Gray Lady", the Times has long been regarded within the industry as a national "newspaper of record". The paper's motto, "All the News That's Fit to Print", appears in the upper left-hand corner of the front page.

Since the mid-1970s, The New York Times has greatly expanded its layout and organization, adding special weekly sections on various topics supplementing the regular news, editorials, sports, and features. Since 2008, the Times has been organized into the following sections: News, Editorials/Opinions-Columns/Op-Ed, New York (metropolitan), Business, Sports of The Times, Arts, Science, Styles, Home, Travel, and other features. On Sunday, the Times is supplemented by the Sunday Review (formerly the Week in Review), The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine and T: The New York Times Style Magazine. The Times stayed with the broadsheet full-page set-up and an eight-column format for several years after most papers switched to six, and was one of the last newspapers to adopt color photography, especially on the front page.

The New York Times controversies

The New York Times has been the subject of criticism from a variety of sources. Criticism has been aimed at the newspaper has been in response to individual controversial reporters, along with alleged political bias.The New York Times used to have a public editor who acted as an ombudsman and "investigates matters of journalistic integrity". The sixth and last NYT public editor was Liz Spayd, who contributed her last piece in June 2017.

Journalism roles

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