New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger on Friday told the newsroom in an email that President-elect Donald Trump would be covered "fairly" and "without bias."

In the note, sent to staffers at noon, Sulzberger hearkened back to an old motto of the newspaper first instituted by Adolph Ochs, the pioneering editor who transformed the Times in its early years: "To give the news impartially, without fear or favor."

The Times is certainly not afraid — our investigative report has demonstrated our courage many times over. That fearless, hard-fought journalism will always stand as the backbone of The Times, no matter the President.

That doesn't mean, however, that the coverage will be unnecessarily negative, Sulzberger wrote.

But we also approach the incoming Trump administration without bias. We will cover his policies and his agenda fairly. We will bring expert analysis and thoughtful commentary to the changes we see in government, and to their ramifications on the ground.

We will look within and beyond Washington to explore the roots of the anger that has roiled red and blue America. If many Americans no longer seem to understand each other, let’s make it our job to interpret and explain.

The note was issued just days after Trump won the election by a narrow margin, catching many American journalists by surprise. In the wake of the election, New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd was inundated with notes from readers who said the Times was too left-leaning in its coverage or failed to understand the entire electorate.

She hoped publishing some of the notes would spur editors to think about covering the "half of America the paper too seldom covers."

That column prompted pushback on Twitter from Marc Lacey, the paper's national editor, who highlighted work from the Times' national desk:

Update, 3:25 p.m.: Sulzberger also sent a letter to readers Friday afternoon defending the paper's campaign coverage, saying the Times reported "on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign."

After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump's sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters? What forces and strains in America drove this divisive election and outcome? Most important, how will a president who remains a largely enigmatic figure actually govern when he takes office?

Here's the full memo:

Dear Colleagues,

As we close one of the most momentous weeks in our nation’s recent history, let’s pause for a moment on those famous instructions that Adolph S. Ochs left for us: to cover the news without fear or favor.

As Donald Trump begins preparing for his new administration, those words have rarely felt more important.

The Times is certainly not afraid — our investigative report has demonstrated our courage many times over. That fearless, hard-fought journalism will always stand as the backbone of The Times, no matter the President.

But we also approach the incoming Trump administration without bias. We will cover his policies and his agenda fairly. We will bring expert analysis and thoughtful commentary to the changes we see in government, and to their ramifications on the ground.

We will look within and beyond Washington to explore the roots of the anger that has roiled red and blue America. If many Americans no longer seem to understand each other, let’s make it our job to interpret and explain.

Our predecessors founded our singular newspaper for just this moment — to serve as a watchdog to the powerful; and to hold mighty institutions accountable, without fear or favor. We are more than ready to fulfill that promise.

Together, we have built the world’s best digital newsroom and it, too, was made for just this moment. We will chronicle the new administration with a lightning-fast report that features stories told in every medium and on every platform.

Here is what we have all dedicated our careers to: Going after the biggest stories in the world, and telling them as ambitiously as possible.

Get some rest this weekend. We have lots to do.

Arthur

Correction: An early version of this post misquoted a Times' motto coined by Adolph Ochs.