Articles about "Ombudsmen"

Pexton: Ombudsman can get answers from reporters who won’t answer readers

During an exit interview during his last week as The Washington Post's ombudsman, Patrick Pexton told "Kojo Nnamdi Show" guest host Paul Brown that one of the benefits of his job was that he could get answers from reporters who refused to respond to readers' emails. In so doing, he echoed a point he made in a column he wrote about leaving, in which he said the ombudsman is "often the newsroom's backstop," for reporters who "have more demands on them than ever before to be faster, to write more, to tweet, blog, take photos, videos and all the rest."

Pexton said he thought the Post had a "slightly wrong emphasis" on digital operations, because print brought in more revenue. The care and feeding of those print readers, he said, was a big part of his day. Asked about future plans, Pexton said he would be interested in a "leadership position" at a news organization that believed journalism had a bright future. (more...)

Outgoing Washington Post ombudsman: ‘My bet is that this position will disappear’

The Washington Post | Washingtonian | The Wrap
Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron makes a good case against the newspaper hiring another ombudsman, Patrick Pexton reports. Pexton will end his two-year term at the end of February.

For one, he said, it is not as if The Post doesn’t come in for criticism, from all quarters, instantly, in this Internet age. ... Secondly, Baron said, there is intense “competition for resources.” ... He’s right again. It is likely that Baron will have to make further cuts in The Post’s newsroom. An ombudsman’s salary is like that of a senior editor’s. It’s a tempting target.
Baron was previously the editor of The Boston Globe, which doesn't have an ombudsman.

I’m not sure an ombudsman focused as heavily as they have been on a weekly column makes sense any longer,” Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt told Harry Jaffe earlier this month.

And indeed, former Postie Sharon Waxman writes in The Wrap, digital news sites like hers "don’t have copy editors, much less ombudsmen. (Instead we have spell check!) In the age of declining budgets, an ombudsman may be a luxury, sad to say." (more...)

One month in, Margaret Sullivan talks about the changing role of New York Times Public Editor

A little over a month into her job, Margaret Sullivan has been transforming the traditional role of The New York Times public editor — by blogging almost every weekday and using social media to add a mix of voices and … Read more


Exit interview: Brisbane says New York Times Public Editor job is ‘not a conversation’

Arthur Brisbane’s New York Times email address has been shut off, and he sounds pretty happy about it.

“I’m trying to decompress,” he told me two days after his stint as the fourth public editor of The New York Times … Read more


Why it matters that The New York Times’ next public editor is a woman

For the last nine years, white men have filled The New York Times public editor position. That will change in September when Margaret Sullivan becomes the Times’ first female public editor. Sullivan was also the first woman to be … Read more


New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan signs on for 4 years

The new public editor of the New York Times pitched the paper on two main roles in her application for the job: “smart aggregator” and “forum organizer.”

Margaret M. Sullivan, editor of the Buffalo News since 1999, credits “Blur,” the 2010 book by Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach, for highlighting those roles as essential to journalism in the digital era.

“The criticism and commentary is already going on,” Sullivan said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon. “I want to centralize it in the [public editor’s] blog.” She said she’ll play the role of “forum organizer” by “inviting commentary and letting people use the [public editor’s online] space as a place to come and discuss. And we’ll use multimedia tools to make that happen.”

Unlike the paper’s previous public editors, who worked under variations of two-year contracts, Sullivan has signed on for four years.

“There’s a possible out after two years for both parties,” she said, but added that there’s also the possibility of extending for a total run of six years if things go well.

“There was some discussion of fine-tuning the role of public editor, sticking around a little longer, digging in a bit more.” (more...)
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New NYT public editor knows what it’s like to be in the hot seat

Nieman Reports
Buffalo News Editor Margaret M. Sullivan, named Monday as the next public editor for The New York Times, writes in the latest issue of Nieman Reports about how she dealt with outrage in Buffalo's black community that resulted from her paper's reporting. The essay provides some insight into how she thinks a newspaper should handle public outcry over its reporting — the sort of thing she'll keep an eye on and be subject to at the Times.

In August 2010, Sullivan writes, eight people were shot at a party in Buffalo; four of them died. All of the victims were black, as was a man who was later convicted of murder.

About a week after the shooting and the same day that the News covered the funeral of one of the victims, the paper published a front-page story with the headline "7 of 8 shooting victims had criminal past." (more...)

Buffalo News editor Margaret M. Sullivan to be next New York Times public editor

The New York Times | The Buffalo News
Margaret M. Sullivan, now editor of The Buffalo News, will succeed Arthur Brisbane as The New York Times public editor, becoming the first woman to hold the post. The Times announcement says the Web will become a larger part of the role for Sullivan:
Sullivan will continue to write a print column, but she will focus on a more active online role: as the initiator, orchestrator and moderator of an ongoing conversation about The Times’s journalism. That conversation will center on a blog and Web page on, along with an active social media presence.
Executive Editor Jill Abramson, the first woman to hold that post, praised Sullivan's combination of print experience and willingness to adapt to new platforms:
"She has an impressive 32-year background in print journalism where she has distinguished herself as a reporter, columnist, editor and manager. And critically for us at this time, she has shown adeptness at embracing new platforms and engaging and interacting with readers in real time online, in print and in person.”
Sullivan writes a blog for the News and holds a monthly live chat with readers. She joined Twitter in January (her handle is @Sulliview), and she had about 540 followers as her new position was announced. (She may end up doubling that by the end of the day.)

She joined the News as a summer intern in 1980 and rose to the ranks to become the paper's first female editor. She was named to the Pulitzer Prize Board a year ago.

Unlike previous public editors, Sullivan has signed on for four years, reports Poynter's Bill Mitchell. She told him that she emphasized two roles in her application: “smart aggregator” and “forum organizer.” (more...)

Candidates for New York Times public editor job list their priorities

About a month ago, I received a rather cryptic email from a manager at The New York Times, asking me to give him a call.

I did, and was greeted with a surprising bit of information: I was on a … Read more


New York Times interviewing finalists for public editor job

The New York Times has narrowed its pool of candidates for the public editor position and hopes to make an announcement by the end of July, said Glenn Kramon, assistant managing editor for enterprise.

Kramon wouldn't say just how small the group is, but he allowed that it's been "narrowed significantly" to fewer than 10 from a finalist pool of 15. Times Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. has started to interview the remaining candidates.

At least two of the leading candidates are women, he said, but he wouldn't comment further on diversity of the candidates. So far the post has been held by white men, all at least middle-aged. (more...)