03 Jan 2007

Times Considers Killing Ombudsman Position

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Stung by Byron Calame’s insufficiently fulsome flattery and inadequately obsequious bootlicking, Times editor Bill Keller is not sure he’s willing to take it anymore.

The New York Times will soon decide whether it will do away with its public editor.

The two-year term of the current public editor, Byron (Barney) Calame, will conclude in May. There may, or may not, be another.

“Over the next couple of months, as Barney’s term enters the home stretch, I’ll be taking soundings from the staff, talking it over with the masthead, and consulting with Arthur,” meaning publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., wrote Bill Keller, The Times’ executive editor, in an e-mail to The Observer.

Mr. Calame is the paper’s second public editor since Mr. Keller announced the job on his first day as executive editor in July 2003.

Mr. Keller wrote in his e-mail that “some of my colleagues believe the greater accessibility afforded by features like ‘Talk to the Newsroom’ has diminished the need for an autonomous ombudsman, or at least has opened the way for a somewhat different definition of the job.”

Under the new job definition, the Times’ ombudsman will be a eunuch charged with fanning Editor Keller with ostrich plumes, while warbling his praises in falsetto.

It’s really pretty funny that Keller is actually offended by Calame’s criticism, when its pretty hard to imagine a flabbier pretence at some sort of objectivity.

Earlier posting.

Keller should just go over to Macy’s or Bloomies and get himself a mannequin to appoint “public editor,” and write all the columns himself.


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