The New York Times has eliminated its much ballyhooed Public Editor position, a designated ombudsman who had responded to complaints about coverage since 2003, when The Times faced some serious credibility issues. The last day for current Public Editor Elizabeth Spayd is Friday. And her replacement?
“Our followers on social media and our readers across the internet have come together to collectively serve as a modern watchdog, more vigilant and forceful than one person could ever be. Our responsibility is to empower all of those watchdogs, and to listen to them, rather than to channel their voice through a single office,” explained publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. in a memo to the staff.
“No, New York Times! Not the public editor! Why, with trust in news organizations at an all-time low, would you cut the one position dedicated to holding your journalists to account in public?” asks Kelly McBride, a media ethicist with the Poynter Institute, a nonpartisan press research group.