Keller Says ‘N.Y. Times’ Must Look Beyond Its Urban, Liberal Base

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By: E&P Staff

In a lengthy memo published on the newspaper’s Web site, Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, announced several new policies in response to a recent report by the paper’s Credibility Committee. Among them is a fresh attempt to diversify the Times’ staff and viewpoints, and not in the usual racial or gender ways, but in political, religious and cultural areas as well.

The aim, he wrote, is “to stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation, to cover the full range of our national conversation.”

The point, Keller wrote, “is not that we should begin recruiting reporters and editors for their political outlook; it is part of our professional code that we keep our political views out of the paper. The point is that we want a range of experience. We have a recruiting committee that tracks promising outside candidates, and that committee has already begun to consider ways to enrich the variety of backgrounds of our reporters and editors.

“First and foremost we hire the best reporters, editors, photographers and artists in the business. But we will make an extra effort to focus on diversity of religious
upbringing and military experience, of region and class.”

Keller said there had already been successes, namely, the coverage of conservatives by David Kirkpatrick and Jason DeParle, and a number of recent Sunday magazine pieces. “I intend to keep pushing us in this direction,” Keller declared.

He also said that he endorsed the internal committee?s recommendation “that we cover religion more extensively…. This is important to us not because we want to appease believers or pander to conservatives, but because good
journalism entails understanding more than just the neighborhood you grew up in.”

E&P will cover other aspects of Keller’s memo on Monday.

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