New Public Editor Launches First Column at ‘N.Y. Times’

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By: E&P Staff

The second public editor in the history of The New York Times produced his first column on Sunday, promising an approach different from his predecessor’s.

Byron ?Barney? Calame, calling himself a ?bit more of a nitty-gritty newspaperman? than Daniel Okrent, said, ?I hope to raise the blinds at The Times in some new ways to allow readers to get a clearer view inside the newsroom process. Greater transparency, I believe, can help you as readers better understand the news judgments that shape each day’s paper — and hold The Times’s news staff more accountable.?

He also took pains to separate himself from the conservative editorial views of his former paper, The Wall Street Journal, by pointing out that he always worked on the newsroom side there.

How will he carry out his mission? ?In the months ahead,? Calame wrote, ?there are three new approaches to transparency that I’m especially keen to try in this space: (1) publishing stimulating and thoughtful e-mail messages and letters from readers — with responses from the editors and reporters involved; (2) presenting question-and-answer interviews with key editors and round-table discussions with editors and reporters; and (3) occasionally offering commentary on two or three different topics, rather than one.

?I also plan to make greater use of the Web. I intend to post more actual reader e-mails — with responses from Times editors and perhaps from me, if appropriate — on the Public Editor’s Web Journal. My first commentary, posted there two weeks ago, questioned the Washington bureau’s slowness in pursuing the significance of the so-called Downing Street memo on planning for the Iraq war.?

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