Next ‘NY Times’ Public Editor Chosen — But Who Is It?

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By: Joe Strupp

With less than a week left until the departure of Public Editor Byron Calame, The New York Times has yet to announce his replacement. But Calame, who will run his final column on Sunday before his two-year contract ends May 8, said the paper has chosen a new person for the post, with an announcement possible within days.

“I would say the announcement is very likely to come this week,” said Calame, who said Executive Editor Bill Keller told him the name, but asked him not to reveal it. “I want to keep my word.” Keller could not be reached for comment. Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis declined to comment on when a choice might be revealed.

Calame is the second person to hold the public editor position, which was created in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal four years ago. The first public editor, Daniel Okrent, held the job for 18 months under a similar contract. Calame said he had not been involved in the choice of a successor, which the Times revealed it was pursuing several months ago. He said only that the person “is someone you might think is available.” Asked if he had spoken to the person, he declined to comment.

Okrent, who is on a fellowship at Harvard University writing a book, said he had been contacted by one candidate for the job in recent days, but declined to identify the person. “I don’t know if he was offered the job or not,” Okrent said.

Calame said he had not finished his last column, describing it as “a few final thoughts, maybe a potpourri.” Asked if we would write about the Times’ decision not to attend any future White House Correspondents Association dinners, he said “I don?t think so, but I might end up doing it after all.” He said he would likely write something for his blog about the decision, which he supports.

“I think it was a good decision,” he said. “The dinner, as many, many people have noted, has changed. I’m not sure what purpose it really serves anymore.”

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