Sulzberger Confirms Search for New Public Editor — And More from Strupp’s ASNE Notebook #2

By: Joe Strupp

New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. confirmed to E&P Wednesday that the paper would hire a third in a line of public editors after Byron ?Barney? Calame?s term ends in May, but would not comment on how the choice would be made or any thoughts on how the three-year-old editor?s post has worked.

?We?re looking for that person,? he said as he ducked into an elevator at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, where the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ conference is being held this week. ?We?re still understanding it, still learning it.?

McClatchy?s Washington Editor David Westphal was all smiles Wednesday night about teaming up with Yahoo for a new international reporting and blogging effort. During ASNE?s reception at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portratiure, Westphal spoke positively about the new pairing.

?The most interesting thing is that it is kind of a rifle shot into the territory newspapers have talked about abandoning ? foreign bureaus,? he told E&P.

Of course the McClatchy bureau, formerly operated by Knight Ridder, has made a name for itself with top foreign coverage, especially in Iraq, where it has launched no fewer than three blogs in recent months.

Asked how placing some of its coverage on the ultimate Web information site, Westphal declared, ?we go on as usual.?

President George Bush did not find time to attend this year?s ASNE Conference, but apparently had enough room in his busy schedule to speak before the National Cattlemen?s Beef Association at a D.C.-area Holiday Inn on Wednesday.

Maybe if newspaper editors paid more attention to the price of steak and less attention to Bush?s many political problems, they?d get a visit.

Newspapers in Arkansas, Texas and New Jersey, all with daily circulations of less than 50,000, won the first-ever ASNE Diversity Pacesetter Awards on Wednesday.

ASNE created the awards, which include a $3,000 grant from The Gannett Foundation for each of the top three winners, to honor newspapers that ?set an example for increasing diversity in their newsrooms.? A total of 21 awards were handed out in three categories to newspapers of seven different circulation groups. The three top winners, however, were all smaller papers.

The Baxter Bulletin of Mountain Home, Ark., a Gannett paper with about 11,000 circulation, won for ?leading the Diversity Index category, a measurement that compares the percentage of minority staffers in the newsroom to the percentage of minorities in the community the paper covers.?

The Laredo (Texas) Morning Times, a Hearst Corp. newspaper at 20,000 circulation, won for having the highest percentage of minorities on staff: 73.9%.

The Trentonian of Trenton, N.J., a 44,000-circulation daily owned by The Journal Register Co., won for having the largest percentage increase in minority staffing during the past year ? 232.6 percent. The newspaper went from having 8.6% minorities in its newsroom in 2005 to 28.6% in 2006.

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