NYT Names New Public Editor

NYT NAMES NEW PUBLIC EDITOR….The New York Times has a new public editor:

The New York Times today named its next public editor, Clark Hoyt, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor who oversaw the Knight Ridder newspaper chain’s coverage that questioned the Bush administration’s case for the Iraq war.

….In the prelude to the Iraq war and the early days of the war, Knight-Ridder stood apart from most of the mainstream news media in raising doubts at times about the Bush administration’s claims, later discredited, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda. Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said that record contributed to his selection of Mr. Hoyt.

“There was a lot of work Knight-Ridder did that was prescient, that wasn’t easy to do,” Mr. Keller said. “It’s always hard to go against conventional wisdom. I think it probably brings him a measure of credibility that helps in getting started on a job like that — that he’s been associated with a brave and aggressive reporting exercise like that.”

This is sort of fascinating. Hoyt is plainly someone of considerable stature, someone who not only knows the nuts and bolts of newsgathering but also has the background and reputation to offer criticism that can really stick. And the Times is obviously interested in trumpeting his war skepticism as evidence of his credibility. Should be interesting.

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