Decades of Leadership, Making an Exit

As The Times whittles its staff, some noteworthy names move on.

Comments: 35

  1. My biggest complaint about the times and in particular its staff that was around in 2001-2004 is their failure to adequately deal with the coming Iraq war and the Bush presidency in general. I look to the times to not be held captive to BS. But they like most of the media failed us. Stengthen your resolve, find a muse or whatever but do not be fooled again.

  2. I'm drawing a deep breath and hoping, with you, that this is not a sign of decline and lowered standards. I hope especially that it does not mean that the NYT will move further toward "light" news and tabloid topics. There are plenty of other outlets for celebrity gossip, but there are not plenty of other papers that still support a worldwide network of reporters who have real local knowledge, or connections and contacts that can give them access to it. We need you to continue doing real investigative work. The celebrity news and cheesy pop-psychology and lightweight health stories might draw readers in the short run, but will bring you down in the long run, and will let all of us down. Reality doesn't go out of style, however much we may wish it sometimes would.

  3. Not a fan of the word "famously." Almost as bad as "whopping." Thank you.

  4. I miss Frank Rich and Bob Herbert. Both are irreplaceable.

  5. So Do I. They're two of the reasons I started getting the New York Times delivered to my house on a daily basis. I now subscribe to New York magazine as well to read Frank Rich.

  6. Not the first time, nor will it be the last.

    If the NYT stays true to its heritage, it will survive. If it continues to slide into the "new journalism" habits that we have seen recently, it may not.

    All it takes is effort, commitment, and hard work.

    Since, even now, the NYT is deserving of respect, there is a good chance that all three will be coming from the remaining reporters and editors.

  7. One of the reasons that I, an ex-New Yorker living in California, read the Times daily and participate on line is that the Times did straighten out things after the Jayson Blair (and Judith Miller) debacles.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. With all the departures of stalwarts of Journalistic integrity i hope the Old Gray lady remains a force to be reckoned with. The Times is an American institution and continues to be so and should be revered as such

  9. Judging from the comments on the blog, I'd say the Times is a World institution.

  10. How can one know anything about a job or the culture of one;s workplace after only 5 months?

  11. Correct.

  12. I miss Clyde Haberman the most.I looked forward to seeing his byline on a story.

  13. "The old order changeth and giveth way to the new." During its many years of existence, a lot of institutional memory has left the NYT. It's always sad to lose those voices, but I have absolute faith that the new, incoming voices, albeit different, will be terrific.

  14. I couldn't agree more. These are smart, smart people who know what they're doing. I've met some of the new people, and they are terrific! They're exceptionally smart, energetic, caring, not so new at all that they don't also have institutional knowledge and love of the Times, but add to that a real breath of fresh air. Change is good, and this is a good change.

  15. With all the money that the NYTimes will save by "letting go" much of their senior staff, ie; highest paid, what will the Times do then, buy some "institutional memory" to make the paper seem more viable? Or will it become just another entertainment rag.

  16. The most disturbing thing to me is the "loss of institutional memory". Memory brings perspective and critical judgment. I want people my own age or older bringing me the news not a bunch of kids just out of journalism school. In journalism, age brings wisdom; Jim Lehrer, Judy Woodruff, and Margaret Warner are among the few television journalists I trust. Sad that the Times has had so many upheavals and sadder still that the news buying population seems not to care.

  17. I care. And as a daily reader, I find the quality of the NYT journalism declining fast in the last few months. I increasingly have a hard time finding anything to read in the Times but old, lame, hashed-over news, dumbed-down drivel, or senseless sensationalism. The quality of the editing is declining, and I find myself tripping over obvious grammar mistakes, missing words and misleading statements. International news, my favorite kind, is especially scant. I find myself wondering if the subscription price is worth it anymore. For the moment, I'm willing to wait to see how the Times adapts, but I'm not going to pay for bad service forever. I hope the new bosses get it together soon.

  18. Reading NYT daily is my habit. Thus, I take NYT's existence personally. In this Internet age, NYT needs to adopt new strategies, even new model, to continue to be the voice of substance and seriousness.

    The privilege of being the NYT may be challenged by the one-click-away one can get news somewhere else, the one blog popping up one can get quality opinion somewhere else. This is the reality NYT is in. In addition, to maintain the high cost of being substantial and serious is especially hard when many sites simply serve their readers by linking to or compiling other people's writing, which costs very little.

    If I were the CEO of NYT, I would have to think long-term, not just producing good news for the timing being. I would have to study my new competitors seriously. I would have to study the new generation's reading habit seriously. I would have to study the e-commerce seriously to find new revenue stream to replace the old revenue sources. In this Internet age, NYT's CEO cannot be just an old-school newsman/woman, he/she must have a real technology background in order to compete. Why's stock value can be so high because it is run by a CEO who is an expert on computer technology. He doesn't need to follow the trends. He has the ability to create the trends, and create new revenue streams.

    NYT still has the advantage of being a household name and being an icon. But it must transform itself to meet the new challenge of this Internet Age.

  19. Journalism is a very fortunate craft where speaking truth to power is appreciated. It is a trait that other businesses should copy. In the "real world" of American business, the people who speak truth to power are the first ones slaughtered when layoffs come. The chilling effect that has on others is remarkably damaging to morale, innovation and success. Bosses don't like hearing things from below that they really do need to know.

  20. The problem has become that the some of the people willing to speak truth to power, the journalist, have become so enamored with the personality of that power that they can no longer discern the truth.

    The Fourth Estate has ceded its adversarial relationship to power in favor of being part of the propaganda machine.

    There is no worse offender than the NY Times, although there remain some who can, and will, speak truth.

    It is key that the NYT encourage those to lead while suggesting that those who prefer propaganda either change or seek employment elsewhere.

    As in all eras when change is at hand, time will tell who succeeds and who will fail.

    I am not confident that the NYT will be on the list of the successful.

  21. I hadn't known that the Time chief executive was from the BBC. I very dislike the BBC for several reasons--its British, the center for centuries of classism, colonialism and cronyism, their journalism is worse than Monthy Python's parodies of it, and they coddled and covered up a pedophile for 15 years.

    I understand PBS has a BBC executive now at its head. God save us from these nits!

  22. Speaking of making an exit! Does ANYONE know where Teresa Heinz is?

  23. Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone
    If your time to you is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
    For the loser now will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is rapidly fadin’
    And the first one now will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Bob Dylan, "The Times They Are A-Changin" from the 1964 album of the same name...

  24. Or:

    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away."

    Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818

  25. I enjoyed your column on “Decades of Leadership, Making an Exit “February 3, 2013.
    I have been a reader of the New York Times since I was in the 7th grade in 1957 and bought The Times every day on a student subscription in class. I have always respected The Times' search for the truth in news.
    In reading your commentary, it seems that you were only able to site two retiring editors by name, who spoke up as you stated as being irreplaceable for their questioning. Very laudable until I started to realize that was about 10% of the 20 retiring editors and less than 0.01% of the remaining staff.
    More concerning to me was that management did not seem to listen or care about their comments or questions. Where is the leadership you refered to? Is that a myth of the present and a reality of the past?
    The commentaries and questions over the last six months from Fox News about The Times seem to bring a great deal of questions about that leadership and lack of it. This does not seem to have been answered. Fox’s ratings seem to bring credence to their comments and questions about The Times, especially the lack of leadership in seeking the truth on any issue.
    I have always considered The New York Times to be the questioning authority, which challenges all politicians and news with a search for the truth. This also seems to be a reality of the past and a myth of the present.

  26. The NYT is the nation's leading daily, general coverage newspaper and as such bears much of the responsibility for the ill repute of journalism and journalists among the so called mainstream media. It is the newspapermen and women that Ms. Sullivan applauds that lead the New York Times down to present condition where there is a lot of political propaganda on the news pages and even the basic facts cannot be relied upon. The NYT has lead the field in manufacturing fake news by commissioning "studies" rigged to support its poltics and reporting the findings as news. A current example: As I write this those who read mostly the NYT will not know that 90% of gun violence in America is very isolated to a few U.S. House Districts, all represented by liberal Democrat Party members. The NYT has been reporting, issue after issue, that there is an "epidemic of gun violence throughout America" when the opposite is true.

  27. Maybe the leadership of The Times failed to read the story last Sunday in which it was revealed that for the first time in The Times history, the readers paid more to the paper than advertisers. What the means is that we, the readers, ARE willing to pay whatever it takes to read our beloved newspaper. If The Times had asked us if we were willing to pay $3.00 for the daily paper in order to retain their best employers, we would have agreed. In the late 1990s, I paid $9.00 for a copy of the Sunday Times while attending a conference on one of the islands.
    We WANT our New York Times AND we are willing to pay for it. We can have our news for free but we will PAY for The Times

  28. Maybe you are willing to pay whatever it takes, but many people are not.

  29. Messengers are frequently shot. In completely different situations - two jobs and a directorship - i spoke truth to power and lost the first time, a job; the second time my future in the organization, and the third time, my position on the board. Was I right? In each situation, I believe I was. Could I have raised the issues ("spoken") differently? Perhaps, but that would have only weakened my arguments, and I'd probably still have been undermined, just perhaps more slowly and incrementally.Did I do any good for those organizations? I don't think so. Would I do it again, knowing what I know now? There is no going back, so I don't even ask myself or answer that question.

  30. Thanks for the excellent, courageous, well-considered article. But that's what one expects of the NYT, including in reports on the NYT. I hope that the author sticks around.

  31. I find these changes very sad. When I began working, there were people ranging from their 20s to their 70s in my first workplace. Today, most places have a heavy concentration of people 40 and under. It looks like the Times is following suit.

  32. Too bad Joe Sexton never "spoke truth to power" when he was the editor of the metro section. Instead, his stance toward the Bloomberg administration was see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil. His idea of investigative reporting was to have somebody stake out Bloomberg's townhouse to see if he really took the subway to work every day. But consider the essential question of "who profits?" from the mayor's policies? Never.

  33. I am still waiting for this public editor to act like a true public editor should - an ombudsman. It's great that the Times has so many valuable people and sad that they are leaving.
    So take the next logical step in the tale: tell us how or if Times coverage will suffer. Should we be concerned? If not, then what is the point if the column? That's what we readers care about.

  34. NYT employees leaving.

    Wrong impression.

    It's like rats leaving a ship.

    It's a sign of the ship sinking.

  35. To bad you are not joining the ranks of exNYTimes employees. After the your sad defense of the Broder Testa article I wonder how you can be anything but a prop for bad journalism