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Self-Complacent Newspaper Faces Impeding Destruction

Posted June. 06, 2003 22:21,   


After all, the New York Times was surely swift.

In the Editorial Office on the third floor on 43rd Avenue in Manhattan, New York in the morning of June 6, Executive Editor Howell Raines and Editor-in-Chief Gerald Boyd announced their resignations. What ensued was an outpouring of tears by the many reporters working there.

If anyone remembers the cheers bursting out in the same place just 14 months ago, it surely was an extremely contrasting moment.

Editor Raines, the winner of seven Pulitzer Prizes, which is the most ever in the 152 years of the history of the New York Times, ended his life as an editor in twenty-one months, the shortest ever since James Lestern in 1969. “Editor Lanes himself sowed the seed of destruction,” the Washington Post criticized.

However, the New York Times was the first newspaper to report the reasons most precisely and promptly.

On June 6, the New York Times published four related articles and reported in detail on the response of the advertising industry, predictions for the next editor-to-be and the background of his resignation.

“His editorial style neglected the reporters,” conveyed the New York Times. According to the Times, the midday editorial meeting was not a time for discussion but was changed to a time of writing down orders. Some editors felt like they had been denigrated and lowered into shorthand reporters.

The reporters started to openly criticize when a former reporter, Jason Blair who was favored by editors Raines and Boyd, committed plagiarism about 5 weeks ago.

According to www.slate.com, the New York Times was an organization like the Kremlin or even the family in the movie, “The Godfather.”

Reporters however of the NYTimes publicly criticized their company for the last five weeks through means of press and the Internet. The Washington Post reported that the Junior Chairman Arthur Sulzberger visited the editorial office to display his trust in the Raines organization on June 3 but received a cold reception.

The Times analyzed that the problem of the Raines organization was that Editorial Office management only focused on their star reporters and enforcement of his own agenda for the reporters.

According to the Times, respected reporters and editors have started to leave the company. After all, Junior Chairman Sulzberger, who has been supporting the Raines organization, executed the replacement with a ‘broken heart’.

The Times stated that there was no reporter who doubted the ability of Executive Editor Raines. He moved up to the highest, most honorable place as executive editor through his positions as White House Correspondent and editorial supervisor after coming from a district newspaper in 1978. Therefore, even those who opposed him burst out in tears as well.

However, the Times clarified in its editorial that the honor of the newspaper is even more valuable than the experience of the person in charge of management.

After stating, “Go out and report like shrews,” Executive Editor Raines walked out into rain in his straw hat.

Eun-Taek Hong euntack@donga.com