New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt isn’t as flashy as Dan Okrent, the first person to hold that job. But to my mind he’s been a solid in-house critic of Times journalism, and a considerable improvement over his plodding predecessor, Byron Calame.
So I enjoyed this profile of Hoyt that appeared in an alumni publication, Columbia College Today, written by David McKay Wilson, a Northeastern classmate of mine in the 1970s. Hoyt explains his philosophy thusly:
I want to talk about how something happened so we could learn from it, instead of wagging a finger and taking a holier-than-thou approach. You also have to make sure you talk about the work, not the person. The New York Times is a great newspaper and it produces great journalism every day, under very trying circumstances. In certain cases, it doesn’t live up to those standards.
The most recent case, of course, is the paper’s botched reporting on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s exaggerations regarding his military service. Hoyt, admirably, dove right in — too early, as it turned out. Now that the story is fading away, I hope he’ll take another, more considered look.