In what was surely the least surprising media news of the year, The New York Times announced Tuesday that executive editor Dean Baquet will be replaced by his deputy, Joe Kahn, this June, a few months before Baquet turns 66. The move is a clear indication that publisher A.G. Sulzberger and his family believe everything is just fine. And, in many ways, it is — the paper has a huge paying audience, great journalism and vibrant digital products.
But the political coverage is broken. Not all of it. The Times’ enterprise stories on politics grapple very well with the Republicans’ descent into insanity. But the day-to-day coverage treats the two parties as morally equivalent players rather than as a flawed but fundamentally normal Democratic Party and an insurrectionist, QAnon-poisoned Republican Party. With Kahn moving to the top of the masthead, it seems unlikely that anything is going to be done about that.
Four years ago, I wrote a piece for GBH News about what was wrong with the Times’ political coverage. Not much has changed. Kahn deserves a chance, of course, and the Times’ journalism is defined by far more than politics. Its coverage of the war in Ukraine has been nothing short of superb.
And congratulations to Boston Globe and Patriot Ledger alum Carolyn Ryan, who’s been named co-managing editor along with Marc Lacey.
The New York Times has released the results of an internal study that finds the paper’s internal culture is often hostile to people of color and women. The entire report is here. A key excerpt:
Our current culture and systems are not enabling our work force to thrive and do its best work. This is true across many types of difference: race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic background, ideological viewpoints and more. But it is particularly true for people of color, many of whom described unsettling and sometimes painful day-to-day workplace experiences.
Tom Jones of Poynter has been reading it over, and he finds some telling statistics: 48% of hires in 2020 were people of color, bringing the percentage from 27% to 34% in the past six years. The percentage has risen from 17% to 23% in leadership positions, and the percentage of women employed by the Times has risen from 45% to 52%.
I suspect those numbers are better than what you’d find at most news organizations, although I also suspect that the Times — among the very few that’s been staffing up in recent years — could have done better still. And I heartily agree with Jones’ conclusion: “It also would be good to see all news organizations do the kind of self-evaluation that the Times has done and work toward making sure their newsroom cultures are where they should be.”
We can start with The Boston Globe, Boston’s public media outlets and television news operations.
Finally, of note: One of the three co-authors of the report is deputy managing editor Carolyn Ryan, an alum of the Globe and, before that, The Patriot Ledger of Quincy — and the subject of a profile in Insider this week that touts her as a possible successor to executive editor Dean Baquet.
Nestor Ramos, only recently promoted to the masthead at The Boston Globe, is leaving to become an assistant editor on The New York Times’ metro desk. He’ll begin next month, according to a press release from the Times.
In late August, Ramos was named the Globe’s senior assistant managing editor for local news. Although his job — city editor — remained essentially the same, the enhanced title made him the first Latino to be named to the news-side masthead. Editor Brian McGrory referred to the promotion as “a straight-up acknowledgement of his enormous impact on the room and our coverage.”
On Friday, in an email to the staff sent along by a trusted source, McGrory sounded unhappy over the steady stream of Globe reporters and editors who’ve been lured to the Times. While congratulating Ramos and calling his departure a “sizable loss,” McGrory went on to note that “the pattern of the Times grabbing our journalists is getting old, something I just pointed out to the good people of the Times. I choose to take it as a compliment and hope you do as well.”
One of the first media pieces I ever wrote for The Boston Phoenix, in the mid-1990s, was on the shrinking Statehouse press corps. Among those I interviewed was a young reporter for The Patriot Ledger of Quincy named Carolyn Ryan.
Ryan went on to great success at the Boston Herald, The Boston Globe and The New York Times. She was recently named the Times’ Washington bureau chief, and Michael Calderone of The Huffington Post has written about what to expect. An excerpt:
Ryan … has managed large reporting staffs in New York and Boston and is known inside the paper as a fierce competitor who sets high expectations. Such attributes can benefit the the Times’ Washington operation, which appears to be stepping up efforts against Politico and others in driving the political conversation of the day. Ryan may help ward off the complacency that news outlets long at the top of the media pecking order can sometimes fall prey to.
Quite a rise for Ryan, a hard-working, talented journalist. She deserves this moment, and I have no doubt she’ll make the most of it.
If you are a weekend Romenesko reader, then you already know that Boston Globe city editor Michael Paulson is leaving for the New York Times, where he’ll edit stories about local politics and religion for metro editor Carolyn Ryan — herself a former Globe reporter and editor. (Both are alumni of the Patriot Ledger in Quincy as well.)
It still seems strange to refer to Paulson as the Globe’s city editor because, before that, he was a very good religion reporter — among the best working for a general-interest publication, in my opinion. He shared in the Globe’s Pulitzer-winning coverage of the sexual-abuse scandals within the Catholic Church, but he also excelled at covering religion-as-religion.
You can read the memo from Globe metro editor Jen Peter at Romenesko. Below is another memo, from Ryan at the Times:
I am very happy to tell you that Michael Paulson, city editor at The Boston Globe, will be joining us as Political Editor in Metro.
Michael has a dazzling array of journalistic gifts: he is imaginative, endlessly energetic, insightful and intelligent.
He was an outstanding reporter, who covered local politics, city hall, Washington, and religion — and helped lead the Globe’s coverage of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
But Michael is also a natural editor, of expansive curiosity, sly humor and engaging manner. On the Globe’s metro desk, he has overseen a range of subjects, including transportation, the mayoral election and higher education.
Patrick Healy, a colleague of Michael’s at the Globe, described him as “a rare breed — both tenacious and thoughtful, competitive and determined.”
Michael began his reporting career at the age of 21 amid the cranberry bogs and jaywalking wild turkeys of Halifax, Massachusetts, covering a town of 6,000 people and one traffic light for The Patriot Ledger. He then went to the San Antonio Light in Texas, where he covered politics, and from there moved to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, serving as city hall reporter, state house bureau chief, and, ultimately, as the paper’s correspondent in Washington, D.C.
He joined the Globe in 2000 to cover religion, and wrote with nuance and depth about the intersection of faith, culture and politics. He spent several weeks in France researching Mitt Romney’s experience there as a Mormon missionary and traveled to Dearborn to write about Muslims and Arab Christians in the 2008 election. He also captured the complicated role of the Catholic Church during the same-sex marriage debate in Massachusetts. Michael will oversee our religion coverage, in addition to New York politics.
Michael has many ties to New York. His paternal grandparents were born and raised in Brooklyn; the Paulsons moved to Boston in the 1930s when his grandfather, a hosiery salesman, got a job there.
Michael already has a fair number of fans here at the Times.
Diego Ribadeneira, another Globe alumnus, praised Michael’s “wonderful combination of keen intellect, intense curiosity and reassuring temperament.”
He inspires confidence, respect, and affection among his colleagues. I am thrilled we will be partners again.
Michael will join us in April. He can be reached at xxx.Please join me in welcoming him.