The Times has hired Arthur Brisbane as their fourth public editor.
Mr. Brisbane will quickly become a very big favorite in the newsroom, we’re sure. It appears he has experience both in the newsroom and on the publishing side.
According to a Times memo, here’s his career breakdown:
1977: Kansas City Times, Metro columnist
1984: Washington Post, reporter for national and metro and then assistant city editor
1990: Kansas City Star, metro columnist then editor then publisher
2005: Knight Ridder, senior vice president
Also, he’s been a Nieman consultant!
UPDATE: Here is Bill Keller’s memo:
To the Staff:
With the end of Clark Hoyt’s tour, we’ve had a lively discussion of whether to perpetuate the institution of public editor. Lord knows we have no shortage of kibbitzers — including millions of reliably attentive readers — to keep us in balance and on our toes. Some of you wonder, do we really need someone to publicly flyspeck us on our own dime, in our own space? On the other hand, the general suspicion of the press has not abated in the years since Dan Okrent took the first turn at this job, nor has our determination to hold ourselves to the highest standards in journalism. Offering the readers an advocate, someone who has the experience, the skills and the license to study our work and pass impartial judgments on it, is a demonstration of our commitment to those standards.
In short, there will be a fourth public editor, and after researching a long and diverse list of prospects, we have found someone we think can ably fill Clark’s shoes.
Arthur S. Brisbane certainly has the experience. In a career spent mostly with Knight Ritter, he has been reporter and columnist, editor and publisher, corporate executive and consultant. Art got his start in New York (at the weekly Glen Cove Guardian) and spent six years on the metro and national desks of the Washington Post, before becoming a metro columnist, then editor, then publisher at The Kansas City Star. He comes highly recommended by, among others, Clark Hoyt, a fellow Knight Ritter alum.
Art will begin his three-year fixed term this summer — we’re still working on a specific date. Like Clark he will take a few weeks to meet us and get the lay of the land before he goes public.
His assignment is to hold us accountable to our own standards, to serve as an advocate for the interests of readers, and to give readers an independent eye into the workings of this great news organization.
I hope you’ll all join me in giving him a warm welcome.