Now that Arthur Brisbane is no longer holding The New York Times accountable as the public editor, he is publicly looking back at his two year tenure at the paper of record. Mr. Brisbane served as the fourth ombudsman — the readers’ representative — a position created in the wake of the 2003 Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal.
In an interview with Craig Silverman at Poynter two days after his time at the Times came to an end, Mr. Brisbane spoke about his experience.
“I’m trying to decompress,” Mr. Brisbane told “Yesterday and today are the first two working days that I haven’t had to worry about the e-mail queue and what’s coming in and what’s in the paper, and you know what? I am enjoying it.”
Mr. Brisbane expects to be remembered for his “infamous” truth vigilante post, where Mr. Brisbane questioned whether it’s a reporter’s job to challenge statements presented as facts by sources rather than just reporting it – especially by politicians during an election season. The post got a lot of attention, which came as a bit of a surprise to Mr. Brisbane.
“For better or worse, it’s probably the goddamn fact checking thing,” he said.
NYU’s warring media publications continue to war. A new media Tumblr-meme-thing’s author is mysterious. Jay Penske pissed on someone’s boots outside of a yacht club, and, after that, what else is there to discuss regarding media today? Truly? Here are your (very short) Thursday Evening Media Briefs:
New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson announced Monday that Margaret M. Sullivan, editor and vice president of The Buffalo News, will replace Arthur Brisbane as the paper’s public editor.
Speaking on the phone from Buffalo Monday afternoon, Ms. Sullivan told Off The Record that she had lusted after the gig for years.
“Now that there’s going to be much more of a digital job,” she said, “it’s a very good fit for me.”
She described the Times search as broad and the vetting process as lengthy and thorough.
“It was not a slam dunk,” she admitted.
off the record
It’s safe to say that Matthew Callan, a 34-year-old book production editor, was no one’s go-to source for commentary when CNN anchor Anderson Cooper came out July 2. But in the Twitter tizzy to cover the breaking (if not surprising) news, at least two news outlets published a quip by Mr. Callan—only they attributed it to New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane.
Mr. Callan is the tweeter behind @TimesPublicEdit, a parody of Mr. Brisbane, whose handle is @thepubliceditor. Mr. Callan began the account in January, shortly after The Times published Mr. Brisbane now-infamous column, “Should the Times Be a Truth Vigilante?” asking if newspapers ought to fact-check all remarks made by newsmakers.
Along with quite a few other people, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson has now been successfully trolled by Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane, having dignified the paper’s ombudsman tonight with a response after he incited a brouhaha of populist outrage with a poorly-worded column published earlier today.
Times public editor Arthur Brisbane criticized the Business Day section’s investment in DealBook in his column this week, and business editor Larry Ingrassia shot back in an internal memo intercepted by Romenesko.
DealBook, the Andrew Ross Sorkin-founded Times blog which now claims a few pages in the print section, focuses on reporting deals hours before they would have been announced and chronicling the lives of Wall Street players like a gossip column. It serves the investors’ appetites, not the public interest, according to Mr. Brisbane.
It struck the Times ombudsman as a foolishly pre-2008 editorial strategy, now that macroeconomic issues dominate business headlines, and now that Wall Street is a downgraded player in international economics.