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Arthur Brisbane was named The New York Times's public editor this week. (Credit: The New York Times)

Writers for both Daily Finance and the Women’s Media Center both wonder about the lack of diversity the New York Times has shown in its choice of public editors. The Center’s Web site describes it as a “non-profit progressive women’s media organization by writers/activists” to make “women visible and powerful in the media.”

Becca Stanger wrote June 23 on the Women’s Media Center Web site about the appointment of Arthur Brisbane as the Times‘s fourth public editor.

The public editor serves as a representative for the readers to the newspaper, and works independently of the newspaper.

She wrote that “Although the public editor is theoretically supposed to represent the diverse population of Times readers, only white, middle-aged men have served as Times public editors to date.  With this repeated failure to include diversity in this crucial position, the New York Times fails to accurately reflect the wide representative population served by the position, including women.”

The New York Times’s first public editor was Daniel Okrent from Dec. 2003 to May 2005.  Byron Calame succeeded Okrent and was public editor from May 2005 to May 2007.  Clark Hoyt was The Times’s public editor from May 2007 untl this month.

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Stanger wrote that The New York Times’ executive editor,  Bill Keller, said that “the pool of candidates we considered was large and very diverse” but that Brisbane was “the strongest candidate.”

Stanger referenced Jeff Bercovici’s June 21 article on Daily Finance which bluntly described Brisbane as just “another white dude.”
Bercovici wrote that while the Times has a diverse readership and employee base, the public editors so far “have only come in one flavor: white, middle-aged men.”

The New York Times announced Brisbane as the newspaper’s fourth public editor June 21.

The Women’s Media Center’s board of directors includes, according to its Web site: Dr. Cristina L. Azocar, Jewelle Bickford, Patti Chang, Donna Deitch, Jodie Evans, Gloria Feldt, Jane Fonda, Judy Gold, Teresa McBride, Robin Morgan, Gloria Steinem and Helen Zia.

StinkyJournalism has written to the Women’s Media Center for more information about the organization and will update with any information.

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Women’s Media Center, Daily Finance Question NYT Public Editor Diversity

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