Arthur Brisbane will step down as New York Times public editor Sept. 1, according to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple. Brisbane “will not serve the one-year option on his contract” and will be leaving after two years, Wemple wrote, noting that Brisbane’s decision was mutual.
The New York Times also reported on the news and added that Brisbane said being public editor is “a pretty intense job.”
Brisbane recently called out the newspaper for failing to credit other news outlets for “breaking important elements of the story” on “child sexual abuse victims” in the “ultra-Orthodox Jewish community” in the Times’ series on the topic.
The New York Times reports — “Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse” and “For Ultra-Orthodox in Abuse Cases, Prosecutor has Different Rules” — didn’t flag articles and “foundational reporting” by outlets like The Jewish Weekand New York Magazine, Brisbane explained.
According to Brisbane, Times Metro editor Carolyn Ryan said, “We were never under any illusion that we were the first outlet to report on abuse in the community, nor did we claim to be,” but that the Times had found its information independently. Ryan noted that the newspaper gives credit or attribution for “exclusive information…reported first” by another outlet.
However, Brisbane questioned, as The Jewish Daily Forward’s assistant managing editor Larry Cohler-Esses suggested, why the Times didn’t include a brief summary about “the role of the community press” in reporting this story.
Ultimately, Brisbane argued:
“The Times’s articles were superb, bringing together disparate elements and telling the story in a compelling way. But fairness dictates what the emerging expectations of the Internet era also dictate: readers should be told more clearly about precedent coverage by others. The Times has little to lose in doing so, except perhaps the impression that it got the story alone.”