New York Times kills public editor slot

From Jeremy Gerard at Deadline:

The New York Times this morning announced the elimination of its Public Editor column, a widely read print and online insider’s critique of the paper that followed a national trend of newspapers creating “ombudsman” positions for readers to address complaints. Liz Spayd, the current public editor, will leave The Times on Friday, according to a memo to the staff from publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

Regarding the Public Editor position, Sulzberger wrote: “Our followers on social media and our readers across the internet have come together to collectively serve as a modern watchdog, more vigilant and forceful than one person could ever be. Our responsibility is to empower all of those watchdogs, and to listen to them, rather than to channel their voice through a single office.” More.

Reality check:  Is all this consistent with claims that the traditional media are reviving? Yes, if we think, as noted earlier, that their precipitous decline in recent years was principally due to the fact that their traditional role of purveyor and gatekeeper of news was obsolete. They now market progressivism much more openly (fake news about a Trump impeachment or Trump revealing national defence secrets come to mind as examples) to a public that unabashedly want to hear that news, true or not. In other words, they will still claim to be media of record but will signal by their choices that they are not. The readership is content with the illusion as part of the fiction.

If they are not content, Twitter will know about it pretty darn fast. Twitter will soon run the enterprise.

See also: Does fake news on Trump impeachment signal historic change?