Sharp-eyed readers at the Times noticed something unusual in the May 13, 2016 issue. Missing from his usual slot on the Editorial Page was Andrew Rosenthal, customarily identified as Editorial Page Editor. Occupying his position as new Editorial Page Editor was James Bennet, of The Atlantic magazine, not previously associated with the Editorial Page. In choosing Bennet to succeed Rosenthal, publisher Arthur Sulzberger leap-frogged him over several staffers with Editorial Page experience.
It remains to be seen whether Bennet will bring new editorial positions to the Times but it seems strange that the Times would name an Editorial Page Editor without previous daily opinion page experience.
James Bennet inherits staff and resources other editorial page editors can only dream about. The Times is a world class paper with a well-deserved reputation for excellence. The opinion pages share that reputation.
Bennett will contribute. He will write editorials and shape the content of the opinion pages and will also shape the editorials of staff members by the way he edits their work.
The challenge to the new team at the Times is to maintain the superior quality of the Times. That means continuing to respect the intelligence of its readers. An integral part of that is appealing to their reason. We wish the new team well.
WELCOME to the debut of “The Truth Is!”, a blog of reporting and commentary that aims to be informative, thoughtful and provocative. At least initially, the blog will have a strong heartland flavor by virtue of the connection of a number of us to Cowles family journalism. I am former editor of the Des Moines Register’s opinion pages. Another contributor, Michael Gartner, is former editor of the paper; he later served as president of NBC News. Another former Register editor who has agreed to contribute, Geneva Overholser, is director of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg school of journalism. Followers of the blog will have access also to the work of Herbert Strentz of Des Moines, a close Register and other newspaper watcher who once headed Drake University’s journalism school. Bill Leonard, a longtime Register editorial writer, will add insights.
“The Truth Is!” will be supervised by my daughter, Marcia Wolff, a communications lawyer for 20 years with Arnold and Porter (Washington, D.C.). Invaluable technical assistance in assembling and maintaining the blog is provided by my grandsons Julian Cranberg, a college first-year, and Daniel Wolff, a high school senior.
If you detect a whiff of nepotism in this operation, so be it. All of it is strictly a labor of love. —Gil Cranberg