Are Ombudsmen Necessary If We Have Bloggers?

A colleague of mine recently said some complimentary things about Clark Hoyt, the so-called public editor (i.e., ombudsman) of The New York Times. Unlike his immediate predecessor Byron Calame, Hoyt, my colleague pointed out, is tough, no-nonsense and productively cranky.

I found myself agreeing (Hoyt's better than Calame, no doubt).

Then, I confess, I found myself reverting to my usual position regarding Hoyt: vague indifference.

Then I found myself feeling a little guilty for not particularly caring.

And then I thought: Maybe it's not me, and maybe it's not really even Hoyt. Maybe it's the very idea of the public editor/ombudsman -- a position whose time may have come and gone.

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