New York Times In 'Final Stage' Of Selecting Next Public Editor

Veteran journalists Debra Adams Simmons and Elizabeth Spayd are said to be among the finalists.
The New York Times is close to selecting its next public editor.
The New York Times is close to selecting its next public editor.

NEW YORK -- The New York Times is close to selecting its next public editor, nearly three months after Margaret Sullivan announced she was leaving the publication for The Washington Post.

Details of the selection process, led by standards editor Phil Corbett, have been closely held within the Times. A spokeswoman for the paper told The Huffington Post that the Times is in the “final stage” of its search, but declined to comment on the number of candidates in the mix.

Veteran journalists Debra Adams Simmons and Elizabeth Spayd are among those still being considered, sources familiar with the process told HuffPost.

Simmons is the former editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and most recently served as vice president of Advance Local, a division of Advance Publications. She has spent the past academic year studying the “impact of the digital news transformation on newsroom leadership and diversity, media ethics and local communities” as a fellow at Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism.

Spayd spent 25 years at The Washington Post, beginning as an editor on the business desk and ascending to managing editor, the No. 2 position in the newsroom. In November 2013, she was named editor-in-chief and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, which has looked critically at the media for more than half a century.

Neither Simmons nor Spayd responded to a request for comment.

The Times' search committee cast a wide net for this influential perch and approached a number of prominent journalists. One candidate was Greg Moore, who led The Denver Post for 14 years before resigning in March. He withdrew early in the process, and told HuffPost recently that he was flattered to be considered but plans to remain in Colorado.

Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. will make the final decision on candidates chosen by the search committee.

Sulzberger said in February that it would be a “difficult task” to replace Sullivan and that the process was already well underway.”

A former top editor of the Buffalo News, Sullivan in 2012 became the Times' fifth public editor, a position created in the wake of the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal. She took the role into the digital age by responding quickly to Times controversies in her blog and on Twitter, in addition to writing a print column. She was also the first woman to hold the position.

Sullivan was slated to leave the Times in August at the end of a four-year term, but joined the Post ahead of schedule as a media columnist. Sullivan left the Times in April and started at the Post on Monday.

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