New York Times Public Editor: ‘No One Has Been Belligerent’

Liz Spayd chats with Lloyd Grove.

In Lloyd Grove’s interview piece with New York Times public editor Liz Spayd (pictured), her predecessor Margaret Sullivan describes the job as “tense” and “fraught.” Spayd is the sixth person to hold the position and has been on the Gray Lady ombudsman beat for four months now.

At one point in the article, the key role of her assistant Evan Gershkovich is touched on. Given the potential of whatever he reads and passes to produce an end result that will get under the skin of one ore more reporters and editors at the paper, perhaps it should be spelled ‘pores’ rather than ‘pours.’ From the article:

“No one has been belligerent,” said Spayd, who knows that journalists as a class (including herself, including the author of this story) can be a thin-skinned and reflexively defensive lot. “There are people who are pretty pointed, and are unhappy about what I’m writing. But I haven’t had somebody be rude or in my face. Not yet.”

Spayd added that the despite the ambient stress of her work—which already has been nitpicked both inside and outside the Times for, allegedly, some of the same flaws she’s paid to identify in others— “I’m surprised that I’m much more comfortable taking it from all sides than I would have expected I might be. It doesn’t faze me. I knew coming in that that’s what this job is, and I’m not going to be the popular girl. I’m not going to have a lot of friends at the cafeteria table.”

Speaking of sitting down for a meal, that’s how Grove frames his column, from the perspective of his lunch with Spayd. He appears to be winking at the reader, in recognition of his subject matter (how findings are reported in print), with the description of her food as ‘an abstemious lunch of undressed salad and plain pasta.’ Read the rest Grove’s Daily Beast article here.