Bill Keller Abandons ‘NYT Magazine’ Column

The column was a regular target of criticism

New York Times’ executive editor Bill Keller will end his New York Times Magazine front-of-the-book column in September, reports WWD.

Keller is planning to hand over the reins as executive editor to Jill Abramson in September and will become a full-time writer and op-ed columnist at the paper. He said that it was his idea to stop writing his Times Magazine column six months after he began writing it, which was a major feature of the magazine’s relaunch headed by editor Hugo Lindgren.

“The magazine column has been fun—and I’ve loved being part of Hugo’s relaunch—but op-ed has greater license to have opinions, and a day-before deadline,” he told WWD in an email.

Keller was supposed to write about 30 columns a year for the magazine, but since contributing his first one in March, he has only written 12. The columns—which weren’t supposed to focus on media, but often did—were often ill-received by the media world as well as the Times' own newsroom.

But Lindgren defended the column, telling WWD, “If you have a columnist that everyone loves—what is that? Is there one of those in the world? I enjoyed some of the controversy that he kicked up.”

There was also the issue of corrections. Of the 12 columns that Keller wrote, five had corrections (including one column that had two), working out to a 41.6 percent correction rate, says WWD. (For comparison, disgraced Times writer Jayson Blair’s correction rate of 5 percent to 6.3 percent was apparently high enough to draw reprimand.)