Dear Thomas Feyer: Your New York Times Duties Are Simply Marvelous

Paper profiles its long-serving letters editor

He immigrated to the U.S. from Hungary, joined The New York Times in 1980 and moved over to the position of letters editor in 1999. By Thomas Feyer’s estimation, he has now read upwards of three million letters and emails from readers. On a daily basis, around 1,000 emails and letters come in.

For regular readers of the NYT letters-to-the-editor section, today’s Times Insider profile of Feyer is a special treat:

Having no formal credentials doesn’t hurt one’s chances, but having an already-established audience can help. Last week, for example, Emanuel Ax, a celebrated pianist whose performances are often reviewed elsewhere in the paper, weighed in on President Trump’s proposed budget cuts and their potential effect on the arts.

“We like a combination of ordinary people and those who are experts in the field,” said Mr. Feyer, who in the course of his career has had the opportunity both to edit a letter from Kurt Vonnegut and to reject one from Tom Wolfe. (Mr. Wolfe’s was too “inside baseball,” Mr. Feyer said.)

Feyer works with two other editors to curate and lay out the daily rote of between 10 and 15 published letters.