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Gary Younge
New broom at NYT after Blair scandal

The New York Times moved to restore its battered image in the wake of a journalistic scandal that claimed the jobs of its two most senior editors in June by pledging a review of its journalistic policies and creating the first ombudsman's job in its 152-year history.

The 11-week review by a 28-member panel created the ombudsman's post, which will be known as "public editor", to examine coverage, reader complaints and write a periodic column in the newspaper

A standards editor and an editor to oversee hiring and career development will also be named, said the new editor, Bill Keller. The three new jobs should be "refined and filled within the coming weeks".

In its report, the committee acknowledged that concerns over diversity may have helped Jayson Blair - the black reporter whose fabrications and plagiarism sparked the scandal - advance at the Times. But it emphasised that the paper should not turn away from its commitment to a diverse newsroom.

The report found that the "real culprits" in the Blair scandal were "deeply flawed structures, attitudes and processes".

In particular, the committee cited a "failure to communicate" among editors and said that "in the New York Times newsroom, silos had replaced sharing".

Keller said the Times would also pursue committee recommendations to standardise the newspaper's policy on anonymous sources, create an annual performance review for its workers and impose more coherent byline policies and enforcement of dateline policies.

The Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Rick Bragg resigned from the Times in May after relying extensively on the reporting of a stringer for a feature on Florida oystermen. The story carried only his byline.

In further restructuring the paper named a pair of new managing editors, replacing one of the executives forced to resign. Jill Abramson, the Times's Washington bureau chief, and John Geddes, the paper's deputy managing editor, will replace Gerald Boyd.

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