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Gary Younge
New editor for troubled New York Times

The troubled New York Times named its new editor yesterday as it was forced to publish yet another lengthy correction in an attempt to settle nerves and restore confidence at one of the nation's most respected newspapers.

Bill Keller, a columnist and magazine writer, will succeed Howell Raines, who resigned after a scandal - involving the serial plagiarism and fabrications of one reporter - exposed deep-seated resentment within the Times about his abrasive management style.

But just as the publishers hoped Mr Keller's appointment would bring stability to the newsroom, the paper's journalistic reputation came under scrutiny yet again with the publication of a 2,100-word correction.

Last week's profile of Steven Gottlieb, the founder and pres ident of TVT records, claimed Mr Gottlieb had defaulted on a $23.5m loan and so was no longer in control of his company. Mr Gottlieb was never personally responsible for the loan and remains in full control of his company.

"The article's main premises were based on fundamental misunderstandings of the subject, scope and status of the legal proceedings discussed," according to an editor's note in yesterday's paper.

It will be Mr Keller's task to restore confidence to a paper whose self-belief has been severely rocked, not least by the 7,500-word four-page correction of former reporter Jayson Blair's litany of fabrications and plagiarism published in May. Not long after the extent of Mr Blair's deception became clear, one of the paper's top reporters, Rick Bragg, resigned when it was revealed that he relied heavily on someone else to do his reporting.

Mr Keller, 54, who was passed over for the top job in favour of Mr Raines, has worked on the paper for almost 20 years. He is the former Moscow bureau chief and won a Pulitzer prize in 1989.

Mr Keller held the number two spot of managing editor between 1997 and 2001 under Mr Raines' predecessor, Joseph Lelyveld. When he applied for the executive editor position in 2001 he offered continuity, saying he intended to finish what he had started with Mr Lelyveld - a devolved, low-key management style with more coverage of popular culture and the media with a happy newsroom as a priority. But the paper's publisher, Arthur Schulzberger Jr, decided that the paper needed a more dramatic change in direction.

Mr Raines' style proved too radical a shift for the Times' working culture. In his first interview since his resignation, Mr Raines said on Friday: "Arthur sent me to the newsroom to be a change-agent, to lead a talented staff that was settled into a kind of lethargic culture of complacency into being a performance culture. And much of the conflict that came to the surface post-Jayson Blair was around the friction caused by that kind of cultural change, which would cause friction in any workplace."

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