From December 2003 to May 2005, Daniel Okrent served as the New York Times
' first "Public Editor," a position created following the newspaper's Jayson Blair scandal and the tumultuous reign and resignation of Howell Raines as Executive Editor. His mission: read the paper and provide his assessments, without guidance from the paper itself and without fear or favor, of how well it executed its responsibility to provide objective, accurate, and complete coverage of the world-at-large. Not an easy task, but the New York Times
chose the right writer for the job. Experienced, wise and witty, opinionated but never shrill, he delivered. Okrent addressed subjects ranging from WMD coverage, reporter self-promotion, pulling for or piling on political candidates, and corrections policy, to the Tony Awards, to the great delight and consternation of the paper's readers, and those in its own newsroom. Now, collected, amended, and assessed by Okrent here are the complete columns of his rocky and illuminating eighteen months along with an evaluation of the entire experience; its ups and downs and what he thinks he got right and got wrong. This is a smart, serious, entertaining, and longlasting look at what today's finest journalism does well— and what it can do better.
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