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Yesterday the New York Times announced that Bill Keller will step down as the executive editor and be replaced by managing editor Jill Abramson, while Keller will focus on just writing. Keller seems to have started this transition when he took on a column in the redesigned New York Times Magazine, which he’s used to fight against some things he finds unsavory including WikiLeaks Julian Assange, who he called smelly, along with The Huffington Post and then Twitter. This week, Keller’s column is about conspiracy theories and why people believe them. “Maybe, then, there is a little birther in all of us,” he writes. But by the end, he manages to sneak in a little dig at both WikiLeaks and Twitter. More inside Press Clips, our daily media column, plus Keller’s wife on the job change.
From the Top: This time, Keller gets someone else to do the zinging, but he nails two platforms for journalism he sees as flawed with one stone, while also defending his own:
Suspicion hardens into full-blown conviction when people lose faith in authorities, says Knight, who edited “Conspiracy Nation: The Politics of Paranoia in Postwar America.” The present day, he told me, when Internet access has sparked a proliferation of competing, self-appointed authorities, is a particularly fertile time for conspiracy theorists, who might ask: ” ‘Why would you believe The New York Times? Why do they have a monopoly on truth? Surely Twitter and WikiLeaks are just as trustworthy.'”
Surely not! There’ll be more of this to look forward to when Keller joins the forthcoming revamp of the Sunday Review section, as well.
But Keller’s column is only the second best thing on the internet today written by a member of his family, because his wife, the writer and Twitter star Emma Gilbey Keller, stopped by Vanity Fair to tell her side of the executive editor story. She writes movingly about raising two daughters with a husband who, as Bill mocked, is considered one of the most important men in the world:
I have a cherished photograph of Bill looking very summery–he’s standing in the garden, watering some grass seed while talking on the phone. At the moment it was taken, he was absorbing the news that theTimes’s Middle East correspondent, Stephen Farrell, had been kidnapped. The girls are in the garden, just out of sight. The photo reminds me of the mornings he would take them to school, and then head downtown to the F.B.I. offices to see the latest video of Timesinvestigative reporter David Rohde in captivity. And it reminds me, much more recently, of my telling Molly and Alice that our long-planned trip to India was off because four New York Times employees had been taken captive in Libya.
Read the rest here.
Relocating: In what’s become normal in these days of writers-as-brands, Jeffrey Goldberg’s “Goldblog” will be moving from TheAtlantic.com to Tablet Magazine, where his “authoritative perspective on Israel, Iran, Jewish communal life, and other topics that make him a natural fit.” Goldberg took to his blog to explain the switch, calling this ” a period of huge disruption in the relationship between America and Israel, and between American Jews and Israelis, and I want to be able to focus on these conflicts in an intensely granular way, inside the Jewish community.”
Another famed Atlantic blogger, Andrew Sullivan, recently pulled the same thing when brought his Daily Dish blog to the Daily Beast, though the Atlantic‘s website isn’t exactly smarting; thanks to a busy news cycle and presumably some strategy too, it posted its largest numbers ever on the web last month.
Out at Time Out: This week there were reports of layoffs at Time Out New York and today we hear from a source that “when they say 25% of staff, it’s more like 25% of payroll,” with higher-ups like the CTO and EVPs getting the axe too in the wake of a new acquisition, and that no one feels as if they’re on solid ground. Those in print ad sales were hit especially hard. Staffers across the magazine will be expected to pick up the slack of their fallen colleagues, as it usually goes with this sort of thing.