Readers' Representative Journal

A conversation on newsroom ethics and standards

« Previous Post | Readers' Representative Journal Home | Next Post »

Changes in the readers' representative office

November 30, 2009 | 10:53 am

The Readers' Representative Journal is a forum for readers, reporters and editors to discuss The Times’ print and online articles. As its editor, I rarely insert myself into the dialogue, but today’s post is partly about my departure from The Times, so I wanted to write a few personal words.

Below is the memo from Editor Russ Stanton announcing that I am leaving after 10 years in the readers' rep office. I'm glad to say the office will stay open; what follows is also a posting, including a description of the job, for those who want to apply to be The Times' next readers' representative.

It's been an honor to serve and work with smart people -- readers, reporters, editors and others in the newsroom --  holding thoughtful discussions about the finer points and key tenets of journalism. The focus on those points, among them accuracy and fairness, is what will continue to make news organizations like The Times stand apart from many others.

Here's the memo:

I regret to report that Jamie Gold, after 10 years in the readers’ representative office, has decided to leave The Times.

The readers’ representative office was formed in 1999 to respond to inquiries and complaints about The Times’ news coverage.

Since being appointed readers’ representative in 2001, Jamie has been a liaison between the newsroom and readers on questions of accuracy, fairness and bias. Over the years she has responded to thousands of readers, explaining newsroom practices after discussing the concerns with editors, writers and others on the staff. Many of the more notable exchanges have been published on the Readers’ Representative Journal on that Jamie started two years ago.

As an advocate for readers, she has also been an advocate for The Times: Much of the work Jamie has done has been behind the scenes, persuading editorial staffers to deal quickly and candidly with comments and complaints from readers. Her work has reflected her dedication both to the newsroom and to the principle that as the region’s largest and most influential news organization, we have a responsibility to be fair and open to our readers.

Those qualities are what we seek most as we begin our search to fill this important position, which reports to me.
The successful candidate should be:
--Passionate about The Times’ role in upholding the tenets of good journalism. 

--Knowledgeable about which inquiries are worth pursuing and what action should be taken. This includes the ability to recognize situations in which it will be necessary to independently investigate questions of accuracy and fairness in our news coverage.

--Able to communicate effectively and diplomatically with readers, editors, reporters and others in multiple departments within The Times.

--Comfortable writing regularly for the Readers’ Representative Journal on, acting as an intermediary in the ongoing conversation between readers and journalists.

--Highly organized and able to set priorities in a fast-paced environment, keeping in mind the overall goal of the office: to act as a voice for our readers and to help hold us accountable to our professional standards.

Interested parties should contact me.

We wish Jamie the very best in her future endeavors. Her last day will be Dec. 31.

Russ Stanton
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles CA 90012