A new readers' representative for The Times
As my first order of business, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm honored to be succeeding Jamie Gold as readers' representative, and I look forward to continuing the conversation. I also want to salute Jamie as she leaves The Times. For 10 years she has been committed to listening to readers and working to get your voice heard in the newsroom and reflected in news coverage. She leaves big (and stylish) shoes to fill.
The memo from Editor Russ Stanton announcing my appointment follows.
Deirdre Edgar, national copy desk chief since 2006, will become readers’ representative effective today.
Deirdre will be expanding the scope and reach of the Readers’ Representative Office at a time when interaction with our readers, users and viewers has never been more important and the mediums in which we interact never more varied. Specifically, she will be broadening the Readers’ Representative Journal, the online report started by Jamie Gold in 2007. [Updated Feb. 9: As assistant readers representative, Kent Zelas was instrumental in helping start the journal as well.]
As part of that effort, Deirdre will proactively share with readers many of the things that go into our newsgathering efforts, like our coverage of the Haitian earthquake and its aftermath, how we tackled an investigative project or how a photographer captured a terrific photo. She plans to host Times journalists in weekly online conversations with readers and to use the evolving tools of social media to help incorporate reader perspectives into coverage.
She will publish more reader comments, more often, with the goal being a focus on the journalism and transparency. Journal entries will include questions about fairness and usage as well as praise when readers recognize exceptional work. She will, of course, continue the office's role in independently investigating questions of accuracy and fairness in our news coverage. And she will serve as a member of the newsroom Standards & Practices Committee. Deirdre will report to me; Managing Editor Jon Thurber will edit the journal.
To enable this broadening of the mission, we will be adjusting how we handle corrections. Beginning today, correction requests sent to the readers' representative mailbox will be directed to the various news and features sections. Asst. Managing Editor Henry Fuhrmann will oversee this process, and each section will designate an editor to serve as the point person to pursue the requests.
As head of the national copy desk the last four years, Deirdre has demonstrated the extraordinary skills and high standards necessary to do this job. She is passionate about upholding the tenets of good journalism; communicates quickly and easily with editors and reporters, the A1 desk and the homepage; and is exceptionally well organized.
She and her crew have been the final sets of eyes on much of our signature work in recent years, notably our coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign as well as several award-winning projects. Deirdre was one of the copy editors on the "Altered Oceans" project, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and was part of the Metro team honored with a 2004 Pulitzer for coverage of the California wildfires.
Deirdre joined The Times in November 1999 as a copy editor in the Business section before moving to the Orange County and Metro copy desks. In 2003 she was named The Times’ copy editor of the year. Deirdre has held copy editing positions at the Orange County Register, the Arizona Republic and the Oregonian in Portland. She has served on the board of the American Copy Editors Society for eight years, the last four as vice president for conferences. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Cal State Long Beach.