Howell Raines, the much-criticized executive editor of The New York Times has resigned from the paper today, along with Gerald Boyd, the paper’s managing editor.
The resignations come in the wake of the Jayson Blair and other journalistic scandals, many of which originated from Raines’ despotic management style. Raines ran the paper as an operation where friends were kept close and perceived enemies saw their articles spiked and their chances slim. A climate like that will invariably produce the kind of shoddy work that Blair and others stand accused of.
The real question is whether the new executive editor, Joseph Lelyveld, will be able to steer the Times on a better course. His experience is a definite plus, but the Times already suffers from an incestuous climate in which entrenched ideals remain unchallenged. Lelyveld will not only have to repair the damage caused by the Blair scandal, but try to set the Times on the right course for the future. It’s going to be a daunting task at best, but it is also something that is desperately needed.