Wed, Jul 16, 2003 - Page 7 News List

`New York Times' stumbles again, prints correction


The troubled New York Times named its new editor Monday as it was forced to publish yet another lengthy correction in an attempt to settle nerves and restore confidence at one of the nation's most respected newspapers.

Bill Keller, a columnist and magazine writer, will succeed Howell Raines, who resigned after a scandal -- involving the serial plagiarism and fabrications of one reporter -- exposed deep-seated resentment within the Times about his abrasive management style.

But just as the publishers hoped Keller's appointment would bring stability to the newsroom, the paper's journalistic reputation came under scrutiny yet again with the publication of a 2,100-word correction.

Last week's profile of Steven Gottlieb, the founder and president of TVT records, claimed Gottlieb had defaulted on a US$23.5 million loan and so was no longer in control of his company. Gottlieb was never personally responsible for the loan and remains in full control of his company.

"The article's main premises were based on fundamental misunderstandings of the subject, scope and status of the legal proceedings discussed," according to an editor's note in yesterday's paper.

It will be Keller's task to restore confidence to a paper whose self-belief has been severely rocked, not least the 7,500-word four-page correction of former reporter Jayson Blair's litany of fabrications and plagiarism published in May. Not long after the extent of Blair's deception became clear, one of the paper's top reporters, Rick Bragg, resigned when it was revealed that he relied heavily on someone else to do his reporting.

Keller, 54, who was passed over for the top job in favor of Raines, has worked on the paper for almost 20 years. He is the former Moscow bureau chief and won a Pulitzer prize in 1989.

Keller held the number two spot of managing editor between 1997 and 2001 under Raines' predecessor Joseph Lelyveld.

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