I’m not that worried about these kinds of issues. I think what we need to do is do good journalism, and be willing to ask questions of both sides, and be willing to pursue counterintuitive ideas and to go where facts and events leads us. Look, Bill Keller was also a columnist—and was in fact an op-ed columnist, which I was not—before becoming executive editor. And I am sure that the numerous Democratic politicians whose professional life has been made miserable by The New York Times over the course of Bill Keller’s tenure would not tell you that we have been too soft on that side of the aisle.
Any other thoughts about the general struggles of the press to cover ideologically polarized policy disputes?
This is not quite that, but it is related to the general state of the press. Look, I acknowledge that there are challenges for the press right now, and particularly for newspapers, and really particularly for local papers, many of which are really struggling from a business perspective.
But I sometimes think the worries become exaggerated. There are a lot of really positive things about the media right now, and particularly about The New York Times. More people read our journalism than ever before, and it’s not even close. We tell stories in a richer variety of ways than ever before, whether that is online interactive graphics or slideshows or audio or types of writing that we didn’t have before—certain kinds of columns, people on Twitter, you name it. We are able to tell stories in a wider variety of ways than we used to, and as a result I think we are better at telling stories than we used to be.
So when you combine the fact that our audience is bigger with the fact that we are doing a better job, and then with the fact that there is finally some really positive, albeit tentative, news on starting to figure out a business model in this new landscape—and we’re not alone in that—all that makes it an exciting time to be doing what we’re doing. Especially when you combine it with the scale of many of the stories that we’re covering right now—whether you think they represent progress or regression, we’re covering incredibly important stories.