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Two top NY Times editors resign in wake of Jayson Blair scandal

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June 5, 2003

Executive Editor of The Times and Top Deputy Step Down


NEW YORK (AP) -- New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd resigned on Thursday in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal.

"This is a day that breaks my heart," Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger told staffers at a morning newsroom meeting.

The Times announced that Joseph Lelyveld, the paper's former executive editor, has been named interim executive editor, assuming the responsibilities held by Raines.

Sulzberger thanked Raines and Boyd for putting the interests of the newspaper first. The Blair scandal was not mentioned at Thursday morning's staff meeting, but the case had begun a weeks-long period of turbulence at the Times.

The two top editors had been the focus of much of the criticism following the Blair scandal, especially for allowing Blair to cover the Washington-area sniper case when the metropolitan editor had previously raised concerns about the reporter's mistakes.

Raines, 60, had been criticized for what some saw as his autocratic management style.

"You view me as inaccessible and arrogant," Raines told staffers at a May 14 meeting. "You believe the newsroom is too hierarchical, that my ideas get acted on and others get ignored. I heard that you were convinced there's a star system that singles out my favorites for elevation."

No one will be named interim managing editor to replace the 52-year-old Boyd, the Times said.

Raines became executive editor just days before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The following April, the Times received a record seven Pulitzer Prizes -- five for its coverage of the terrorist attacks and another for the war in Afghanistan.

"They have made enormous contributions during their tenure," Sulzberger said, "including an extraordinary seven Pulitzer Prizes in 2002 and another this year. I appreciate all of their efforts in continuing the legacy of our great newspaper."

Raines had been editor of the editorial page for eight years and previously headed the newspaper's bureaus in Washington and London when he was named executive editor to replace the retiring Lelyveld.

He won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1992 for a memoir he wrote for The New York Times Magazine about his childhood friendship in Alabama with his family's black housekeeper.

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