In a column for Slate that feels just as tossed off as this very post is sure to be, media critic Jack Shafer offers a list of suggestions for the soon-to-be-vacated position of New York Times Public Editor. Shafer wants to see "somebody who is under 40, whose worldview hasn't been Lasiked blind by decades inside a newspaper newsroom, and who writes the way fire ants bite." His nominees include blog empress Elizabeth Spiers (who apparently has gas), some lady from the New Yorker, and the dude from Talking Points Memo, who is a Princeton alum. In that spirit we've come up with our own slate of candidates.
In no particular order:
Sewell Chan: Sure, he already works for the paper, but he could do this job in his sleep, which we imagine occurs between the minutes of 5:43 and 5:44 A.M. Honestly he'd probably nail CEO Janet Robinson's scalp to a wall while just wandering around asking questions.
Brian Montopoli: Nonstopoli, the boy wonder of CBS Public Eye and also of the neighborhood of Cobble Hill, is a stellar choice. His context-free ploddings are the perfect solution for editors worried about invasive public editors who ask questions. Plus, he'll never let the web journal go un-updated—even when he has nothing to say he makes sure to tell you. A fine choice for those who are worried about a public editor with too little self-esteem.
Rachel Sklar: This perky Canadian calls them like she sees them. Tough but fair, Sklar made her bones in the trenches of Mediabistro, then took The Huffington Post by storm, birthing Eat the Press, a website that combines the humorless media scolding of Columbia Journalism Review with incessant show tune references. This is the ombudsman—nay, ombudsperson—who will always see the other side of any argument.
Ira Stoll: Well, he invented Times-blogging, to be sure. Also, will make sure he catches all those pesky moments when the Times refers to Palestinians as human beings.
Rachel Marsden: Once this Fox babe starts following something, she doesn't quit!
Jesse Oxfeld: We placed the former Gawker editor on this list because it must be killing him to see Spiers' name put forth for the gig. Also, pretty much every Times article makes us say "Oy!" and it would be great to see that sentiment acknowledged in the paper itself. Is always willing to go boldly to press with his original thesis untarnished by any sort of later-forthcoming information.
Maer Roshan: The serial Radar reviver has worked at every magazine that matters in this town. He knows where the bodies are buried. Even better, he has plenty of experience with projects that last for a year or less. The only downside with this choice is the whole "under 40" thing.
Byron "Dan" Worthington III: We know for a fact that the Gawker ombudsman would love to leave Gawker as soon as humanly possible. He promises he will go easy on Times reporters in every case brought before him. You know, just like Calame. Drop him a line, Keller, he wants out.
Your nominations? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, because we really don't give a shit.
The Next Times Public Editor [Slate]