Hitting the Road — but Not Just Yet

By Margaret Sullivan

The New York Times

David Weinberger, who writes and thinks about technology’s effect on ideas, famously wrote in 2009 that “transparency is the new objectivity.”

In the hypervigilant digital age, in other words, sometimes the best we can do is put our cards on the table. Toward that end, I want to tell Times readers about my plans for the next few months.

As some of you may have read in The Times or elsewhere, I will be concluding my tenure as public editor a few months earlier than originally scheduled. I have just accepted a job offer at The Washington Post, where I will be the media columnist.

I will move from New York City to Washington to start work there in May, and will finish up at The Times in April. (My four-year contract with The Times was due to expire in August; and, although I am leaving early, I have been in the role longer than any of my predecessors, most of whom stayed for two years or less.)

In the weeks ahead, I’ll still be doing the job of representing Times readers to the best of my ability. Some of that involves responding individually to the large amount of reader email that my assistant and I receive every day. And I’ll write a few more columns, as well, though perhaps not at quite the same pace I’ve been keeping. There are some subjects on my ever-changing list that I want to get to before leaving, and a few that I will want to revisit.

If an issue arises involving The Washington Post, my plan is to inform The Times’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and to recuse myself, handing the matter off to The Times’s standards editor and other top editors.

I’m glad that I’ll be able to continue writing about the issues that I care so much about — the crucial role of the press in our democracy, journalistic standards and ethics, and more. I’ve been very touched by some of the comments from readers in recent weeks that encouraged me to keep writing about these issues in my next professional chapter. I’m planning to do just that.

Here is Mr. Sulzberger’s memo to staff announcing my departure, and the plans for selecting a new Times public editor. The Times has affirmed its commitment to continuing the position. And here is a memo from The Washington Post describing my new job.

Please know what a privilege it has been to represent Times readers, who feel passionately and communicate eloquently about their newspaper, and want it held to the highest possible standards.

This column was originally published in The New York Times on 24 Feb. 2016.

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