Reconsidering Calame

I’ve been critical of Barney Calame, the Times outgoing obmudsman, but as he ends his tenure, I do want to acknowledge that he did become more aggressive taking on the paper’s missteps and it’s fascinating that he’s critical of his own writing. The ombud ombudding himself:

“If I could write the way Dan Okrent could write, I think some of the things I wanted to say would have penetrated the readership of the Times better,” Calame said during a phone conversation from his Manhattan apartment. “I think it could have been done much better, the writing, conceptualizing of how you told a story. I am simply not that good of a writer.”

Here‘s Calame’s own clear-eyed assessment of his tenure.

By the way, in two weeks, I’m going to the annual gathering of ombudsmen to be on a panel about — what else? — blogging. I’ll be blogging from there.

  • Charles Riepe

    I am sorry to say Calame was a sorry Public Editor. Compared to Okrent who took his job seriously, to borrow a phrase from British journalism, Calame was Pinch’s Poodle. Clearly, after Okrent Pinch/Bill did not want a hard-nosed Public Editor, rather the appearance of having one. Compare Okrent’s and Calame’s exit columns. Okrent’s containing criticism of subjects left undone, i.e., Krugman’s statisical distortions, and Calame’s weak, “Gee, I could have done more.” No mention of Keller stonewalling his questions on leaking national security secrets.