Stop the presses: NY Times editor reads blogs

Stop the presses: NY Times editor reads blogs
: NY Times Executive Editor Bill Keller tells Howard Kurtz that, yes, he reads weblogs:

One striking thing about Keller’s style is that he doesn’t dismiss criticism of the paper out of hand. “I look at the blogs. . . . Sometimes I read something on a blog that makes me feel we screwed up. A lot of times I read things that strike me as ill-tempered and ill-informed.”

Perhaps the best example of Keller’s open-mindedness toward outside critics is his choice for the Times’s first public editor. He picked former Life managing editor Daniel Okrent, whom he had never met, rather than a Times veteran.

“Maybe we were a little too closed off to how the world sees us. . . . The more I interviewed people, the more I realized it would be more interesting to listen to someone who hadn’t grown up in our culture,” Keller says. Over time, he admits, “I may want to eat those words, or the staff may want to shove them down my throat.”

We’ll see that excerpt all over weblogs today. But there shouldn’t be anything surprising about this. A good reporter or editor should want to know what’s happening out there and should want to find new sources of information and read criticism.

The big news would be if he did not read blogs.

Now what would be more impressive is if you saw Keller et al leaving a comment or two on weblogs to enter into a dialogue. Because — repeat after me — news is a conversation.