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'NYT' Public Editor: 2 Top Editors There Disagree on 'Lolita' Photo Spread.

A column by Clark Hoyt, the public editor for The New York Times, on Sunday, explored the paper's popular "T" fashion magazine and its decision to publish on Dec. 2 a photo spread featuring a 17-year-model (who appears even younger) in highly "sexualized" poses. Hoyt noted that a number of readers were very disturbed by it, while the magazine's editor defended the edgy display.

But by the end, he had also found a rare public disagreement between two top editors at the paper, Bill Keller and Craig Whitney. Here's how he closed the column, which is now available in the public editor section at*

Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, approved the photo spread in what appears to have been an offhand way. He believes he was shown the entire holiday issue of T before it was locked in, with someone turning through the pages. Nobody pointed out the photos of Ali to suggest there might be a problem with them, and Keller said they "didn't register" with him. Nonetheless, he defended them. "I think that they are within bounds for an edgy fashion magazine published by The New York Times," he said.

Craig Whitney, the assistant managing editor in charge of maintaining Times standards, would have disagreed. Had the magazine been shown to him before it was published, he said, he would have called the photos to Keller's attention and recommended that they be deleted, "because I thought they were tawdry."

I think they were neither pornographic nor tawdry -- those terms go too far -- but I am with Whitney in believing that The Times made a mistake in publishing them. The problem with being edgy is that, sometimes, you fall over the edge.

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Author:Staff, E&P
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 17, 2007
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