Sunday, February 21, 2010

NYT Names Gay Man as National Editor

Is the culture war in America regarding gay men over, or just in a lull?

I would expect some skirmishing from right-wing pundits and other cultural warriors about one of the world's most influential newspapers, the New York Times, appointing out gay man and assistant editor Richard L. Berke (above), to become the national editor next month.

In the same vein, so far, gay cultural war orgs -- HRC, GLAAD, NGLTF -- have been as quiet as their conservative counterparts.

So far, Googling news sites, blogs and the web, turns up nothing from either liberals or conservatives about this former reporter, who just happens to be gay, ascending to the national desk's editor's chair. Even the comments at the Times' Media Decoder blog omit anything about his gay identity.

If there's anything out there about this development, send me the link, and I'll amend this post.

The Times made the announcement on Friday, and a story about the personnel changes appeared in the Saturday A-section of the national dead-tree edition, and shared a bio sketch on the new national editor:

Mr. Berke has covered Congress, the White House and four presidential campaigns for The Times. He was the national political correspondent for more than a decade and the Washington editor for three years before moving to New York in 2005.

A graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Mr. Berke joined The Times in 1986, after working as a reporter at The Baltimore Evening Sun, The Minneapolis Tribune and The Los Angeles Herald Examiner.

No mention was made about him being gay, which is a good thing these days. I wouldn't expect the Times to tell readers about a staffer's race or gender, when such personal characteristics have no bearing on his ability to do the job he's been assigned. But I would expect pundits and advocacy orgs to weigh in with an opinion or two.

Berke begins his new duties on March 22, and I, speaking as both a reader and an NYT shareholder who owns a single share, expect there will no changes in how the paper covers all of the news, including coverage of LGBT people.

On the other hand, you can bet lots of queens will soon be calling the paper the Gay Lady!


DavidEhrenstein said...

I don't hink they're not mentioning his being gay is good. But then the NYT is nothing more than a two-bit scandal sheet to begin with (see it's non-stories about Paterson) and its out gays (like Ben Brantley) are fucking clueless when it comes to gay issues.

Anonymous said...

Rick is known to many DC folks. Nice guy, was on Gwen Ifil's show a few times. Very professional and super smart.