13 June 2003
Jane Galt puzzles over the question of why Howell Raines left The New York Times in such a big hurry despite perfoming precisely according to Pinch Sulzberger's desires, and reaches a conclusion:
[T]he consumer doesn't care. The market isn't reacting. Yet Raines was fired anyway. As far as I can see, his only real firing offense was embarrassing Pinch in front of other journalists, most of whom don't buy papers. And maybe making affirmative action look bad.
Of course, embarassing the boss has long been a sacking offense. But as any consultant will tell you, when episodes like that happen, the organization would usually do better to sack the boss.
Not that this is likely to happen at the Times or at any place I've ever worked, for that matter.
And whether you believe that blogs killed Howell Raines (a nice thought, but more than a trifle overblown, I think) or that he was brought down by simple hubris, it seems clear to me that the Times, at least for the short haul, is better off without him.