New York Times Names Cliff Levy to a Top Editing Role

The New York Times announced a return to its newsroom leadership team on Wednesday with the elevation of its metro editor, Clifford J. Levy.

Mr. Levy, 53, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, has led the metro desk since 2018. He was previously a deputy managing editor overseeing The Times’s online platforms and had worked as a Moscow bureau chief and investigative reporter.

In a note to the newsroom on Wednesday, Dean Baquet, the executive editor, and Joseph Kahn, the managing editor, said Mr. Levy would temporarily advise the audio department, the home of the podcast “The Daily,” before taking on a broader role. The audio department is overseen by Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor and a member of the Sulzberger family that controls The Times, and Lisa Tobin.

The promotion of Mr. Levy comes a month after The Times issued a correction for “Caliphate,” a 12-part audio series that sought to shed light on the Islamic State. In an editors’ note, The Times said the podcast had given too much credence to the false or exaggerated account of one of its main subjects, Shehroze Chaudhry, a Canadian who claimed to have taken part in Islamic State atrocities. On the day the note was published, Mr. Baquet described the problems with “Caliphate” as “an institutional failing,” saying its errors should not be blamed on “any one reporter.”

“I or somebody else should have provided that same kind of scrutiny, because it was a big, ambitious piece of journalism,” Mr. Baquet said, in a December interview with Michael Barbaro, the host of “The Daily.” “And I did not provide that kind of scrutiny, nor did my top deputies with deep experience in examining investigative reporting.”

In their note on Wednesday, Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn said, “Cliff will spend the coming weeks getting to know the rhythms of ‘The Daily’ and the broader audio team and will then help Sam, Lisa and the masthead more fully integrate the audio department’s day-to-day operation into the broader newsroom.”

“Among his focuses will be developing new procedures to vet ambitious audio series,” the note continued.

“The Daily” has become central to The Times, with four million listeners every weekday.

Times editors who hold the title of deputy managing editor or assistant managing editor belong to the top tier of newsroom leaders, known in newsroom parlance as senior masthead editors because their names appear at the top of Page A2 of the print edition along with the publisher, A. G. Sulzberger, and Mr. Baquet.

The number of names on Page 2 has grown in recent months as Mr. Baquet, 64, approaches retirement age. Traditionally, top Times editors have left high-level posts before they turn 66.

Carolyn Ryan, who oversees newsroom recruitment, strategy and high-profile journalism, became a deputy managing editor in October. The promotion followed her stints in charge of the paper’s politics coverage, metro department and Washington bureau.

With the return of Mr. Levy to the crew, the paper has five deputy managing editors. The others are Rebecca Blumenstein, Steve Duenes and Matthew Purdy.

Mr. Kahn, the managing editor, is second to Mr. Baquet on the Times masthead. In December, the national editor, Marc Lacey, was promoted to a masthead position, assistant managing editor, becoming one of seven journalists who hold that title. In the new role, Mr. Lacey is in charge of live news coverage.

During Mr. Levy’s time in charge of metro coverage, The Times won a Pulitzer Prize for a series by Brian M. Rosenthal that exposed predatory loans and other problems in the New York City taxi industry. Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn said in their note on Wednesday that the search for a new metro editor was under way.

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