Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Baron's stock soars. Boston Globe editor Marty Baron is staying put, he tells his own paper's Mark Jurkowitz and the Boston Herald's Greg Gatlin. Baron's statement should put an end to speculation that he'll be brought to New York to serve as managing editor under newly named executive editor Bill Keller.

But Baron's stock is clearly at an all-time high. He and Los Angeles Times managing editor Dean Baquet were the only two outsiders who were seriously mentioned as possible successors to Howell Raines, who resigned in the aftermath of the Jayson Blair scandal. (Not that they were true outsiders, having both worked as editors at the NY Times.)

Both Jurkowitz and Gatlin quote Baron as saying all the right things about Keller. But the reverse is also true. In 2001, shortly after Baron had been named editor of the Globe, Keller told me that he had become a Baron fan during Baron's stint in New York.

Saying he had recommended Baron "enthusiastically" both to Globe publisher Richard Gilman and Times Company chairman Arthur Sulizberger Jr., Keller commented: "He's an editor of terrific judgment and integrity. I'm partial to editors who tell you what they think without nursing some political agenda, and Marty did that while he was here."

Yesterday's announcement marks quite a reversal of fortune for Keller, who was passed over in favor of Raines two years ago. To be sure, Keller had carved out a great job for himself, writing both a column for the op-ed page and long pieces for the Times Magazine. But there's no doubt he wanted the top job.

He could have dealt himself out of the running several years ago when, during his stint as Times managing editor under Joseph Lelyveld, he was asked whether he would ever consider taking the editor's position at the Globe. He said no. Months later, when Globe editor Matt Storin retired, the spot went to Baron instead.

Now, not only is Keller right where he wants to be, but Baron is in an ideal position: editing the Globe, publicly identified as a hot property, and with someone with whom he has a good relationship running the Times.

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