This explanation demonstrates a lack of understanding of the role the public editor plays, offering not accountability but assurances that the paper is doing a great job and if it does fail, journalists at other outlets will be able to criticize its work. In a statement, the Times wrote that "the responsibility of the public editor - to serve as the reader's representative - has outgrown that one office". "One was the role of the public editor - I am the fifth - to give readers a direct place, independent of the Times' editing structure, to take complaints about journalistic integrity".
"The role, by definition, is a burr under the saddle for the powers that be", she said.
The Huffington Post noted Spayd's tenure was rocky, marred by both internal and external criticism, including for her remark that it'd be "disconcerting" if those with legitimate libel claims felt "too intimidated" to sue the paper, and for her criticism of the liberal-biased tweets of some Times' reporters.
It is not uncommon for the public editor to have a fraught relationship with Times journalists, but the criticism aimed at Spayd ran in contrast to the reception for her predecessor, Margaret Sullivan, now a columnist at the Washington Post.
Spayd did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
"The one thing the public editor can nearly always do is hold feet to the fire, and get an real answer out of management". "I did feel, while doing the job for nearly four years, that I served an important goal for the readership - and for The Times itself".
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, said in a separate memo that The Times would be eliminating the position of public editor.
The latest round of buyouts will be mostly offered to editors, as the Times seeks to shift the balance of editors to reporters, according to a memo filed with regulators from Dean Baquet, executive editor, and Joe Kahn, managing editor.