Kathleen Kingsbury Is Named New York Times Opinion Editor

She spent seven months as the section’s interim head after replacing James Bennet, who resigned under pressure. Now she officially takes a job that has been a steppingstone to the top editor position at The Times.

By Marc Tracy

Kathleen Kingsbury, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has led the editorial page of The New York Times on an interim basis since June, officially became the newspaper’s opinion editor on Friday, the company said.

Ms. Kingsbury, 41, will oversee a department of more than 100 staff members responsible for unsigned editorials, Op-Eds, the weekly Sunday Review section, and podcasts like “Sway” and “The Argument.” Two past editorial page editors, Howell Raines and Max Frankel, went on to run the Times newsroom as executive editors immediately after holding the job.

Ms. Kingsbury, who grew up in Portland, Ore., joined The Times as deputy editorial page editor in 2017 after an eight-year stint at The Boston Globe. There she served as managing editor for digital and won a Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing for a series on the mistreatment of restaurant workers. She took over The Times’s opinion section on an acting basis after the resignation of its previous head, James Bennet.

Mr. Bennet, who had been seen as a candidate to succeed Dean Baquet as The Times’s executive editor, left after the publication of an Op-Ed essay by Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, arguing for the deployment of troops in response to civil unrest. More than 800 staff members signed a letter in protest of the Op-Ed, and The Times appended an Editors’ Note to the essay stating that it “fell short of our standards and should not have been published.”

In a note to Times employees on Friday, A.G. Sulzberger, the paper’s publisher, said Ms. Kingsbury had “superbly led the Opinion team these last few months" and praised her “wide-ranging intellect” and “passion for exploring the ideas and arguments shaping the world today.”

The Times’s opinion journalism is scrutinized by readers, and its essays often kick off days of rancorous back-and-forths on social media. Last January, Ms. Kingsbury found herself at the center of debate after overseeing The Times’s dual endorsement of Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic presidential primary race. Some commentators accused The Times of ducking the job of making a clear pick.

The unconventional endorsement was featured on an episode of the TV series “The Weekly” that gave significant screen time to Ms. Kingsbury. In an episode of “The Argument,” Ms. Kingsbury defended the endorsement, saying it reflected an editorial board torn between the progressive Ms. Warren and the moderate Ms. Klobuchar.

“This really felt to me the most journalistic and intellectually honest result, as well as the endorsement that is going to be the most useful for a wider range of voters,” Ms. Kingsbury said on the podcast.

In a note to the opinion staff on Friday, Ms. Kingsbury said, “Opinion is and will be a place where our audiences will hear from those with whom they agree and disagree.”

The “opinion editor” job title is something new at The Times. When Mr. Bennet came aboard in 2016, the post was called editorial page editor. The new name reflects the fact that the role has long involved more than overseeing what appears on the editorial page in the print newspaper’s A section.

Katie Robertson contributed reporting.

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