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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Perhaps the principal difference now is that I probably discuss these matters at greater length, and we go into quite a little discussion individually, each editor, usually. This is not always the case; quite frequently it's very brief also. But I would say that my conferences do tend to be longer than those conducted by Mr. Merz (famous for his brevity) and that's about the only difference. I am more inclined to talk things out.

Occasionally, I have in the last year, since I've been in my present job, which began in April of '61, I have had full conferences, but in every case, I think, they have been in order to permit a foreign or Washington correspondent of the Times to come in and talk for 15 or 20 minutes or so to the assembled Board of Editors and then to be asked questions--so that we've had a totally different kind of conference when we've had these conferences. And we've had a number of those. And, in fact, I will continue to have those as correspondents come through. And this is something that hadn't been done.

But as far as arranging the editorial page goes, it's entirely now done just through the individual discussions.


When you say you discuss what they're going to write about that day, have they been assigned a topic by you?


They are assigned a topic by me, that is correct. But, naturally, each man is interested in a certain broad field and he will propose topics that are in his field, and the topics I would propose to him would be in his field. “Assigned” may have certain connotations that would be misleading. No man on the Times Editorial Board, in my entire

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