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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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experience and as far as I know in its entire history, has ever been asked or expected to write on anything that he didn't want to write on-by that I mean take a view or take a position that he did not believe in-and, in fact, he wouldn't be allowed to write such a piece, if he were willing to. We just don't operate that way, and I think this point should be made very clearly and explicitly that this has certainly been true all through my experience and, I believe, has been true certainly since Mr. Ochs bought the paper in 1896. I mean, I'm sure it has been true all the time.

The actual decision on the topic is made by the editor of the editorial page, namely by me. And quite often I will propose a topic that the editorial writer didn't think of, and vice versa, if I agree that his topic idea is better than one that I had in mind, I'll say, “Of course, go ahead and write on that.” This is done entirely in this kind of conversation.

Some of them write a couple a day, but the normal output is one editorial a day.

The decision, of course, is mine, and I take that decision very seriously because I have in mind, naturally, the interest of the topic, the diversity of topics on the page for any given day, the liveliness of the topic. And naturally underneath it all is the particular degree of competence that this particular editorial writer has in writing on this topic.


How many people do write editorials?


That question is impossible to answer the way you put it. We have an Editorial Board of about eight men whose full-time job is to write editorials, but a great many other

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