NEW YORK -- Nearly a year after losing his job as executive editor of The New York Times, Howell Raines is defending his efforts to shake up the newspaper's culture and sharply criticizing the paper's review of its own practices following the Jayson Blair scandal.
In a 23-page article that appears in the May issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Raines details events leading up to his resignation last June while defending the "revitalization strategy" that he and his top deputies were pursuing.
An advance copy of the article was given to reporters yesterday. The issue goes on sale April 6.
Of a review the newspaper conducted following the Blair fiasco, Raines said the report "shows an institution in denial."
"The committee had broadened its inquiry beyond Jayson Blair to include questions of newsroom management and communication, but its conclusions were a hymn to the old status quo," Raines wrote.
In what he called a "final service" for the Times, Raines accepted "full responsibility" for failing to catch Blair, the young reporter whose many acts of plagiarism and fabrication brought humiliation to the newspaper and set off a series of events that included Raines's resignation.
Former Times managing editor Gerald Boyd also stepped down in the aftermath of the scandal, which exposed deep rifts within the Times's newsroom.
"When Jayson Blair's violations became public, I had no reservoir of good will on which to draw," Raines wrote. "I had underestimated the intensity of staff unrest."
Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said in a statement: "In his article in The Atlantic Monthly, Mr. Raines calls the Times `indispensable' and `irreplaceable.' We agree. And this is due to the inspired work of Times men and women over decades."
She declined to comment further.
Raines, who worked at the Times for 25 years, also was critical of publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who had asked for his resignation. He said Sulzberger's father, former publisher "Punch" Sulzberger, "in his prime would never have thrown over one of his executive editors under the pressure of employees who didn't like the editor personally or who disagreed with a legitimate strategy for reinvigorating the Times' journalism."