New York Times editor to discuss last 10 years

By J. Ferguson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 10, 2005

A former UA journalism professor will offer his thoughts on the major events of the last decade from his perspective as an editor at The New York Times.

Ford Burkhart, a staff editor on the foreign desk at the Times, plans to give a speech titled "Bulldogs and Blurbs: A Decade on The New York Times Desks" at noon in the Copper Room in the Student Union Memorial Center.

Burkhart, who retired from the department of journalism in the mid-1990s to take a job at the Times, will offer students a close-up, inside view of one of the most influential newspapers the world, which is part of the New York Times Company, a media conglomerate that owns several newspapers and 35 Web sites.

The one-hour speech will discuss the sometimes intense arguments made for the prominent portions of the Sunday edition, which Burkhart describes as a frantic struggle, with articles appearing and disappearing and shouts of "Azerbaijan holds and Bali comes out front."

Burkhart has been a Times staff editor since 1996, working in virtually every department but always returning to the foreign desk.

Jim Patten, the former journalism department head who worked with Burkhart in the '80s and '90s, said the speech is good opportunity to hear about the important national and international events from the vantage point of a Times editor.

Kristen Cook, an assistant features editor at the Arizona Daily Star, said she remembered a class she took with Burkhart that had no textbooks and relied solely on his lectures.

Cook said she remembers Burkhart as a deeply passionate man who offered lectures for every class without notes, reciting anecdotes from memory. She said when in his class, she had to be a timekeeper, as Burkhart often lost track of time while talking during the lecture.