September 30, 2022

Allan M. Siegal, Influential Watchdog Inside The Times, Dies at 82

In 2003, in the aftermath of a scandal in which the fabrications of a reporter, Jayson Blair, led to the fall of the newsroom’s top two managers, Mr. Siegal headed an internal committee that reviewed the paper’s ethical and organizational practices.

Among its recommendations was the creation of a new job: standards editor. Mr. Siegal was the first to be named to the position, adding the title to that of assistant managing editor, a post he held from 1987 until his retirement in 2006. At the time, his name had been listed among the paper’s top editors on the masthead, which appeared on the editorial page, more than twice as long as anyone else’s.

Max Frankel, the executive editor who promoted Mr. Siegal to assistant managing editor, called him “a shining symbol of the career of an inside man.”

“Elevating him was intended to serve notice that there is a distinguished career available at The Times for non-reporters,” Mr. Frankel added, in an interview for this obituary in 2005. “It was a peculiar form of affirmative action, but he was superbly qualified.

“I used to call him ‘Pooh-Bah,’” Mr. Frankel continued. “He had seven or eight portfolios that dominated every aspect of the production of The Times, the output of news, and all the rules and regulations — drawers full of contracts with the business side as to how much space we got, and how we filled it, and where the ads went. The whole design and structure of the paper was in his hands.”

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