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Photo by alextorrenegra / Flickr Creative Commons

The New York Times is removing the highly-visible and often controversial role of public editor, the Times' CEO Mark Thompson announced in an internal memo sent to staff Wednesday. The role was initially created in 2003 in the wake of a plagiarism scandal and has since been filled by six people. The position is currently held by Liz Spayd, whose last day with the paper will be Friday.

Why it matters: As noted by Thompson in his memo, the role of an internal watchdog across many newsrooms has outgrown its original purpose due to the rise of alternative fact-checking outlets in the digital and social media age. While most major national papers had a public editor at some point, many have since removed the position, citing an outdated reason for its existence. The Washington Post, for example, removed the role of public ombudsman in 2013 in replace of a reader representative.

Update: In an article published later Wednesday, The Times says it will also offer buyouts to its newsroom employees, with the hope of peeling back the layers editing they've long championed as a part of its editorial process. This is part of a strategic direction that The Times announced earlier this year to do less with more and focus on digital innovation.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
5 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”