NYT expanding standards department to work with opinion section

The New York Times is expanding its standards department to include having it work directly with the newspaper's opinion section, according to a memo from top editors at the paper.

In an email this week to staff, editor-in-chief Dean Baquet, Opinion editor James Bennet and managing editor Joe Kahn said that standards editor Phil Corbett will "formally work with and advise the Opinion department in addition to the newsroom," Vice reported. The full message is now posted on the Times's website.

"While our news and opinion journalists will continue to have separate, distinct missions, their work is rooted in common standards for accuracy, fairness and integrity," the statement reads. "Phil will work with the three of us to take on this role while ensuring we maintain our strict separation between our news and opinion journalism."

Though the columns that run in the opinion section of any publication are not meant to reflect the views of the publication itself or its journalists, the Times has repeatedly faced criticism for its vetting process and choice of columnists.

Late last year, the Times's Opinion section faced backlash after publishing a column titled "The Secrets of Jewish Genius," by Bret Stephens, which appeared to make the argument that Ashkenazi Jews are genetically superior. 

It also drew scrutiny earlier in the year after a political cartoon that included anti-Semitic tropes was published in the international print edition of the newspaper. The Opinion section later apologized for the image.

Most recently, the editorial board has faced criticism for its decision to endorse two candidates - Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) - in the Democratic presidential primary instead of choosing one, as is standard.

The Times did not provide further comment on the changes.

Updated: 12:30 p.m.