OLD Media Moves

An ode to NYT’s biz desk editor Keith Leighty

November 19, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

P.J. Joshi, a news editor for the New York Times‘ Dealbook, wrote the following about business desk night editor Keith Leighty, who died Sunday from brain cancer:

Keith was promoted to night editor in August 2008, just as the financial crisis was about to hit in full force. His calm demeanor under pressure and ability to multitask were critical in the desk’s navigation of the many late nights (and long days) that came after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the months of turmoil that followed.

“No matter how hectic the news was, no matter how harried his colleagues were and no matter how many times BizDay reporters pushed deadlines to, and beyond, the limits, Keith was unflappable,” recalls Larry Ingrassia, who as business editor promoted Keith to the job. “He would maybe raise an eyebrow as a sign that the story had to be filed NOW, not 30 seconds or one minute from now, but now. And it was. Editors like that don’t come along often.”

Keith joined The Times as a copy editor on BizDay in May 1999, and worked in various backfield posts, including editor of the World Business Page. He was an editor of DealBook when it was in its infancy.

A graduate of the University of Arizona, Keith previously worked as a reporter and editor at Reuters in Chicago and New York; as a reporter at The Associated Press in Chicago; at The Kingman Daily Miner in Kingman, Ariz.; and as the editor of The Mohave Valley Daily News in Bullhead City, Ariz.

In his spare time, Keith was eager to support the next generation of journalists. He was the professional adviser to The Washington Square News, the student newspaper at New York University. He was also a loyal New York Yankees fan and an umpire for various Little League teams in New York City.

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