Photojournalists under David Furst felt ‘set up to fail’

Years of complaints from colleagues and freelancers preceded the recent departure of a New York Times photo editor

The New York Times quietly parted ways with international picture editor David Furst in April after an investigation into his treatment of colleagues and freelancers, leaving many at the paper asking why his departure had taken so long.

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David Furst, who served as international picture editor at the New York Times, had power. And he misused it.

Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for the Times, told the Erik Wemple Blog via email in April, “David Furst is no longer with The New York Times. As a general matter of policy, we do not comment on personnel matters.” Pressed further, the Times refused to answer all but the most basic questions and didn’t grant an interview request with a manager to discuss standard practices for assigning and editing photojournalism, inviting emailed questions instead. The institutional reticence may stem from the public tussles of previous months on the personnel front: When it commented on the departures of freelance editor Lauren Wolfe and longtime science reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr., the newspaper dug deeper public-relations trenches for itself.