A former executive editor of the New York Times fielded questions about reporting on Sept. 11 and managing a plagiarism scandal during a talk at the University of Florida on Monday.

Howell Raines, who is now a contributing editor at Conde Nast Portfolio magazine, spoke before about 50 people about his career in journalism at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

Journalism Master Lecturer Mike Foley interviewed Raines for the free and public event, which reunited the men who worked together during the late 1970s at the St. Petersburg Times.

“Howell taught me many things when we worked together,” said Foley during opening comments.

Raines recounted stepping into the role of executive editor of The New York Times six days before the Sept. 11 attacks, saying playing a role in reporting such a historic event looms large in his career.

“Being a part of producing that paper is the peak experience of my professional life,” he said.

The work of gathering New Yorkers’ stories in the days after led reporters to tears, he said.

He added that putting together a daily newspaper is an intricate and complicated process.

“It’s like watching a Maserati being put together,” he said.

Foley asked Raines to discuss the Jayson Blair scandal, in which a Times reporter was found to have plagiarized and fabricated national stories.

Raines said his immediate response was to have reporters report the Jayson Blair story for the sake of the paper.

“I assigned them to investigate every aspect of the Jayson Blair episode,” he said. Read More