New York Times

Richard J. Meislin, Times Editor and Web Journalism Pioneer, Dies at 68

For his part, Mr. Rosenthal denied any connection. “I knew Richard was gay when I sent him there,” he told Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post in 1992. “Do you think I sat down and said to the foreign editor, ‘I’m tired of him being a homosexual’?”

Mr. Meislin seized the opportunity presented by a return to headquarters. After a brief stint as a reporter, he became the graphics editor and set about increasing the number and the sophistication of charts, diagrams and other visual representations of information.

In that capacity he sent a prescient five-page memo in December 1993 to the executive editor, Max Frankel, and the managing editor, Joseph Lelyveld, arguing that little thought — and less news judgment — had gone into The Times’s first electronic product for the general public, @times on America Online, which was soon to be inaugurated.

“The New York Times is about to establish an online personality, both visual and verbal,” he wrote. “How we combine the various elements of the new medium, how we make information available to readers, how we interact with them personally — all will make huge differences in how we are regarded online.”

Seven months later, Mr. Lelyveld appointed him senior editor for information and technology.

Mr. Meislin was named the editor in chief of The New York Times Electronic Media Company, later called New York Times Digital, in 1998; the editor of news technology in 2001; the editor of news surveys and election analysis in 2003; the associate managing editor for internet publishing in 2005; and an internet publishing consultant in 2008.

Throughout many of those years he was a high-profile member of The Times’s Gay and Lesbian Caucus, which was formed in the 1990s to ensure that L.G.B.T.Q. people and issues were covered thoroughly in The Times and that, as employees, they were treated fairly.

In recent years, he was responsible for the graphic design and marketing of Hudson Dermatology, Dr. Uyttendaele’s group practice in the Hudson River Valley. The couple wed on Oct. 2, 2011. It was the 20th anniversary of their first meeting.

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