Katy Roberts: High-ranking editor at The New York Times

'74 Kresge College, politics graduate, editor and columnist

May 19, 2011

By Andrea Cohen 

Katy Roberts

Currently the commentary editor, nytimes.com, New York Times, Katy Roberts has held a wide range of top positions in her long career with The New York Times (she has worked for The Times since 1982). She was editor of The Times's Op-Ed page from 1995 to 2000. She was named National Editor in 2000 and helped direct the paper's coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She was the editor of the "Sunday Week in Review" section for five years, and has also been a story editor for The New York Times Magazine covering foreign affairs. Roberts recently joined the digital side of The Times, to oversee commentary projects, most notably the creation of the Room for Debate discussion site. Before joining The Times, Roberts worked for The Minneapolis Star, where she was deputy opinion page editor and an editorial columnist.

Roberts says that she draws on her UCSC liberal arts background every day in her work, a field where critical thinking is crucial and learning is never-ending. Over the years, she has had to become a temporary expert in subjects as diverse as land-use policy, space shuttle technology, Nicaraguan dynasties, immigrant health care, and Afghan ethnic groups. "I did my undergraduate work at UC Santa Cruz, and my graduate work at The New York Times," says Roberts. "It's been a continuing education."

Roberts went to high school in Rialto, Calif., in the San Bernardino area, at a time when even top students were lucky to go to college. Her mother was a widow, and her family struggled financially. "UC Santa Cruz gave me the foundation for a life I could never have dreamed of. I know that students now will say the same thing, when they look back in 35 years."

Roberts was the recipient of the 2000-01 Alumni Achievement Award.

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