For the first time since I became public editor, the executive editor and the publisher have declined to respond to my requests for information about news-related decision-making.

I see transparency as a default position for all those who want to do good journalism. I simply am not sure what the right degree of transparency is, and my not being sure is really a product of my some nine months now as the public editor at the Times.

I have had unusual difficulty getting a better explanation for readers, despite the paper's repeated pledges of greater transparency.

These two changes are profoundly altering the role of confidential sources.