The two reviewers were obeying a new Times policy paper called the "Ethical Journalism Code of Conduct," according to the New York Post. The guide prohibits Times scribes from belonging to any award-giving body. The Gray Lady has long been anxious about avoiding real and seeming conflicts of interest. Before Brantley rose to the position of chief theatre critic, Times drama reviewers did not take part in the New York Drama Critics Circle. However, that policy was reversed; for the last few years, Brantley and Weber have been members.
Charles Isherwood of Variety was recently named new president of the circle, following outgoing head Michael Sommers of Newhouse Newspapers. Sommers will become vice-president. New inductees include David Cote of Time Out New York, Jeremy McCarter of the New York Sun and Barbara Phillips of the Wall Street Journal.
The NYDCC included critics from the city's major newspapers and magazines. It has been awarding a prize for best play since 1936.