Speaking to MediaGuardian.co.uk last week after he gave the Hugo Young memorial lecture, Keller said: “I don’t believe in panic and I don’t see any cause for panic.
“Obviously I see him as a competitor. But we compete with the Wall Street Journal now.
“By the nature of what the [New York] Times is, a newspaper that is defined largely by the breath of its ambition … we attempt to be a full service newspaper. We compete with everybody. And we are pretty good at it.”
Keller, who was appointed the paper’s executive editor in 2003, said that he did not want to sound “complacent or arrogant about a new competitor”.
“I don’t really know what he is going to do,” he said. “I don’t know Rupert Murdoch, he is a combative 76-year-old newspaper guy with a tabloid soul and more money than God.
“With those resources at this stage it looks like he will do whatever the hell he wants to do. I don’t think he is going to be constrained by some strategic planning consultant telling him what he can do. That makes him very hard to predict.”