New York Times Kansas City bureau chief and heir to the newspaper, A.G. Sulzberger, is heading east.
Times staffers were informed today in a memo:
I am delighted to tell you that Arthur G. Sulzberger, fresh from his adventures chasing tornadoes, small town gossips and Fast Eddie the fugitive across the Midwest, is coming home to Metro.
Arthur will join the desk as a backfielder early next month.
He first landed in Metro in 2009, when he joined the City Room team and threw himself into the blogging business with energy and imagination.
He blogged from aboard the U.S.S. New York as it made its way here from Norfolk, Va., in 2009. He live blogged the rainy 9/11 anniversary ceremony that same week.
Not all of his assignments were so somber: he also explored stories of alligators in the city’s sewer systems and handcrafted hoops on local basketball courts.
Arthur covered Brooklyn federal court in 2010, chronicling subway bombing plots, wrongful convictions and questionable conduct by the district attorney’s office.
He was then scooped up by National, where, as Sam Sifton said, “Arthur proved that opening a news bureau in Kansas City, Missouri, was not merely a good idea but a great one. He reveled in quirky, revealing stories (like an accounting of the last shop to process Kodachrome, or a profile of a man who, at 103, was the oldest still-serving federal judge in the country). But when big news came along, again and again he showed that there was no steadier hand on the desk.”
Arthur, who has a gift for spotting stories in hidden corners and bringing them to life on the page, will be overseeing a talented team of borough and courthouse reporters.
Please join me in welcoming him back. Sam will post the Kansas City job later today.
A backfielder, by the way, is an editor.
Sulzberger was able to do some superb work in his one+ year in Kansas City, from reporting the aftermath of the Joplin tornado to a feature on Lawrence’s Alferd Packer Memorial String Band’s annual Tax Day performance at the post office. His take on the lack of vegan options in the Midwest rankled many folks in the area, though, and some took it as a middle finger to middle America.
Nevertheless, the fact that the Times reincarnated its Kansas City bureau was an important sign that news here really matters. Here’s hoping Sulzberger’s replacement continues the work he started.