The New York Times announced this afternoon that Frank Bruni will fill a new anchor spot in Sunday's Op-Ed section. This makes Bruni the first openly gay writer to hold such a position in the paper's 160-year history. Bruni began his diverse and celebrated career in 1990 as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, where a profile of a child molester earned him a Pulitzer nod for feature writing. After joining the Times in 1995, Bruni held just about every cool-sounding job title at the paper including political reporter in the DC bureau, Rome bureau chief, chief restaurant critic and writer at large for the New York Times Magazine. Bruni's new role will feature a column for the Sunday Times described in a staff memo by Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal as, "a sharp, opinionated look at a big event of the last week, from a different or unexpected angle, or a small event that was really important but everyone seems to have missed, or something entirely different."
Bruni beats out several other popular Times writers like David Carr and Virginia Heffernan for the opinion page columnist job. Based on his reputation for being a versatile, energetic and inevitably opinionated writer, though, the choice makes sense. (This restaurant review can qualify all three of those adjectives.) When asked by the Poynter Institute about the challenges of changing beats so often in his two decade career, Bruni's answer sounds almost like it could've come out of an interview for his new job.
I wouldn’t say that writing about different topics is a challenge. More an opportunity — or a sign of a short and fickle attention span. I think journalists who write well and with great depth about one genre or topic face a greater challenge than those like me who wander and mix it up, because they’re expected to convey a higher degree of authority, and they have to keep breathing fresh life into a subject with certain parameters. The fact that my bosses have let me explore different areas is a privilege, not a challenge.
In addition to his work at the Times, Bruni is the author of Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush and Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater, a personal memoir which he described soberly to Stephen Colbert.
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