Tuesday afternoon, Sam Sifton announced on Twitter that he was stepping down as The New York Times's food critic to become the paper's new national editor. He added a hashtag: #checkplease. The Times announced the news a few minutes later with an excerpt from newly annointed exectutive editor Jill Abramson. "Sam Sifton will be our new National editor," wrote Abramson. From his star runs at Dining and Culture, we all know that Sam is a superb editor who brings infectious energy and a host of original ideas, digital and print, to everything he touches. Correspondents and critics adore him." The full memo also announcing Adam Bryant as the paper's new Senior Editor for Features is below.
Sifton is just the latest bold high-level editorial staff adjustment made by new executive editor Jill Abramson, who took over as the paper's executive editor this month. WWD's John Koblin reported a rumor that Sifton was in the running for the job last week and hinted at the idea that hunger (pun intended) gets you further than experience in the new Times newsroom. "Sifton has been the restaurant critic for just two years and has had no experience as a national reporter or editor." Koblin wrote. "But one Times source said that Sifton 'would make the leap in a minute--he has much greater career ambitions than to be restaurant critic.'" And as our own Adam Martin points out, there are a bunch of foodies who won't miss him.
Abramson's full memo:
Sam Sifton will be our new National editor. From his star runs at Dining and Culture, we all know that Sam is a superb editor who brings infectious energy and a host of original ideas, digital and print, to everything he touches. Correspondents and critics adore him. So who better to fill the shoes of Rick Berke? Sam’s background here isn’t hard news, but we all saw the newsiness and urgency he brought to the Culture report. He takes over a superb desk that flawlessly handles the fastest-breaking and challenging news stories. This will be very sad news to his devoted fans as our brilliant dining critic, but Sam, a lover of regional food, looks forward to dining adventures with the National correspondents. It will be thrilling to watch him apply his editing and writing talents to the National report.
Adam Bryant will be Senior Editor for Features, with his central focus reviving our How We Live group. I’ve long wanted to reconstitute the group as it existed in its early years with a cadre of strong reporters who aim for the front page and feature section fronts. How We Live is defined broadly and should connect to key areas of our news coverage, like joblessness, technology and family life. Adam, who has been the graceful hands behind some of our most important national and business stories over the last years, will work closely with Assistant Managing Editor Rick Berke, who oversees our features, in conceptualizing and editing sharp and grabby pieces across our sections and platforms.