The New York Times has almost always had a strong media desk, given the newspaper’s location. However, the media desk has taken a hit recently due to numerous departures. The departures have come because of employees going to a different company (Brian Stelter), taking a buyout (Bill Carter, among others), or passing away (David Carr). This has led to the media desk being one-third of its peak of sixteen editors and reporters. Following Carr’s death, Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote about rebuilding the media desk.
On Thursday, Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Deputy Business Editor Peter Lattman announced several moves to replenish talent at the media desk. Media desk deputy editor Bill Brink was promoted to editor and Connor Ennis was named his deputy. In addition, John Koblin was named to the television beat that Carter used to hold.
Read the full memo:
Trending Today: Our Media desk on the rise
Brian Williams. Bill O’Reilly. Sony. The Buzzfeed dress. Our media report is fast-paced and unrelenting, at once both cutting-edge and deeply thoughtful. And it has long been central to The Times’s business and cultural coverage, a signature topic for us that has attracted the best and the brightest.
So it is with great excitement that we announce our first round of additions to the media desk, as we rebuild after the buyouts and the death of David Carr:
Bill Brink becomes media editor. Bill has helped lead the media team since the fall of 2011 as a deputy, working closely with Bruce Headlam and Peter Lattman in driving some of the desk’s most important stories, including News Corp. phone hacking, Sony computer hacking and Bloomberg terminal snooping. He also regularly edited David Carr’s “Media Equation” column. Reporters love Bill because of his big brain, deft hands and preternatural patience. And though he always appears eerily calm, nobody gets more excited about a breaking story. Prior to his joining the media desk, Bill worked as BizDay’s weekend editor and also spent years in sports covering Super Bowls, World Series and the Olympics. In the very early days of our transition to digital journalism, he led the continuous news department, while also serving a stint as managing editor of our erstwhile sports magazine – Play — a finalist in 2008 for a National Magazine Award for general excellence.
Connor Ennis moves from BizDay’s weekend editor to become Bill’s deputy. Connor joined BizDay in 2013 and has made great strides in elevating the Monday report so that it is both a distinctive read and visually compelling. In recent months, he has championed our continued experimentation with the “Week Ahead” feature, which is now being sent as a push-alert to subscribers. Connor spent 8 years as a Sports backfielder and copy editor (though clearly brethren in sporting spirit, Connor and Bill did not overlap there). Another of his real loves is books and publishing, so this new assignment falls in the “meant-to-be” category.
John Koblin steps in as our television reporter. John has worked the past year for Styles, where he has covered the fashion industry, writing memorable stories on the uneasy relationship between the fashion world and Mayor Bill de Blasio after its 12-year love affair with Mike Bloomberg; on the restaurants, blow bars and nail salons that were plotting to follow Conde Nast downtown; and his recent piece on the tumultuous events leading to the change of designers at Gucci. Prior to joining The Times, John was well known for his stellar media reporting at Deadspin (where he exposed multiple shenanigans at ESPN), WWD (where he was the first to report that Bill Keller was stepping down as executive editor) and The New York Observer (where he got way deep inside Condé Nast). Stuart Emmrich writes, “John has been a transformational figure in our coverage of fashion, helping us to make it more newsy, more aggressive and less insular. That coverage didn’t always make him a lot of friends in the fashion world. But it did gain him a lot of admirers — including his colleagues in Styles.”
Sydney Ember takes on the advertising and marketing beat. A former analyst at BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory group, Sydney has spent the last year writing DealBook’s morning newsletter, a daily exercise that has her up at 4:30 a.m. synthesizing financial news pouring in from around the globe. In her spare time, she has written stories for both DealBook and the media desk, including a series of insightful articles on bitcoin. Now Sydney will help us make sense of the profound and complex changes in the advertising business, from the rise of ad tech to the dramatic shift of marketers’ ad dollars to mobile and social. The media desk has had its eye on Sydney since 2010, when as a student at Brown she helped David Carr with his blockbuster story on the Tribune Company.
Sarah Lyall adds media targets to her portfolio of enterprise stories that she has been writing for Sports, Culture and other desks since returning to New York from London in 2013. Sarah is one of the finest and most engaging writers in the building, with an eye for both the unusual and compelling. She will bring her narrative storytelling to a range of media subjects for Sunday Business, Culture and the daily report.
Stay tuned. More to come!
Dean and Peter