Nearly two years after stepping down as New York Times restaurant critic, Sam Sifton is now officially returning to the dining beat. NYT executive editor Jill Abramson announced today that Sifton is leaving his post as national editor to take on two new projects as a senior editor. And, according to Romenesko, one of these projects will be "a new dining news product" that Abramson's memo emphasizes will be "separate from our current dining report and section led so expertly by Susan Edgerley."
There's not any detail about what this new dining news product might be — though perhaps it's worth noting that the New York Times dining blog Diner's Journal hasn't posted in three days — but Eater has reached out to Sifton, so stay tuned. Beyond that, Sifton's other project will be to create a digital magazine "in the tradition of Snow Fall," the Pulitzer Prize-winning interactive multimedia feature story. Abramson announced a few other staff shuffles in her memo, but here's the Sifton-relevant portion:
The push continues. Sam Sifton has agreed to leave his post as national editor, where he has so expertly guided our coverage of immense national upheaval to become a senior editor and the creative mind in charge of two new ventures. In all of his editing roles, as well as in his writing, Sam has been an inventive and inspiring creator of the best digital journalism. (As culture editor, he was, among desk heads, one of our most forward thinking Web-first journalists).
His first assignment is to create an immersive digital magazine experience, a lean back read that will include new, multimedia narratives in the tradition of Snow Fall and last weekend's compelling account of the Arizona fire, as well as some of the best reads published during the previous week. As the new Need to Know project is aimed for quick and periodic dips into the news, the new digital magazine would be a need to read. (This is a different product from the Sunday magazine, where Hugo Lindgren has been unendingly creative in digital presentations and he will surely be a counselor to Sam).The second assignment puts Sam's incredible depth as a food editor and food writer to use in creating a new dining news product, separate from our current dining report and section led so expertly by Susan Edgerley, who has already drawn up some very exciting ideas for expanding our dining coverage and will surely be an invaluable partner on this project.
And, just for fun, this is just a funny Photoshop of Sam Sifton surfin' the 'net:
[Photoshop: Raphael Brion/Eater]