Sifton to Kantor: Goodbye and Thanks for the Furniture

To: XXXX@nytimes.com
From: XXXXX@nytimes.com
Subject: News from Culture

TO THE STAFF:

Jodi Kantor came to The Times in early 2003 with a mandate to
remake the Arts & Leisure section. Now, having accomplished this
task with great skill, spirit and aplomb, and having helped in the
process to remake the entire Culture Department, bringing new
reporters, critics, editors and many, many new columns of news and
opinion into its report, she has asked to take on a new challenge.
Starting next month, Jodi will be a reporter on the “Way We Live”
team, reporting to Suzanne Daley. “After a couple of years in the
building,” she said, “I’m dying to actually get out and report
some stories myself.”

Before she goes, though, it’s worth taking some time to recognize
Jodi’s achievements here in the Culture Department. They have been
myriad and important. First and foremost, of course, is the way in
which Jodi has transformed the Arts & Leisure franchise, giving it
not just a handsome new look but completely revamping its tone and
substance. In the two-plus years since she brought in the low black
chair and long gray couch that will now mark the position of A&L
editor as surely as the inability to make dinner reservations on
Tuesday nights, Jodi has not only given the section a news-driven
focus (a real feat, given A&L’s terrifying five-day lead time), but
she has done so without sacrificing its devotion to richly
narrative, long-form journalism — or its punishing schedule of
special issues. It’s been a hell of a run.

Beyond Arts & Leisure, Jodi has also been at the center of the
department’s restructuring process. With Frank Rich, Steve Erlanger
and some guy named Adam, and later with Jon Landman, Jim Schachter
and me, Jodi helped draft the plans for the department as it now
exists — divided among subject areas, with vastly expanded roles
for reporters, editors and critics–and played a crucial role in
landing some pretty big fish: Manohla Dargis and Nicolai Ouroussoff
among them. Hers will be large shoes to fill.

More on that subject later. In the meantime, please join the
Culture Crew under the yellow umbrella on the northwest corner of
the fourth floor, on Wednesday, July 27 at 5:45 p.m., to raise a
glass to a woman who can’t drink these days, but to whom so many of
us owe thanks and to whom we’ll offer a standing ovation for a job
well done.

Sam