Motoko Rich Takes [em]Times[/em] Publishing Beat

The New YorkTimes put out a memo this morning saying that Motoko Rich, a reporter who has been covering residential real estate for the paper, will be replacing Ed Wyatt as the newspaper’s publishing beat reporter. Wyatt recently announced that he’ll be moving to Los Angeles to cover TV–the stardust on the tail of his superstar wife, Jennifer Steinhauer, who was just named the paper’s new L.A. bureau chief.

–Sheelah Kolhatkar

The memo follows after the jump:

March 9, 2006

Colleagues,

We are delighted to report that the culture department has a new publishing reporter. She is Motoko Rich, who has covered residential real estate trends for the style department since she joined The Times in 2003. Motoko
replaces Ed Wyatt, who will swing west later this spring to cover television out of the Los Angeles bureau.

On the real estate beat, Barbara Graustark reports, “Motoko found gold in a story that is both central to our economy and rich in human drama. In articles for A1 and the front of House & Home, she broke news again and
again on the sprawling real estate industrial complex, on the impact of the boom on homeowners’ lives, and, in collaborations with David Leonhardt, provided context – and caution – about the white hot market,
managing to make us marvel at the mania even as they warned us that the champagne was losing its fizz.

“She and David also compared the housing boom to the late 90′s stock market rise, and they were the first to report when the market shifted last summer and sellers in Denver watched the housing market chill. (And nest eggs
disappear.) By fall, the real estate slowdown that began in a handful of cities during the summer had spread to almost every hot housing market in the country, including New York. Motoko reported on the slowdown, always
without being alarmist. Through persistent and imaginative reporting that appeared in sections across the newspaper, she examined crucial aspects of perhaps the headiest element of the current economy, and her stories left us wiser about grabbing too soon for our piece of the real estate pie.”

In other words: She’s pretty good at this reporting thing.

Before arriving on 43rd Street, Motoko was at The Wall Street Journal for six years, first writing about environmental and transportation issues for the Southeast Journal, a regional edition based in Atlanta, and then
covering commercial real estate in New York. She also worked as a reporter at the Financial Times in London.

Motoko was born in Los Angeles and raised mostly in Petaluma, Calif., but came east after high school to study history at Yale, from which she was graduated in 1991. Culture bona fides? You bet. Motoko received a Mellon
Fellowship to study at Cambridge and emerged from the damp chill of England in 1993, this time with a degree in English. She’ll start as soon as we can find her a desk.

Sam Sifton and Amy Virshup