Pod People: Paper of Record Gets Media Deskette

The Times’ media desk is getting a makeover.

The reporters who cover movies, television, books, newspapers, movies, and all the titans of those industries will be moved out of their second- and fourth-floor offices in the business and culture departments and into a new third-floor space, as a new “mini-department.”

In many ways, it’s a return to the old days.

“In my time here, I think it’s the third time there’s been a separate media pod,” said Bill Carter, the paper’s television reporter since 1989.

There have been all sorts of configurations, which have been constantly updated to adapt to the rapid changes that seem to happen so often in the media world: Sometimes he’s worked for business, other times culture, other times in the little pod.

Mr. Carter, for one, is happy about it.

“I think this is being done for logistical reasons and those reasons make a lot of sense,” he said.

“There have been different iterations of the media desk over the years,” said Sam Sifton, the culture editor at the paper. “This is certainly the largest and I hope the best.”

One reporter said that there was occasionally a “culture clash” between reporters in business and in culture that resulted in “wobbly” coverage.

“It’s not that anything is broken,” said Larry Ingrassia, the paper’s business editor. “The feeling is that things can work better.”

The reporter said that the masthead wants more A1 features from media, and it wants a lot more news.

(More news? That sounds like The Wall Street Journal! Which, incidentally, consolidated its media team onto the corporate news desk back in April).

The media editor on the business desk, Bruce Headlam, will be the top editor, and Mr. Ingrassia and Mr. Sifton will oversee it all.

A memo that the editors sent out to the newsroom announced that the media desk would consist of a dozen people, though there are only 11 names listed there. (As to the rhetorical question asked by a writer for the Web site Gawker, why media columnist David Carr wasn’t included in the memo: Mr. Sifton said that Mr. Carr is still a part of the media team, but will continue his Monday columns for business, and his Carpetbagger blogging.)

And: “There is one open slot,” he said.

Brush up on your Murdoch, kids!


Pod People: Paper of Record Gets Media Deskette