As Times metro reporters and editors made their way back to their Eighth Avenue offices after the holiday weekend, a little surprise greeted them in the third-floor newsroom: a brand-new nameplate on the side of an open cubicle that read “Arthur G. Sulzberger.”
Mr. Sulzberger, the 28-year-old son of publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., will begin a reporting career at The New York Times for the Metro desk starting on Monday, Feb. 23. He’ll write and report for the department’s local blog, City Room.
Like his father, who reported for The Raleigh Times and the Associated Press before taking a reporting job in The Times’ Washington bureau, which was followed by stints on the paper’s Metro desk and then ultimately the paper’s publishing side, Arthur G. is returning home after working as a reporter for The Oregonian and The Providence Journal.
Though Arthur Sulzberger Jr., 57, has never named his son a successor, Arthur G. has been treading his father’s footsteps so far.
For those who have met Arthur Gregg Sulzberger—his middle name is the maiden name of his mother, Gail Gregg, who separated from Arthur Jr. last year—the reports are virtually universal: He’s a nice guy, humble and a hard worker.
“He’s incredibly down-to-earth, modest and eager to learn the right way,” said one senior Times newsroom source. “If you look at his journalism, it’s journalism that people here would produce.”
“When I looked at his clips, I said ‘Oooh! This guy ain’t bad!’” the source added. “I was actually very pleasantly surprised.”
“Quite nice, eager to please and humble,” said another staffer.
“He is a very, very good reporter, he’s dogged, he’s exceedingly tenacious,” said Sandy Rowe, the editor of The Oregonian, where Mr. Sulzberger worked as a reporter for over two years. “We were very glad to have him here, and I was very sorry to see him go back to New York, which I knew he’d do eventually.”
Ms. Rowe quickly added that she knew this because she predicted it—Arthur never said a word about it.
Last summer, his father, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., went to managing editor Jill Abramson and asked if she thought he was ready. And his clips were pretty solid!
While Arthur G. was at The Oregonian, he covered the sheriff’s office in Multnomah County, the biggest county in Oregon, and broke a series of stories.
“Sheriff Bernie Giusto was the longtime and greatly admired sheriff here, and there was a two-year investigation that was relentless, and Arthur’s work helped push Giusto from office,” said Ms. Rowe. “It was an official investigation, but our reporting kept on pushing the investigators.”
Ms. Rowe explained that shortly before The Times gave the signal that it was time to come back home to New York, she was ready to give him a promotion to the statehouse.
It was apparently a tough decision for Little Arthur—the nickname he went by in Alex Jones and Susan Tifft’s biography of the Sulzberger-Ochs family, The Trust, even though The San Fransisco Chronicle reported in 2002 he’s actually taller than his dad now. (“Inch” Sulzberger, anyone?)
“He was ambivalent,” said a Times source. “He was trying to decide if he should make the move yet. He was weighing if he could benefit more here or a couple more years there.”
Arthur Gregg Sulzberger will, arguably, be the most closely scrutinized reporter in the paper’s history. Every byline, every word, every interview, every detail and every correction will be pored over by bloggers, Times readers and Times antagonists, and, no doubt, by his coworkers.
And unlike his father, Arthur G. comes not to a Times newsroom that is rooted deeply in its past or secure about its future.
In the third-floor newsroom, he’ll be sitting in the desk that once belonged to Jonathan Hicks, a veteran political reporter for the paper who left a month ago.
His new desk will be separated from most of the reporters on the paper: He’s sitting in the editor’s pool, which means he’s alongside assignment editors, the copy desk and design editors, leaving reporters free to moan about Pinch. The only reporter nearby is Jenny 8. Lee, who will be his future colleague for City Room.
From his perch, he’ll have a closer view of the atrium, which is considered a plus! But the desk is in a position where he’ll have a tad less space, and one less shelf than in the normal reporter’s workspace.
Perhaps the only mystery left is what he’ll call himself. The nameplate says Arthur G. Sulzberger. For The Oregonian, his print byline was Arthur Gregg Sulzberger. Of course, it didn’t matter for his dad, who is routinely called Pinch to distinguish him from his father, Punch. So what’s left for Arthur G.? Little Arthur. Inch. Patch (patchin’ things up!).
Speaking of which, on Tuesday, Feb. 17, the Times Company’s stock fell to $3.77, and hit a 52-week low earlier in the day, at $3.73. Its market capitalization fell to $542 million.
Welcome home, G-man!