The culture drain continued at the New York Times on Wednesday, with the unexpected reassignment of culture news editor Steve Erlanger to the Jerusalem bureau less than two years after he arrived in the top post.
Taking his place — albeit for only a year or so — is assistant managing editor for enterprise Jon Landman, who earned praise last year for raising concerns early on about former Times reporter Jayson Blair. Landman was metro editor at the time.
“Jon will be the first to tell you that he does not bring to the job a thick portfolio of cultural expertise, but he more than compensates for that with a deep and wide-ranging curiosity, a gift for managing big undertakings (the coverage of Sept. 11 comes to mind), an ability to inspire the best work from a staff, a matchless integrity and indispensable sense of humor,” executive editor Bill Keller said in a memo to staff.
The cultural department, with its various sections, has taken numerous hits over the past year, with several high-profile departures, including Adam Moss’ recent exit to run New York mag. The New York legit community in particular has been unhappy during Erlanger’s tenure, complaining that theater coverage has lagged under his gaze.
Erlanger, who previously worked on the international news desk, was one of the contributors to a white paper designed to overhaul the paper’s culture and arts coverage. He succeeds James Bennet as Jerusalem bureau chief.