Gray Lady raids again

New position marks another part of sweeping reorg

The New York Times has struck again. Michael Cieply is leaving his post as a writer and editor of the Los Angeles Times business section to become the Gray Lady’s movie editor, marking the fourth L.A. Times cultural news staffer to defect to the NYT this month.

Cieply will join the paper in September, dividing his time between New York and Los Angeles. Newly created position of movie editor marks another key component in a sweeping reorganization of the NYT’s arts and cultural coverage.

In the role, Cieply is expected to edit the works of NYT critics, staff and freelancers.

Among them will be his former Los Angeles Times colleague, Manohla Dargis, who will join the paper Aug. 2 as chief West Coast movie critic and share the title of chief film critic with the Gotham-based A.O. Scott.

With Dargis remaining in Los Angeles full-time and Cieply retaining part-time Angeleno status, the NYT seems to have reversed its longtime policy of distancing critics and editors from the contamination of Hollywood.

Nor does the NYT have any problem with venturing into Tinseltown to find new staff members. In addition to Cieply and Dargis, the paper has recently hired away music business writer Jeff Leeds and architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff.

All of the hires come under the aegis of newly installed culture editor Jonathan Landman, who was charged with overseeing the restructuring of the paper’s arts and culture section.

In addition to a prior stint at the LAT’s Calendar section, Cieply has worked for Inside.com, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He also spent 10 years developing film projects on the Sony lot.

(Pamela McClintock in New York contributed to this report.)

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