The New York Times' publisher's son has the increasingly rare privilege of a fresh newspaper job, at the Times no less. But his situation is not entirely enviable.
After leaving a reporting job at the Portland Oregonian to move to New York, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger has been set up with a job at the Times' website. He'll be writing and reporting for the City Room blog, part of the paper's impressive Metro desk, writes the New York Observer's John Koblin. He's sitting next to Jennifer 8. Lee and a bunch of editors.
His colleagues are thus far impressed. "When I looked at his clips, I said ‘Oooh! This guy ain’t bad!'" one anonymously told Koblin. "Eager to please and humble," said another. Those are pretty good reviews for a writer presumed to owe his job, in large part, to his father, grooming him to perhaps take over the paper. In the wake of the Times' first-ever mass layoffs a few months ago, one might have forgiven Sulzberger's newsroom compatriots a dose of resentment for the nepotism.
For all his professional good fortune, relative to other ink-stained wretches, Sulzberger is in a tough spot, relative to past Times scions. Amid a scramble for cash and falling revenues at the paper, there's persistent talk of its failure. As unlikely as that might seem, it's a scenario being taken far more seriously than it would have been just a few years ago, to say nothing of a few decades ago.
Then there is the separation of his parents, announced less than a year ago, and the rumors about his dad. Just as dinner-party speculation about Pinch Sulzberger and Caroline Kennedy settled down, gossip about his purported three-year relationship with a woman named Helen Ward hit the tabloids. That sort of chatter cannot be easy on Arthur Gregg Sulzberger's mother Gail, with whom Arthur Gregg is said to be close. Even before the gossip, Gail was reported (again by New York's sources) to be "really hurt" and "taken aback" by the split.
It won't be easy, in all likelihood, for Arthur Gregg to work for his father while trying to provide some comfort to his mother. But if he can navigate that near-term challenge, he at least has a shot at getting the Times past all the threats it faces in the long term.