New York Times editor just sent out this staff memo introducing Carolyn Ryan as the paper's new Metro editor, replacing Joe Sexton, who's becoming interim editor of the sports section:

From: Keller, Bill
Date: Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 3:42 PM
Subject: [NYT Newsroom] A New Metro Editor
To: [Newsroom]

To the Staff:

As anyone knows who watched the farewell (in verse!) to Joe Sexton last week, there is no place like Metro. It is the soul of The New York Times. It is the proving ground of great street reporting, a showcase of fine writing. If you can make it there…etc. It is also a family - rambunctious, competitive, but tight-knit and loyal. Running it takes an editor both deft and driven, a balance of restlessness and patience, and a sturdy spine. An irreverent sense of humor helps.

Carolyn Ryan is that kind of editor, and she is our new Metro editor. Anyone who watched her marshaling the reporting might of Metro on the crises bedeviling Governors Spitzer and Paterson or Attorney General Blumenthal knows she is both scrupulous and fearless.

Carolyn came to us from the Boston Globe in 2007, where she was deputy managing editor for local news. Marty Baron saluted her with a sample of the coverage she led in her time at the Globe: "The Democratic National Convention in 2004, the legalization of same-sex marriage, the closing of Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Boston, the search for a new president at Harvard, Mitt Romney's run and the race to replace him, floods, storms, fires, explosions, the citywide terror scare that turned out to be a guerrilla marketing campaign for Cartoon Network, the only governor to give birth (twins) while in office, campaigns for the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, governor, mayor, City Council, State Legislature, countless crime stories, including the tale of a woman who killed her husband, stuffed him in a freezer, shipped it to a storage facility, and confessed to it all on her deathbed."

That was her warmup for New York, where the terror alerts aren't marketing for Cartoon Network, the governors fall like heavy timber, and the weather includes the occasional stray tornado. She was an essential part of the team that won the Pulitzer for our swift and sweeping coverage of Governor Spitzer's downfall, and has led superb and colorful coverage of Albany, City Hall, and other venues where politics and government are practiced or malpracticed. Stories produced under Carolyn's guidance include not just memorable examples of accountability journalism but humanizing accounts of Mayor Bloomberg's salty diet, his subway travels and Bermuda weekend life, Andrew Cuomo's telephone techniques and tow-truck-driving past, David Paterson's gay "uncles" and his anxieties about his future, Carl Paladino's hugging and Kirsten Gillibrand's blossoming. She is equally fluent on subjects like health care, education, transportation and immigration. Reporters who have worked with her, including some of the best in the business, tend to come away from the experience saying she not only made their stories better, she made them better reporters.

Carolyn is a graduate of Bates College in Maine and began her career, at age 21, covering small-town life as a reporter for the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass.

Her new job comes with a dazzling staff, one of the finest editing cadres ever assembled, and an unrelenting supply of great stories. They are in good hands.