Frank Rich Leaving NYT for New York Magazine

Huh. New York Times op-ed expounder Frank Rich, who currently possesses a huge chunk of the Sunday opinion page in the world's most influential newspaper—where he's allowed to say whatever he wants—is leaving all that behind to go write for New York magazine, where he "will be an essayist for the magazine, writing monthly on politics and culture, and will serve as an editor-at-large, editing a special monthly section anchored by his essay." Rich's own explanation:

"After seventeen years in my second career [at the NYT], as a columnist, I feel much as I did after nearly fourteen years in my first, as chief drama critic-both the satisfaction that I've given a great job all I had and a serious hunger to move on to fresh and expanded writing challenges after having done the same assignment for so long. I've spent much of the past year talking to friends inside and outside the Times about what might be most exciting for me next. It was impossible to top the idea of reuniting with my friend Adam Moss, who has played a crucial role in my writing life since the late 1980s and who, as editor of the Times Magazine, was instrumental in my transition from arts criticism to broader essay writing. The role Adam has created for me at his revitalized New York Magazine will allow me to write with more reflection, variety, and space than is possible within the confines of a weekly newspaper column-and, for that matter, will allow me to stretch the definition of a magazine column."

So, he was bored, and he wanted to do something new, and he loves Adam Moss, so here we are. Rich is also currently executive-producing an HBO comedy series called Veep. His kids are successful, he has plenty of money, he's been the voice of the Upper West Side liberal canon for many years. Why not do something new? Never underestimate the power of the "Grass is greener" dynamic to make people give up jobs you would kill a transient for. In this age of personal brands, Frank Rich's own name will be a draw wherever he goes.

Perhaps this will snap him out of his rather regurgitative column-writing style. (Says the blogger!)

[Daily Intel]

Update: Here's the memo from NYT editorial page boss Andy Rosenthal to the staff this morning.

Subject: From Andy Rosenthal: Frank Rich to Join New York Magazine
To: Newsroom

To the Staff:

New York Magazine is announcing this morning that Frank Rich is joining them. I know I speak for everyone at The Times when I say that we are very sorry to see him leave. We offer him our gratitude and wish him all good things as he begins this next exciting chapter of an already highly distinguished career.

Frank's significant and varied contributions to The New York Times over 30 years cannot be overstated. He set the standard for theatre criticism before reinventing himself as one of the New York Times Magazine's most respected and creative essayists. Since 1994, readers of our Op-Ed page (and for a time, Sunday Arts and Leisure) have benefited from Frank's unique perspective and powerful voice on issues related to popular culture, politics and society.

Here is what Frank wanted all of his colleagues at The Times, and his news colleagues at New York to know:

"There is no greater newspaper than The Times. I leave the paper with deep affection for both the institution and my many brilliant colleagues, and with much gratitude for the opportunity the paper gave me to serve in two dream jobs in journalism. After 17 years in my second career there, as a columnist, I feel much as I did after nearly 14 years in my first, as chief drama critic – both the satisfaction that I've given a great job all I had and a serious hunger to move on to fresh and expanded writing challenges after having done the same assignment for so long. I've spent much of the past year talking to friends inside and outside The Times about what might be most exciting for me next. It was impossible to top the idea of reuniting with my friend Adam Moss, who has played a crucial role in my writing life since the late 1980's and who, as editor of the Times Magazine, was instrumental in my transition from arts criticism to broader essay writing. The role Adam has created for me at his revitalized New York magazine will allow me to write with more reflection, variety and space than is possible within the confines of a weekly newspaper column – and, for that matter, will allow me to stretch the definition of a magazine column."

Frank's last column in The Times will appear on Sunday, March 13. We'll miss him.

Andy