Kevin Sack was one of the New York Times veterans who came west to LAT territory in the Dean Baquet wagon train, and it was a no-brainer that he would try to go back when the whole Manhattan on the West Coast thing collapsed (and since Howell Raines has left the building back there.) We observed last week that he was in serious talks to resume feeding his NYT pension, and now it's official. The memo from national editor Suzanne Daley, which follows after the jump, even says he's "coming home." Sack won a Pulitzer at the L.A. Times in 2003 (with Alan Miller) for reporting on the flawed military aircraft nicknamed "The Widow Maker."
For nearly 13 years, Kevin Sack was such an integral part of the paper's staff that the place seemed physically changed when he left in 2002. Over the course of 1,500 stories, he covered the campaigns or administrations of David Dinkins, Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Dan Quayle, Ross Perot, and Al Gore, and countless lesser politicians. (Who can forget the stirring 2,500-word profile of Pierre Rinfret he wrote with Dean Baquet in 1990? Actually, everyone.)
He was in the eye of innumerable hurricanes and twisters, and everything else that moved in the South, including the Olympic bombing. He wrote the lead piece in the Pulitzer-winning series on race in America. And when he left, he immediately turned around and won a Pulitzer for the L.A. Times.
So there's something deeply gratifying about being able to announce that Kevin is coming home. (It even feels a little historic.) In a few weeks, Kevin will rejoin the National Desk to cover health issues in America. He'll travel from state to state, looking at the remarkable experiments in health coverage now taking place, and examining the ways in which health questions govern the lives and wallets of so many Americans.
Although he worked on a distinguished series of long-term projects for the LAT, he says he's looking forward to being in our paper on a, shall we say, far more regular basis.
Those of us who remember Kevin are looking forward to his calm, reassuring, and incredibly dedicated presence, a model of what we all
imagine a New York Times reporter to be.