New York Times

Alessandra Stanley leaves TV beat to cover the .01%

alessandra-stanley-640.jpgAfter covering television for the New York Times since 2003, Alessandra Stanley is shifting to a newly created beat that will be part of the NYT's gathering coverage of income inequality in the U.S. She won't be writing about the millions of losers so much as the dozens of winners — "the richest of the rich — the top 1 percent of the 1 percent," is how the memo puts it — and their impact on the country and its institutions.

More from executive editor Dean Baquet:


After a dozen remarkable years as chief television critic, Alessandra Stanley has decided to return to reporting. As part of The Times’s deepening focus on economic inequality in America, she will be creating a new beat: an interdisciplinary look at the way the richest of the rich — the top 1 percent of the 1 percent — are influencing, indeed rewiring, the nation’s institutions, including universities, philanthropies, museums, sports franchises and, of course, political parties and government.

This is a subject both intensely timely and well suited to Alessandra’s skills as an observer, reporter and writer — one that has fascinated her, she says, since she wrote about the first generation of Russian oligarchs as a foreign correspondent in the mid-1990s. Now, she’ll be reporting on what she describes as the “psychology, rituals, costs and contradictions” of a new generation of American titans. Her work will add to The Times’s ongoing reporting on inequality in all its forms. More announcements will come on that front.

There is not enough space here to do justice to Alessandra’s exceptional work as TV critic. She covered the globe, whether the subject was Russian television news — an awkward mix of pro-Putin and opposition stories that she described as “a little bit NPR, a little bit North Korea” — or addictive French crime dramas. Closer to home, she weighed in on election-night coverage, Oscar ceremonies, anchor meltdowns and of course the rise of the golden age of cable dramas. If it was on TV, she was game to write about it. Her insights, wit and rich experience as a political reporter and foreign correspondent tracked a once fading medium as it re-emerged as one of the dominant art forms of the moment.”

Stanley was a foreign correspondent for the NYT in Moscow and Rome before she became the paper's chief TV correspondent. She had previously been based in Los Angeles, Washington and overseas for Time. Her bio has to include a reputation for making errors, or at least for generating corrections in the paper.

Message received: Gawker, which apparently posted the news first, calls Stanley "perhaps the most-wrong reporter in the New York Times’ rich, cosplay-filled history" — and misspells Stanley's and Baquet's names each of the four times they are mentioned in the post. Several other errors are subtly embedded in the post. Poster Leah Finnegan's tagline: "DO NOT, under any circumstances, email me with corrections. I do not give a shit."

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