Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, who has built a promising foundation for his journalistic career during almost two years as a reporter at the Providence Journal, plans to leave the paper later this month to take a job at the Oregonian.
A ProJo source says Sulzberger, one of two children of New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., is slated to work his last day April 21 before moving to the substantially larger daily in Portland, Oregon.
“He’ll be missed,” says Tim Schick, administrator of the Providence Newspaper Guild, who confirmed Sulzberger’s impending departure. “He’s a good reporter, and he’s highly respected by his coworkers.” Schick says the young heir’s tenure at the ProJo “proved to be something very rewarding for both [Sulzberger] and the people who work with him.” Because of his place as a member of one of American journalism’s great dynasties, “People initially didn’t know what to expect -- is this a guy who’s coming in with an attitude or a feeling of entitlement? And that was not the case at all. He was just one of the guys looking to do a good job.”
Profiled in the Phoenix earlier this year, Sulzberger, 25, was described as a skilled reporter uneasy with public attention who cultivated a reputation as a well-liked, hard-working and unassuming young man (see “The prince and the paper,” News, February 2). The direct descendant of four previous Times publishers, Sulzberger graduated from Brown University, where he concentrated in political science, and he joined the Journal as a two-year reporter-intern in mid-2004. In January, the scribes in that program were converted into permanent staffers.
Later, in February, at the Providence Newspaper Guild’s annual Follies, Sulzberger was bestowed with an award in honor of copy editor Mimi Burkhardt, a revered mentor to young ProJo reporters, who had died in 2004 at age 52. Medical reporter Felice Freyer, part of the three-person selection committee, says the depth and breadth of Sulzberger’s entries most impressed the judges. There was “an earnestness about them,” she says. “You could tell he was really trying to learn the craft.”
Sulzberger did not immediately return a telephone message and an e-mail left for him at the Journal’s South County bureau in Wakefield. In March, Willamette Week foreshadowed his move to the Oregonian by reporting that he had interviewed at the newspaper.
The young reporter has been known to have a desire to live in an unfamiliar part of the country, something that will seemingly be accomplished with a move to Oregon after six years in Rhode Island. While media types will always recognize Sulzberger’s famous name, the Pacific Northwest, like the Ocean State, offers him the chance to advance his career while offering a relative degree of anonymity.
Even in Rhode Island, says Freyer, “It was a difficult thing for him to do, coming here being a Sulzberger. He really wants to get by on his own merits.” And after facing some initial natural suspicion from colleagues, she says, “I think he was able to put that to rest.”