Fishbowl NY | Maynard Institute

Tanzina Vega, the New York Times reporter on the paper's national race beat, has been reassigned to the newly created position of Bronx courthouse reporter, according to a staff memo from New York Times metro editor Wendell Jamieson and metro print editor Dean Chang:

So we're excited to announce that Tanzina, who first worked for The Times as a Metro stringer and graduated next door at CUNY, will return and open up our first full-time Bronx courthouse beat. Dean Chang and I have wanted to do this forever, and feel deeply lucky that Tanzina came our way. Here is the borough that is home to the congressional district with the lowest income level in the nation, where the bad old days are still alive in some neighborhoods while residents in others welcome improvements but fear gentrification, where a police ticket-fixing scandal exploded, and where all cases involving Rikers Island are heard.

The news was first reported Monday by the Maynard Institute.

Vega began reporting on The Times' new race beat in 2014 and tackled subjects including infertility among women of color and "conflicted feelings of minority gun owners," according to a question-and-answer session on Times Insider.

Commentators on Twitter speculated about the fate of race coverage at The New York Times and elsewhere:

In a statement to another news outlet shared with Poynter, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet said that The Times generally doesn't discuss coverage plans.

"Suffice it to say we believe race is a big story and we will cover it aggressively," he said.

In May, NPR canceled "Tell Me More," a program "expressly designed to have a primary appeal for African-American listeners." The cut resulted in a loss of 28 positions.

Here's the memo:

In recent months Tanzina Vega showed how varied and powerful a national beat focusing on race could be: She explored the psyches of minority gun owners, looked at school discipline and how it varies by ethnicity, and was tear-gassed in Ferguson while covering the events there. But as we've told many a Foreign correspondent, you don't need to travel abroad to find adventure: The Metro desk can accommodate you right here in New York. So too is it true that all the issues of justice, race and inequality play out in the five boroughs just as they do elsewhere, perhaps even more so. And nowhere are they more evident, and in technicolor, than in our teeming courtrooms.

So we're excited to announce that Tanzina, who first worked for The Times as a Metro stringer and graduated next door at CUNY, will return and open up our first full-time Bronx courthouse beat. Dean Chang and I have wanted to do this forever, and feel deeply lucky that Tanzina came our way. Here is the borough that is home to the congressional district with the lowest income level in the nation, where the bad old days are still alive in some neighborhoods while residents in others welcome improvements but fear gentrification, where a police ticket-fixing scandal exploded, and where all cases involving Rikers Island are heard. There is also an inscrutable district attorney who has been at it long before Tanzina went to CUNY.

Just to fill her plate, Tanzina will also keep an eye on the federal court in Westchester County, where other kinds of issues tend to play out.

Tanzina is a native New Yorker, born and raised on the Lower East Side. Before she started at The Times, she lived in Barcelona, Spain, and was a translator and English teacher. She has also worked at United Business Media, where she was a research editor and pioneered a weekly podcast. After her time as a clerk and Metro stringer, she moved on to an internship on the website and then a producer job in Bizday, where her multimedia work was recognized by the National Press Photographers Association. Before joining National on the race beat, she spent three years in Media covering advertising.

Please join us in welcoming here to Metro, and the Bronx.

Cheers,
Wendell and Dean