After weeks of speculation, Sam Sifton has confirmed via Twitter that he'll be "stepping down as the restaurant critic" to become the Times' National Editor. Grub hears a rumor that his replacement is already lined up. Sifton's hashtag on the major news is: #checkplease. Sounds like he's in a good mood! Although Sifton has no experience as a national reporter or editor, the Times' new executive editor, Jill Abramson, insisted to Women's Wear Daily last week that she was not interested in making a splash in building her masthead: "Doing my job is not a public performance. Oooooh, I want the news to be received with surprise! That is not something I pay attention to," she said. Abramson promoted previous national editor Rick Berke to assistant managing editor on her first day. Sifton previously worked as the paper's "Dining" editor. Previous food critic Frank Bruni is now working as an op-ed columnist at the Times.
Update: Diner's Journal has the announcement from Abramson, which reads in part:
Sam Sifton will be our new National editor. From his star runs at Dining and Culture, we all know that Sam is a superb editor who brings infectious energy and a host of original ideas, digital and print, to everything he touches. Correspondents and critics adore him. So who better to fill the shoes of Rick Berke? Sams background here isnt hard news, but we all saw the newsiness and urgency he brought to the Culture report. He takes over a superb desk that flawlessly handles the fastest-breaking and challenging news stories. This will be very sad news to his devoted fans as our brilliant dining critic, but Sam, a lover of regional food, looks forward to dining adventures with the National correspondents. It will be thrilling to watch him apply his editing and writing talents to the National report.
Times Names Sam Sifton Next National Editor [Diner's Journal/NYT]